Eddie Albert joined Green Acres because he related so much to Oliver Wendell Douglas

"Everyone would like to chuck it all and grow some carrots," he told TV Guide.

The Everett Collection

Eddie Albert’s Hollywood career started all the way back in the late 1930s, after investigating Nazi activity in Mexico as a spy for the U.S. government and before serving in WWII as part of the Coast Guard. Even with his military service, he still managed to appear in multiple movies a year throughout the 1940s into the 1950s.

Though he began guest starring on the new medium of television, he still thought of himself as a film actor, appearing in movies like Roman Holiday, The Sun Also Rises and Oklahoma!

In fact, a 1966 TV Guide article notes that Albert was “resisting TV series like measles for 15 years.” He turned down roles in My Three Sons and Mr. Ed thinking television “is geared to mediocrity.” But really, he just hadn’t found the right character he could fully relate to.

When CBS wrote Paul Henning a blank check to create a third series after smash successes The Beverly Hillbillies and Petticoat Junction, the prolific producer turned to writer Jay Sommers, who had created a radio show in 1950 called Granby’s Green Acres about a banker who tries his hand at farming. Sommers shortened the title, made the banker a lawyer and one of the Sixties’ most popular shows was born.

As Eddie Albert tells it, one sentence about the new show was enough to get him onboard. His agent pitched, “City slicker comes to the country to escape the aggravations of city living,” and Albert said, “Swell, that’s me. Everyone gets tired of the rat race. Everyone would like to chuck it all and grow some carrots. It’s basic. Sign me.”

Albert even pontificated about philosophy, bringing up ancient Greek playwright Aristophanes and mentioning American writer and naturalist Henry David Thoreau to TV Guide. “It’s about the atavistic urge, and people have been getting a charge out of that ever since Aristophanes wrote about the plebs and the city folk. In a sense, Thoreau is the real author of Green Acres.”

While Albert’s highfalutin vocabulary has us feeling like farmhand Eb Dawson scratching our heads, the point is well made. Excuse us while we go try to plant some carrots.

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OldRog 18 months ago
My FB image for many years. One could interpret it two ways - either Oliver is the lone sane person in an insane world, or Oliver remains a stick-in-the-mud while everyone else - even Arnold - is hipper than he is.
RedSamRackham 18 months ago
* After GREEN ACRES ended Eddie Albert became a spokesman for USDA in their TV PSA's
bagandwallyfan52 23 months ago
Whenever Oliver Douglas Eddie Albert made a speech about the
farmers being the backbone of
Our country Lisa Douglas Eva Gabor
And other Hooterville Residents
heard the FIFE playing Yankee Doodle Dandy .
Did Oliver Douglas ever hear the
Fife playing when he made those
bagandwallyfan52 23 months ago
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LalaLucy 24 months ago
I have loved Eddie Albert in everything part I have ever seen him in, from The Fuller Brush Girl (great fun co-starring with Lucille Ball) to Roman Holiday to Oklahoma. And, of course, the uniquely hilarious Green Acres. He always lent such a delightful air. This article was quite good and had me smiling with how much like Oliver Wendell Douglas he sounded. That part was tailor made for him. 🙂
RedSamRackham LalaLucy 18 months ago
* Yet his role in Captain Newman MD was indeed most bizarre but he did it well!
LalaLucy RedSamRackham 18 months ago
Never heard of that one. Thank you! You just gave me a new movie to seek out. 🙂
cperrynaples 24 months ago
Albert didn't hate all TV! In fact, he appeared on experimental TV back in 1936! He also hosted variety shows in the '50's, performing along such stars as Steve Allen, Count Basie, and Paul Hartman [who proably did his dance act]! Fun Fact: Both Albert & Hartman did guest appearances on Petticoat Junction!
Jeffrey 24 months ago
I hope, (in a way) that they keep The A-Team on at 6:00pm and get rid of M*A*S*H because I am sick and tired of it. As well as LITB, & TAGS!
BuckeyeBeth 24 months ago
Nice article MeTV writer! 👍

