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Actor Cashes in on 'Beverly Hillbillies' Name

25 November 2002

LAS VEGAS -- Max Baer Jr. once played the burly, doltish Jethro Bodine on `The Beverly Hillbillies' television series. Now the 64-year-old Baer intends to prove he is no fool by leading the hillbillies to prominence again after more than 30 years of relative obscurity.

"Baer recently signed a deal with International Game Technology of Reno to produce hundreds of penny slot machines featuring the show that once drew millions of loyal viewers.

"`It's so obvious it's not a gamble,' Baer said in a recent interview at his Las Vegas home. `It fits in. It meshes with the characters and the show.'

"…Once Baer hits his jackpot in the casinos, he wants to strike gold in supermarkets with bakery goods, such as Elly May's Buns, Granny's Lye Soap and perhaps Jethro's sausage.

"…Baer obtained the sublicensing rights, including food and beverage rights, to `The Beverly Hillbillies,' from CBS in 1991.

"…Baer's initial venture was an attempt to build Jethro's Beverly Hillbillies Mansion & Casino in Reno replete with Granny's shotgun wedding chapel. The plan fell through after he couldn't get the necessary financing, but Baer holds out hope the casino will be developed.

"In 1999 IGT approached him a second time about a deal to make the `Hillbillies' slot machines and an agreement was reached.

"Now 65 machines sit in 10 Station Casinos around Las Vegas.

"So far the slot machines seem to be attracting new customers and probably a few people who grew up watching the show.

"Dan Roy, Station's corporate vice president for slot operations, said the machines are creating a buzz…"

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