June 21, 2007 4:06 PM
While most of CBS’ 1960s-era rural comedies have dated rather poorly—the early seasons of “The Beverly Hillbillies,” a major water-cooler success in its day, contain some gems, but “Petticoat Junction” is just plain unwatchable—“Green Acres” is better than ever.
It is so off-the-wall that it refuses to date.
Besides great turns by stars Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor, what terrific characters there were: Mr. Haney (Pat Buttram), the relentless con man with the lanky voice; Hank Kimball (Alvy Moore), the hapless county agent and master of the parenthetical clause who could never tell a story in a straight line; Fred Ziffel (Hank Patterson), the pig farmer with the “talking” pig Arnold; the Monroe brothers, Ralph (Mary Grace Canfield) and Alf (Sid Melton), carpenters who could never seem to complete a job. (Truth alert: I always thought “Make Room for Daddy” veteran Sid was a bit of a miscast, but Mary Grace was aces.)
The actors brought such believability to their roles it’s almost as if they walked in off the street.
Or out of a corn field. Whoever cast the show was brilliant. I remember grizzled little Granny being THE sensation on “The Beverly Hillbillies” when it premiered; it’s like whoever found Irene Ryan went back to the well and came up with these folks.
If you haven’t revisited “Green Acres” lately, please do. And if you’ve never seen it, by all means check it out. It’s even in color. Here are the opening credits: