A Sad, Honest View of Green Acres
Believe Me, This is Not
a scathing review of a long-gone sitcom on CBS entitled “Green Acres,” in 1965.Green Acres (the series) was first broadcast on CBS, from Sept. 15, 1965, to April 27, 1971. All episodes were filmed in color. The show received solid ratings during its six-year run, Green Acres was canceled in 1971 as part of the "rural purge" by CBS.
And it’s understandable why CBS and other networks over went the “rural purge,” because American television networks (in particular CBS) was a series of cancellations in the early 1970s of still-popular rural-themed shows with demographically skewed audiences, the majority of which occurred at the end of the 1970–71 television season . Even in the young, awkward “growing period,” of the networks in 1970, were sold and bought for the sake of ratings. What a cold, heartless entity it is.
To continue the main characters: Eddie Albert, veteran of Broadway stage and radio was excellent in the role of “Oliver Wendell Douglas,” a prosperous New York City lawyer and had a longing to move from the city to a rural slice of America, and farm for a living. Albert played the part in perfect rhythm to coincide with the idiotic scripts written by Jay Sommers, Dick Chevillat, among the many writers who not only (wrote) scripts, but contributed to the show.
Richard L. Sherman and Paul Henning acted as creators for Green Acres and Henning produced Acres as well as Gilligan’s Island; Beverly Hillbillies; Brady Bunch and more that helped CBS to maintain a very lucrative relationship with the main advertisers as well as ratings charts.
The lovely Eva Gabor portrayed “Lisa Douglas,” Oliver Douglas whose premise, although very ignorant, thanks to the writers, did her role which was very oblivious to where she and Douglas lived and encountered daily life on the farm. Gabor’s looks took the place of intelligent acting as she only had one motivation to remember “stupid” lines to say thanks to the stupid scriptwriters.
The other characters were: Tom Lester, “Eb Dawson,” the wide-eyed farm hand that Oliver hired to help him plant and cultivate his land. Lester like Gabor had an equal amount of stupid lines and questions that made for a few early laughs, I suppose in front of a live audience, but I noticed that (some) of the laughing sounded much alike from a few shows.
Paul Buttram “Mr. Haney,” another character which was also stupid, but a clever opportunist and con artist. I never liked “Haney” on Green Acres because his role was alike on every episode and the gagging formula was: “Haney” drives up on his old truck hauling the item “Oliver” would buy on the spot and on and on. And on. In other words, ad nauseam.
Frank Cady “Sam Drucker” the owner of “Drucker’s General Store,” and in this section of Green Acres, there was a certain peace that was evident although for a few moments. Just when I felt like breathing, in walks Edgar Buchanan “Joe Carson,” who did cameo’s from “Petticoat Junction,” were you as surprised as I was?
There were other stars who rounded-out each Green Acres episode, but the main cast are listed above.
Now in closing, just let me honest again. And why I say this upcoming statement is not attributed that much to the society we live in, but MY age at 11. When I first watched Green Acres the first time it was aired, I loved it. And not because of the lovely Eva Gabor. I did appreciate her a lot as a woman, but the show, to me, was hilarious and I laughed so much that my belly shook like jelly (such as Santa Clause in “The Night Before Christmas”).
But when this show was canceled, and years piled upon years, and graduated high school in 1972, one year from Green Acres’ cancellation, and I went to work, got married in 1975, and more work, jobs, child-raising, more work, stress, bill-paying, and on and on. And on.
Now here I am at the year 2020 where my TV service provider had a network called MeTV and this network was more like TV Land and had more “retro” shows that I never got to watch. Shows like Time Tunnel; Barnaby Jones; Dragnet; and one of my all-time favorites: Highway Patrol starring fast-talking Broderick Crawford as “Lt. Dan Matthews,” and of course, Green Acres and later on in any given night or morning, Petticoat Junction, (the newly-designed program before CBS pulled the plug), but that Green Acres burns me to the bone each time that I watch it.
So why watch it, you ask. That is a tough question. I guess that I love to see the younger, up and coming actors who worked with Albert and Gabor on their “show,” and maybe when I was 11, all of the ignorant script writing was funny. But not in 2020.
It took me until 2020 that I learned the definition of Sophisticated Humor: Andy Griffith Show—simple-but-feasible straight set-up’s, then a short laugh. The same with Carol Burnette, but with a live audience. The Red Skelton Show, ditto. And Hogan’s Heros. Sophisticated and funny, but NOT supid.
It’s fine by me if you have money and talent to produce a Real Stupid Comedy Show and pump in canned laughing. This is your business, but do not ask me to support your stupid show, because eve those of my average I.Q., can be insulted. Not by the actors of Green Acres that much, but by their obviously-intelligent-lacking scriptwriters, who must have believed their own press and it went to their heads.
Thank God for Hogan’s Heros, WKRP in Cinnati, and Dragnet. I do have a serious side.
March 15, 2020____________________________________________________
© 2020 Kenneth Avery