February 2 is Groundhog Day. Many people look forward to this day to find out whether the groundhog sees its shadow when it emerges, in which case six more weeks of winter are predicted. At the Groundhog Day ceremony in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, they really do dance the Pennsylvania Polka, just like in the movie Groundhog Day. Below is a charming version of the song performed on The Lawrence Welk Show. You’ll be humming the tune all week.
Now, I would certainly never cook or eat a groundhog (or even handle one—rabies, anyone?), but then I’m not Granny from The Beverly Hillbillies. I usually associate Granny’s cuisine with possums, but in the Season 8 episode “Honesty is the Best Policy,” Granny offers Shifty Shafer, aka Honest John, a goodie basket containing groundhog meatballs, beaver tail fried in possum fat, and roast breast of buzzard.
Honest John is played by Phil Silvers, that ubiquitous comedic actor who played Sgt. Bilko on The Phil Silvers Show and made guest appearances all over the place, including his role as Broadway producer Harold Hecuba in the episode of Gilligan’s Island where they perform a musical version of Hamlet. A con man who was always trying to swindle the Clampetts out of their fortune, Honest John was a recurring character on The Beverly Hillbillies.
“Honesty is the Best Policy,” Season 8, Episode 26 of The Beverly Hillbillies. The groundhog meatballs are mentioned at 13:05.
So, tell your groundhog friends to steer clear of the Clampett mansion in Beverly Hills—and have a happy Groundhog Day!