Eddie Albert on Green Acres' strong environmentalism message

How the actor brought a bit of himself into the role.

MGM Television

Poor Oliver Wendall Douglas...

He was a man with a dream and persisted undaunted even as the world tried to crush his plans. He saw an idyllic life for himself in the countryside, despite his family's deep materialistic pursuits.

He dreamt of attending Cornell's School of Agriculture. But instead of cultivating a green thumb, Douglas was instead guided toward Harvard Law School at his father's insistence. He lost his first job at a law firm because he wanted to grow mushrooms on his desk. The guy never really had the chance to do what he wanted.

So when he returned from a stint as a pilot in WWII, Douglas saw his life at a crossroads. He wed the famous Hungarian socialite Lisa but then had to spend his days convincing her to give up her sought-after position as one of NYC's elite. The country life was for him, but how could he and Lisa ever manage the farm they bought together?

In 1993's America on the Rerun, the actor who played Oliver Douglas, Eddie Albert, spoke at length about who Oliver was and why the message of environmentalism was so central to Green Acres.

"The kind of people that Lisa and Oliver were are the kind that would be involved in the environment and this has nothing to do with recycling," said Albert.

"It has to do with a whole new attitude toward the universe and nature and Oliver was a little sick of the law business and the hysteria of New York and he wanted to see God's good, green earth, and Green Acres wasn't written for that but it fits perfectly. I played myself—or at least one aspect of myself— and I tried to arouse in the audience things that made them identify with me."

His gambit worked, as audiences continue to identify with Eddie Albert's character today, decades after the show was first broadcast.

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BorisK 14 days ago
Never ever thought of the environment all the years I watched Green Acres. For me it was just a basic -fish-out-of-water sitcom, nothing more. That its taken 60 years for someone to hijack and spin the intent behind Green Acres into 'really being about how its about the environment" is simply ridiculous green-mania propaganda. Let's stop re-writing history, shall we?
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