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Jethro Says Opie Distorts Baer Facts

No one spins a better Max Baer Jr. yarn than Christy Canyon But Baer Jr. isn’t concerned about porn movies these days as much as Ron Howard’s Cinderella Man.

Wide World of Boxing- Former “Beverly Hillbillies” star Max Baer Jr. has come out swinging to defend his father, now that the late prizefighter’s reputation has taken a beating in Ron Howard’s “Cinderella Man.”

The film, in which Russell Crowe plays Depression-era boxer James J. Braddock, portrays Baer Sr. as a sadistic thug who hits below the belt and boasts about the two boxers he has killed in the ring. Baer Sr. (Craig Bierko) even threatens to make Braddock’s wife (Renée Zellweger) his lover after he has made her a widow.

“That’s a lie,” Baer Jr., who played lovable yokel Jethro Bodine on the ’60s TV comedy, tells us. “My father cried about what happened to [Baer ring victim] Frankie Campbell. He had nightmares. He helped put Frankie’s children through college.”

While Howard has Baer sporting boxing trunks bearing the Star of David, he doesn’t explain that he became a hero to the Jewish people by defeating Hitler favorite Max Schmeling.

Howard’s spokeswoman Leslee Dart says: “The script was written from the point of view of the Braddock family. To them, Max Baer was a real threat. Ron felt that was how the character needed to be drafted.”

“I have great respect for Ronny Howard,” says Baer Jr. “But he never called me for any factual information about my father. They distorted his character. They didn’t have to make him an ogre to make Jimmy Braddock a hero.”



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