Thursday, April 7, 2011
The Greatest TV Comedies - Green Acres (1965-1971)
A perennial fan favorite is the 1960's classic surreal sitcom, Green Acres, that I count as one of my favorites too. When wealthy New York lawyer Oliver Wendell Douglas (film vet Eddie Albert, in probably his best role ever) decides to give up the hustle and bustle of city life, he drags his wife Lisa (the gorgeous and frequently funny Eva Gabor, sister of Zsa Zsa), to a ramshackle farm in Hooterville. And lo and behold, a comedy classic is born. Created by Paul Henning of The Beverly Hillbillies and Petticoat Junction, Green Acres featured some of the best casting of any comedy series. Eddie Albert gives his best performance as Oliver who tries to make this zany situation of living in Hooterville work despite all the crazy residents and crazy situations. It helps that Albert's performance is benefited by strong support from Eva Gabor (by far the more talented of the Gabor sisters). Her character of Lisa is pretty much perfection. She may not be living in the city, but that doesn't prevent her from still wearing her signature gowns and jewelry. The duo will sometimes remind you of William Powell and Myrna Loy in certain ways, but they end up making Oliver and Lisa their own characters too. Lisa was a killer in the kitchen. And when I say killer, she made some of the most lethal concoctions ever seen. Her hotcakes served the purpose of fixing the gasket on their tractor. And she constantly mangled the English language. It was hilarious just listening to her speak. Now on to the residents of Hooterville which included a roster of equally funny and diverse characters. First up is Pat Buttram as the shuckster Mr. Haney, who was always trying to sell some godforsaken gadget to the Douglases. His yodel like delivery will instantly bring a smile to your face. There was Tom Lester as farmhand Eb, hopelessly incompetent, but still trying his very best. Then there was Mary Grace Canfield and Sid Melton as brother and sister carpenter team Ralph and Alf Monroe...you definitely wouldn't want to hire these two. Also on hand was Alvy Moore as county agent Hank Kimball, who spoke in such a contradictory way, he sometimes confused even himself. And lets not forget Hank Patterson and Barbara Pepper as neighbors Fred and Doris Ziffel and their pig Arnold, who was a natural born scene stealer if there ever was one. Now that is a cast for the ages right there. Green Acres provided hilarious entertainment for 7 years with 170 episodes that rank it as one of the most successful sitcoms ever made. The theme song is a classic unto itself too. And I'm just glad Hollywood never got around to remaking it for the big screen because they would have undoubtedly screwed it up. Green Acres is the place for me, farm living is the life for me.