See the cast of Green Acres in their early screen roles

You could find them alongside Ronald Reagan and Lucille Ball.

Images: The Everett Collection

Every actor has to start somewhere, but the cast of Green Acres got off to rather notable first starts. They acted alongside future presidents and sitcom icons.

Let's take a look and see how these stars began their career — long before they hit Hooterville. Well, one of them made a screen debut in Hooterville.

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1. Eddie Albert

We begin with the star himself, the man known in Hooterville as Oliver Wendell Douglas. Albert (born Heimberger) began on the radio in New York City, co-hosting a radio show called The Honeymooners – Grace and Eddie Show (no relation to the Jackie Gleason sitcom). Soon after, he became most known as Bing Edwards in Brother Rat, a role that began on Broadway and soon expanded to Hollywood adaptation. The 1938 Brother Rat film would be his screen debut, pictured here. His costar? Ronald Reagan!

Image: The Everett Collection

2. Eva Gabor

The Hungarian-born actress and younger sister of Zsa Zsa landed her first screen role in, well, Forced Landing. She's the exotic love interest in the 1941 adventure-romance, pictured here as her character Johanna Van Deuren. Eva was the first Gabor to emigrate to the United States. That glamor carried over to her role as city slicker Lisa Douglas.

Image: The Everett Collection

3. Barbara Pepper

Arnold the pig was the most famous Ziffel on the show. Pepper played the pig's owner, Doris Ziffel, an elderly neighbor to Oliver and Lisa. Roll back the clock a few decades and you can find Pepper making her screen debut in Roman Scandals, seen her as an uncredited dancer. She had good company. Another young up-and-comer named Lucille Ball was alongside her, also making her debut. Yep! Lucy and Doris Ziffel made their first Hollywood appearances together!

Image: The Everett Collection

4. Hank Patterson

What about Mr. Ziffel, you ask? Well, old Fred (Hank Patterson) cut his teeth in Westerns. In 1939 and the early 1940s, Patterson popped up in a few uncredited roles — background bits in oaters like The Arizona Kid and John Wayne's Three Faces West. The former vaudeville piano player earned his first credited role in Abilene Town (1946), seen here.

Image: United Artists

5. Pat Buttram

Sponsored by Alka-Seltzer every Saturday night, National Barn Dance was a country-music radio show based out of Chicago. Yep, the Second City had a country scene. Alabama native Buttram was a key player on the program, which jumped to the big screen in 1944 with film adaptation of the same name. Here he is in a scene from National Barn Dance the movie. Before becoming Mr. Haney on Green Acres, he was also a sidekick to Roy Rogers for a spell.

Image: The Everett Collection

6. Frank Cady

Frank Cady is one of those actors who is hard to picture young. His Sam Drucker character was such a common presence on 1960s television, appearing in the "Hooterville universe" on The Beverly Hillbillies, Green Acres and Petticoat Junction. The Stanford graduate began his film career in the late 1940s, following his military service. His first credited role was already a mature role — he played a professor in the 1947 comedy Sarge Goes to College, a film starring Alan Hale Jr. of Gilligan's Island. The following year, he was in Bungalow 13, pictured here.

Image: The Everett Collection

7. Alvy Moore

Jack Alvin Moore appeared in the vast majority of Green Acres episodes as the ditzy local agricultural agent Hank Kimball. The Indiana kid served in the Marines in the Pacific during World War II. No wonder so many of his early film roles throughout the 1950s were soldiers in war flicks. Before that, in 1951, he made his TV debut on Space Patrol, seen here in the episode "A Big Wheel Named Ferris."

Image: Space Patrol

8. Mary Grace Canfield

The Monroe "brothers" were a constant source on the sitcom. Canfield played Ralph, the sister in actuality. In the late 1950s, Canfield took a few small roles on obscure television series such as The Best of Broadway and Robert Montgomery Presents, challenging to find if not lost to time. In 1960, however, she made a memorable turn in Polyanna, the Hayley Mills favorite, seen here.

Image: The Everett Collection

9. Sid Melton

Alf, the other Monroe, showcased Sid Melton's comedic skills. He began his career in low-budget flicks, often as comic relief. His first credited role (As "Sidney") was in Dr. Broadway (1942). His second, Girls in Chains (1943), was a crime tale, pictured here.

Image: The Everett Collection

10. Tom Lester

Lester, an honest-to-goodness farm boy, was perfect for the part of Eb. It is said that Lester beat out 400 other actors for the role of Eb because he actually knew how to milk a cow. No wonder it was his first acting role.

 
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irenea263 1 month ago
Eddie Albert was very good in the Columbo episode "Dead Weight."
Cat9032 1 month ago
I read online that Tom Lester graduated from Ole Miss with a degree in Chemistry and Biology.
MeTvEr 5 months ago
Green Acres had THE best ensemble cast ever. Each one was so funny with spot on delivery. Seeing Eb ride his minibike with his long legs still makes me laugh out loud. R.I.P. Tom Lester. That being said, it's great to see the early pictures of the cast. Barbara Pepper was really pretty, but my god was Eva Gabor beautiful.
boogerdogger 5 months ago
Green Acres is one of the few shows I try to watch on a regular basis. Didn't get so much when I was kid, but now I find myself laughing a lot and sometimes to tears! It may be corny, or stupid to some, but the writing and delivery was pretty 'on spot' and right now, we could all use some laughter in our lives. Sadly though, many of the characters remind me of my neighbors. RIP Tom and the rest of the gang.
Bliss2020 5 months ago
So sad to hear about Tom Lester ‘s passing.
He will be missed!
Phoebs 5 months ago
love green acres; Albert guest starred with Lucy on the Carol Burnett show
SalIanni Phoebs 2 months ago
He was also in an episode of "Here's Lucy" ("Lucy Gives Eddie Albert The Old Song And Dance") and played her husband in the movie "The Fuller Brush Girl".
dreimink 5 months ago
How can I watch these shows. I’m only able to watch a few videos
Kthompson dreimink 14 days ago
Green acres is on daily motion and amazon prime
BillO 5 months ago
If I'm not mistaken, Pat Buttram was a sidekick to Gene Autry, NOT Roy Rogers.
Roger BillO 5 months ago
Buttram went to Hollywood in the 1940s and became a sidekick to Roy Rogers. However, because Rogers already had two regulars, Buttram was dropped. ... Buttram co-starred with Gene Autry in more than 40 films and in over 100 episodes of Autry's television show. Buttram's first Autry film was The Strawberry Roan in 1948.
Cygnet 5 months ago
Greatest kitschy glitzy schpitzy show ever!
Piglet 6 months ago
Tom Lester is a farmer and for many years has been a Christian speaker who travels the nation, preaching a message of faith and obedience. In 1997, Lester was the recipient of Mississippi's "Wildlife Farmer of the Year" award. Lester was married for the first and only time in July 2007 at the age of 68. He and his wife Kaylie live on the 250-acre family farm in Vossburg, Mississippi.
With the death of Mary Grace Canfield on February 15, 2014, who portrayed Ralph Monroe, Lester is the only surviving regular cast member of Green Acres.
TVChel 6 months ago
Love Pat Buttram as Mr Haney!
lear1980 6 months ago
Alvy Moore's first big role was as Dick Powell's sidekick Virgil in Susan Slept Here with Debbie Reynolds.
bajaboy2000 6 months ago
Pat Buttram made memorable appearances on Dean Martin's Celebrity Roast. He brought the house down when he humbly said: I'm the only person here I never heard of!
jholton30062 6 months ago
Eddie Albert was in a movie called "My Love Came Back" with Olivia de Havilland. It was one of his first roles, while it was the first role after "Gone With The Wind" for Ms. de Havilland. Always liked him in comedies...
Brian 6 months ago
So many other old TV shows have been redone (MacGyver, Magnum PI, and many, many more) so isn't it about time for Green Acres 2.0? Who's with me?!
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AllisonWunderland Brian 6 months ago
Lol! Every TV show they try to remake turns out to be absolutely worthless 😝 I'm beginning to wunder...is there any creativity anymore? 🤷‍♀️ Jeeez
harlow1313 Brian 6 months ago
RuPaul as Doris Ziffel.
ruswilinc Brian 5 months ago
I utterly despise remakes. People with no writing talent or a bad case of laziness do remakes hoping to bank on the success of the original, while re imagining characters and events.
Roger Brian 5 months ago
https://youtu.be/lZEByIVXnpE
Lamar 6 months ago
I grew up on green acres. It's nice to see the actors In their younger years
bobbygood 6 months ago
Eddie Albert was also in one of my favorite movies ever, the WW2 flick about D-Day, “The Longest Day.”
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