Beverly Hillbillies Game

Beverley Hillbillies Game

Issued by the Milton Bradley Company in the United States in 1963, the game pictured above was donated to the Museum in 1991.

The show was telecast from 1962 through 1971 and re-runs can be seen from time to time. One of television's longest running situation comedies, it was about a hillbilly family - the Clampetts - who struck it rich because oil was discovered in their backyard at their Ozark home. They were given millions by an oil company for drilling rights. Consequently they moved to Beverly Hills, California.

Pictured on the box are the stars of the show:

The game in the box is a playing card game, named: Set Back. Interestingly, the game of  Set Back has a number of other names. It is a very old card game from England known as All-Fours in Britain. L. H. Dawson in a 1930s British edition of Hoyle's Games Modernized (page 235) states that this game is "...known in America as Old Sledge or Seven Up." Jacoby and Morehead in The Fireside Book of Cards (pages 277-279) state:

Though All Fours, an ancient English game, has been one of the great American games throughout our history, it is doubtful if one American in ten thousand would recognize its name. Then mention that it is the game in which you play for high, low, jack, and the game, and nearly everyone will exclaim, 'Oh, of course!' Neither All fours nor High-Low-Jack is the name of an actual game played in the United States. Seven-Up or Old Sledge was the popular form of the game before the late nineteenth century; then Pitch or Setback and Cinch took over, in all their variations; and today only Pitch remains in any force.

Jacoby and Morehead then reprint an article by Mark Twain written in 1871 for a Buffalo periodical titled Science vs. Luck about the game of Old Sledge and how this game became known as Seven-Up in the statute books of Kentucky.

While The Beverley Hillbillies is fiction, the playing card game associated with them is not, and might indeed be known by many people from "their neck of the woods". The Milton Bradley game box includes a stylized deck of standard playing cards, score keeping materials, and game instructions. The game is for four players. Instructions for playing this game with any standard deck of cards may be found in a number of playing card instruction books under the name of Setback, All Fours, Old Sledge, Cinch, High-Low-Jack, Seven-Up, or Pitch. A detailed and easy to understand explanation of the game with diagrams can be found in Peter Arnold, The Book of Card Games, N.Y.: Barnes & Noble Books, 1995, pages 200-202, under the game name of Pitch (Setback).

Last update May 24, 2010