A couple of days ago, for reasons I can't remember why, I was talking about the TV show Green Acres with a friend. The show ran from 1965-1970, has the general reputation in memory as being one of the corny, hick shows for kids that CBS was running at the time, like The Beverly Hillbillies, Petticoat Junction, Mayberry RFD and Hee Haw, all of which got famously "purged: by the network around 1970, to change focus.
In reality, if you check out the show in reruns -- and happily, it's actually stuck around in reruns after 50 years, unlike most of the others -- you'll see that this was a sly, almost-subversive program for adults that was often very intelligent and wildly clever, filled with sophisticated humor...just wrapped in cornball hokum for those who weren't paying close attention. It's not just me who recognizes this, of course -- "Amiable madness" is the way a recent article and appreciation on the very good AV Club website described the program. Green Acres was created by Jay Sommers who in many knowing-circles has been credited for the show's bizarre creativity. It starred Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor, and featured a cast that was dry as sand in their lunacy.
To show what I meant to my friend, I went online to track down some clips. I'll show a bunch more of the gems upcoming, perhaps tomorrow, but for now this is an absolutely great 10-minute montage of totally clever ways that Green Acres broke "the fourth wall" with nothing more than just the opening credits.
Because the montage deals with the opening credits, I thought it was best first to post the main theme song, so that people unfamiliar with the show have a perspective on it all. (The lyrics have been added over, so you can sing along...)
And now, here is what the show regularly did with the opening credits that came after -- not every week, since they mixed things up enough to keep audiences on their toes. But every once in a while they'd throw these in to make sure you were all in on the joke.
By the way, it isn't just that they did something like this so often, or that they were generally very funny, but that they were able to come up with SO MANY clever ways to make these jokes.
6/12/2019 09:48:32 am
Eva took the Gabor reputation and blew it away. She became savvy and knowing, something Zsa Zsa didn't manage. Of course, Zsa let Letterman make fun of her and she played along.
6/12/2019 11:13:14 am
Thanks for your note -- and very true about her career compared to Zsa Zsa, though in fairness Eva Gabor had a passable reputation as an actress even before "Green Acres." For instance, she was in the Oscar Best Picture "Gigi" (when Gaston sings, "She is Not Thinking of Me," it about his date, played by her), "The Last Time I Saw Paris" (with Elizabeth Taylor) and the remake of the classic comedy "My Man Godfrey" with David Niven. I just checked iMDB, and she has 82 credits.
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Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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