RIP Richard L. Bare, who directed almost every episode of Green Acres, and also the “To Serve Man” episode of The Twilight Zone. According to the New York Times, “Mr. Bare began directing Green Acres, which starred Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor as a sophisticated Manhattan couple who move to a farm, in 1965. He said in 2003 that he took over for Ralph Levy, who was credited as director of the first two episodes, because Mr. Levy was using ‘strange camera angles’ and trying to coax ‘magnificent performances’ from Mr. Albert and Ms. Gabor instead of completing the show. ‘Making Green Acres art!’ he scoffed. ‘Can you imagine ‘Green Acres’ being art?'”
Actually, I can, and I think that Mr. Bare protests too much, and I think he knows it. It might have been a hopeless cause for the mastermind behind a ridiculous 1960s sitcom to try to make his own case for himself, but this was a great show, and it finally found itself praised (back in the late 1970s I think) in the pages of the Washington Post on the occasion of the American Film Institute’s Green Acres tribute! You know: The American Film Institute showed episodes of Green Acres in its screening room!
Watt O’Hugh quotes Green Acres’ conman extraordinaire Mr. Haney in Book 2. You’ll never find it, but just so you know, it’s there. I put a Green Acres homage into my novel, and I’m not ashamed to admit it.
Finally, one more personal note about Green Acres. One of my ancestors was a man named David Betts or Petts who fled the Honiton lacemaking district of England (probably as a fugitive) to remake himself in America, where he took the name Frederick Slocum, a fancy-shmancy name that gained him entry into fine society. Everyone who has inherited these faux Slocum genes (including my maternal grandmother, me, and my younger daughter) looks like Mr. Haney for a couple of years in childhood, before growing out of it; the resemblance is so bizarrely striking that Pat Buttram (the actor who played Mr. Haney, and the funniest man on television back in the 1960s) must have been a long-lost relative