The only way it could’ve been better, and I mean this is a suggestion and not a criticism, is if you had a link to the original TV Guide article. I know I can’t be the only person here who enjoys reading full articles/interviews of the stars from my old favorite TV shows. Especially when the publications also include photos they’ve taken that you will probably never see anywhere else. Anyways, keep up the good work!
JosephScarbrough 24 months ago
According to Frank Cady who played Mr. Drucker, Eddie Albert really was so much like his Oliver Wendell Douglas character, that he would often bring in fresh vegetables from his personal gardens to give to the rest of the cast and crew during filming.
tootsieg 24 months ago
I am going to miss the Summer Block Party and the good behind the scenes stories. Summer is flying by.
harlow1313 24 months ago
Like Zippy the Pinhead and "Waiting for Godot," "Green Acres" appeals to my enjoyment of absurdity. Perhaps an Eb and Jethro spinoff could have started off the seventies. Two wild and crazy guys, to be sure. What the heck, throw in Gomer as a third freind.
I've thought for a Long Time
that Happy Days Characters
BAG ZOMBROSKI (Neil J Schwartz) Moose (Barry Greenberg) Chuck Cunningham 2 Randolph Roberts and
Eugene Belvin Denis Mandel and Melvin Belvin Scott Bernstein should have had their own spin off TV shows.
Back in the 1960s Characters
Eddie Haskell and Lumpy Rutherford of Leave It To Beaver and Wally Plumstead Skip Young of The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet and Mary
Ann Summers Dawn Wells of
Gilligan's Island and Cpl Boyle Roy Stuart of Gomer Pyle USMC should have all had their
Spin Off TV Shows.
I also would have like to have seen Ernest T Bass (Howard
Morris) and Ernest P Worrell Jim VARNEY should have had
Their own Sitcom together.
Ernest P Worrell was seen in
Ernest Goes To Camp etc.
daDoctah 24 months ago
Another Albert role pre-Green Acres was as "The Fiction Writer" in "Our Mr Sun", the first of the Bell System Science Series of films that also starred Dr Frank C Baxter (familiar to Svengoolie fans as the boring lecturer who opens THE MOLE PEOPLE) as "Dr Research".
harlow1313 daDoctah 24 months ago
Well, I believe that "The Mole People" lecture to be scientifically sound. It convinces me that earth is spherical, rather than flat.
daDoctah harlow1313 24 months ago
That wasn't its purpose. It's supposed to teach the viewer about all the strange notions people in the past have had about what's inside the earth.
LoveMETV22 daDoctah 24 months ago
LOL, love the MST3K characters when they comment on the movie. But they could have done without the documentary style explanation by Dr. Baxter at it's beginning. Oh well, They most likely wouldn't use that style in a current day movie, they'd lose their viewers right at the beginning. LOL
Andybandit 24 months ago
I love Green Acres. The clothes that Lisa and Oliver wear are hilarious. Mr. Kimball is funny, and Mr Haney selling his stuff.
Speaking of clothes, GREEN ACRES is almost like a live-action cartoon in that just about all of the characters (except for Oliver and Lisa) wore the exact same outfits in every episode, just like cartoon characters.
bagandwallyfan52 23 months ago
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bagandwallyfan52 albundy 23 months ago
Merie Earle played the Hooterville Telephone Operator on Green Acres.
Pacificsun 24 months ago
This compliment is meant as a fan, not critic. That your stories have just been getting better week after week. IMO because the Summer Block Party is so much fun. And the opportunity to not only feature our favorite classics, but to put extra emphasis on promoting them. Meaning to make them more enjoyable.

Via another GA Thread that seems to go back 16 mos., been reading the Q&A exchanges among the ultra-fans, who know every complicated detail about that show. Particular all the family relationships. I never saw the show that way in the day. Just the goofy behavior and silly predicaments. But these fans were passionate about "understanding" the series.

Glad it's being feature this weekend 7-23-22. And looking forward to it staying in the Prime Time schedule going forward! Thanks, MeTV Staff!!
MrsPhilHarris 24 months ago
Love the last paragraph.
Yes. That was priceless.
Pacificsun MrsPhilHarris 24 months ago
It's curious television's "rural purge" was seen as it was. These simple sitcoms are packed with more wit and characterizations (we've come across at times) than all the work they put into these contemporary comedies, that seem to work too hard at being "funny." In the end, aren't we looking for light-hearted, good natured humor, that draws us comfortably into their imaginary world!
MrsPhilHarris Pacificsun 24 months ago
Well said Pacificsun!
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