DES MOINES, Iowa — Popular Des Moines restaurant group Jethro’s made headline news in Los Angles and Beverly Hills Tuesday after the website TMZ published a story about the 60’s TV show character Jethro Bodine.
The actor who played Jethro, Max Baer, apparently had an exclusive deal with CBS to launch a series of restaurants, hotels and casinos themed around the show “The Beverly Hillbillies,” in which he appeared. TMZ reported it had a copy of the lawsuit Baer filed against the network.
The founder and owner of Jethro’s in Des Moines, Bruce Gerleman, said “There’s no secret deal with CBS, it’s just that we have an agreement that I can’t talk about.” He added, “we were all very surprised that we were front page news in Hollywood and Beverly Hills.”
Gerleman said he had some discussions with CBS in 2009. Gerleman said he made some changes to his character of Jethro. “The original Jethro had a plaid shirt, our new Jethro now has a red flannel shirt,” said Gerleman. “Our original Jethro had a rope belt, and now the new Jethro has suspenders.” The Des Moines restaurant owner said he paid no money to CBS for the use of Jethro. He had already trademarked the name in Iowa for his use before CBS contacted him.
Gerleman was reached by phone on vacation in the Caribbean. He was planning to visit a place called Gilligan’s Island on Wednesday. There was another 60’s era TV show by that name. Gerleman said he was not planning another eatery based on that show.
He also said the story is going national, as Entertainment Tonight is coming to town to do the story.