Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson had impoverished childhood with no running water or electricity


Duck Dynasty‘s Phil Robertson may have made millions off of his ingenious duck call, and found even more success with his family-friendly A & E reality show (9. 6 million tuned into the season finale,) but his family used to not even have the basics of running water and electricity.

In his memoir Happy, Happy, Happy: My Life and Legacy as the Duck Commander, Phil says those financial setbacks didn’t stop the Robertson clan from being happy, happy, happy.

“It was the 1950s when I was a young boy, but we lived like it was the 1850s,” 67-year-old Phil recalls in his book, “but we were always happy, happy, happy no matter the circumstances.” They rarely went in town to buy groceries, living off of the fruits and vegetables they grew in their garden, the meat from deer, squirrels, fish and other game they hunted and fished, and the pigs, chickens, and cattle they raised. Phil slept in the shed with his three older brothers.

Although they didn’t have a toilet or bathtub, they did have a bit of running water: A one-inch pipe from a hand-dug well to the kitchen sink! The Robertson brothers were constantly having to unfreeze their pipe in the winter with hot coals.

In the book, Robertson attributes the success of their show to its depiction of a “functional” American family, something he says is lacking in other television shows, reality or scripted. Duck Dynasty fills a void left by shows like The Andy Griffith Show, The Waltons, and, of course, The Beverly Hillbillies. “It’s a functional family and they love one another,” he told “The disintegration of the American family is a known fact, [so] we’re just trying to get people to love god, love each other, and not be so mean to one another.”

“We’re trying to keep our sanity. We always tell each other, ‘Remember, you’re beginning to act like Charlie Sheen.’ [And then we] back off a little bit,” Phil joked to about their rising their rising fame.

Phil explained the title of his book to GMA’s Lara Spencer this morning: “Happy, happy, happy is kind of a reference to Thomas Jefferson, all men are created equal, they’ve been endowed with certain inalienable rights among them life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Therefore, chasing ducks and everything that’s involved in that, if you’re not careful you’ll end up on television, you know.”

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