Hee Haw Honey Ellwyn is at a barn dance verging on a full-blown hootenanny when she runs out to find Billy Ben. After some smooching, he pulls out a tiny box and puts a ring on Ellwyn’s finger.
The happy couple spots Jess–Belle leaving the party early and Ellwyn sends Billy out to see if she is OK. Jess-Belle is upset that Billy has chosen Ellwyn over her, believing it to be because she wears fancy dresses and has a rich father; the fact that she’s insanely hot might also figure into it, but why pile on?
Jess-Belle goes to see Granny Hart. Granny is visually introduced as a witchy woman, cloaked in black, hunched over a cauldron on a large fire. When Jess-Belle knocks on her door, she doffs the cloak and fixes her hair, transforming into a regular old grandma. You could question the theatrics when she was home alone, but it was a very effective bit to communicate 1) that this woman has some mojo going, and 2) she was still a human being that should not be dismissed as a caricature.
Jess-Belle asks Granny Hart for a love potion. In payment, she offers a pearl hair-pin, but Granny won’t take it because it also contains Silver. She will accept something else, and says it will become obvious what it is “in the midnight hour of time.” Not the brightest candle on the tree, Jess-Belle says, “Whatever it is, I’ll pay.”
Granny gives her a potion which she chugs. Granny promises that once Billy Bob sets eyes on her, he will never look at another woman or goat again. Sure enough, she shows up back at the dance, and as soon as Billy Bob sees her, he do-si-do’s right up to her and they promenade out the door.
They go out for a roll in the hay — not sex, a literal roll in the hay. As midnight approaches, she says she must go home. Back at home in her bedroom, at midnight, she turns into a wildcat. Again, not sex-related — literally a wildcat. Not a very metaphorical bunch, these hill-people.
Jess-Belle goes back to Granny Hart to get a refund. She realizes that she lost her soul in the transaction. Granny tells her that she too is now a witch. The next night as midnight approaches, she again flees. When Billy goes outside, the wildcat is sitting on his roof like one of those lions outside the New York Public Library — except those are surrounded by people who can read.
The next morning, Jess-Belle transforms back into a woman. Sadly, like the Hulk, she wears sansabelt clothing so she protects her modesty. She goes back to Billy and offers to fix his fire for him and his dinner and supper too. Throw in some ironing and she wouldn’t need no love potion.
On her next midnight run, Jess-Belle in cat form hides out in a barn. The locals shoot her and she disappears in a puff of smoke. She shows up later as a toad and then makes a pest of herself by becoming a spider. After Billy and Ellwyn are married, Billy pays Granny a visit.
She explains how to kill Jess-Belle for good so she doesn’t keep coming back. He follows her instructions and kills her off for good.
A nice little story with some real good words and purty girls.
- James Best (Billy Ben) played Roscoe Coltrane on The Dukes of Hazzard. On the cartoon version, he played Roscoe P. Coltrane. What the hell?
- Writer Earl Hamner is best known for The Waltons, but he actually wrote more episodes of TZ than The Waltons.