Stream On: Weird scenes inside the Golden Age of TV

By on March 12, 2020

Park Avenue lawyer Oliver Wendell Douglas and his wife move to Hooterville to chase his dream of farming in Green Acres, but finds the reality stranger than any dream. (IMDb.com)

One sometimes yearns for pure entertainment from the last days of the Golden Age of TV before the advent of socially conscious sitcoms such as All in the Family and M*A*S*H, like the politically uncorrect films of Rock Hudson and Doris Day, and Martin and Lewis’ Artists and Models, and the Broadway show Gypsy: A Musical Fable, or romantic comedies like Roman Holiday.

From 1965 to 1975, actors from these shows helmed two great and happy sitcoms on TV; these featured situational comedy at its best.

GREEN ACRES (Prime Video; Amazon.com) 1965 TVG

Before Northern Exposure, in which a Manhattan doctor set up practice in backwoods Alaska, there was Green Acres, “about Oliver Wendell Douglas (Eddie Albert), an erudite New York City attorney, fulfilling his dream to be a farmer, and Lisa Douglas (Eva Gabor), his glamorous Hungarian wife, whom he dragged unwillingly from an upscale Manhattan penthouse to a ramshackle farm.

“Though many Green Acres episodes were still standard 1960’s sitcom fare, the show developed a regular undercurrent of surrealism and satire. The writers soon developed a suite of running jokes and visual gags, and characters often broke the fourth wall to address the audience” (Wikipedia).

The actors played it straight, and everybody in town, and very quickly Lisa, bought into the bizarre environment, except Oliver. The local entrepreneur, Mr. Haney, would not only sell you his shoes for the right price, but would also rent anything he couldn’t sell. Haney invariably arrives on cue every time Oliver needs an item or service, typically accompanied by a custom-made sign for each occasion. “Fred Ziffel and his wife Doris are the Douglases’ childless elderly neighbors. They have a pig named Arnold, whom they treat as their son. Fred is a cantankerous old-fashioned farmer who was born during the Grover Cleveland administration. Everything about him is no-nonsense, except for the fact that his ‘son’ is a pig” (ibid).

Oliver, the ever-exasperated straight man, farms in a three-piece suit, and would apply his business acumen to his own farming if not for the intransigence and incompetence of everyone around him, who like things done in the strange ways they’ve always been done. The opening titles are all the trailer you should need (IMDb.com).

The Odd Couple wants to know: Can two divorced men share an apartment without driving each other crazy? (IMDb.com)

THE ODD COUPLE (Hulu; Amazon.com) 1970 TVPG

Once in a lifetime, material, writers, and especially talent come together to create a show as delightful, funny and humane as 1970’s The Odd Couple. Like the 1968 movie, it’s based on Neil Simon’s 1965 Broadway play about severely mismatched friends who share an apartment in Manhattan.

Tony Randall and Jack Klugman (who replaced Walter Matthau in the original Broadway play) were exquisitely cast as neat-freak Felix Unger and ultra-slob Oscar Madison, childhood friends who decide to share Oscar’s apartment after both are divorced. Both Randall and Klugman had distinguished résumés from film and Broadway, and both fill their parts as though they were born to. Garry Marshall, who went on to direct Pretty Woman, Beaches, Runaway Bride, Valentine’s Day, New Year’s Eve, Mother’s Day, and The Princess Diaries, and Jerry Belson, who wrote Close Encounters of the Third Kind, several episodes of The Dick Van Dyke Show; Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C., and I Spy, rounded out the back office. Jazz trumpeter, composer, and arranger Neal Hefti put the cherry on top with the iconic theme song that was as familiar in the day as the Star-Spangled Banner.

But the talent wouldn’t mean a thing if the show weren’t funny; it’s often hysterically so. The situation , characters and writing added up to one of the best shows on TV.

More old/obscure/awesome streaming choices next time. Email me and follow Stream On OBX on Twitter.

(Pete Hummers is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to earn fees by linking Amazon.com and affiliate sites.)

Click here for more Stream On: What to watch on TV columns.


Barnhill Building Group has been selected as the Construction Manager @ Risk by the College of the Albemarle and is seeking to pre-qualify construction trade contractors to submit bids for the furnishing labor, materials, equipment, and tools for the new College of The Albemarle – Allied Health Sciences Simulation Lab (COA Health Sciences) located in Elizabeth City, NC. Please note: Only subcontractors who have been prequalified by Barnhill will be able to submit a Bid.

The project consists of the new construction of a 38,000-sf, 2-story expansion to the existing Owens Health Sciences Center and will house classrooms, labs, and a simulation lab. The site is just over just over 4.5 acres and is located on an active campus. This new construction will be a steel structure with a brick and metal panel veneer, curtainwall, and storefront glazing with a PVC roof membrane.

Principal trade and specialty contractors are solicited for the following Bid Packages:

BP0100: General Trades

BP0105: Final Cleaning

BP0390: Turnkey Concrete

BP0400: Turnkey Masonry

BP0500: Structural Steel & Misc. Steel

BP0740: Roofing

BP0750: Metal Panels

BP0790: Caulking / Caulking

BP0800: Turnkey Doors/Frames/Hardware

BP0840: Glass & Glazing

BP0925: Drywall

BP0960: Resilient Flooring

BP0980: Acoustical Ceilings

BP0990: Painting & Wallcovering

BP1005: Toilet Specialties / Accessories / Division 10

BP1010: Signage

BP1098: Demountable Partitions

BP1230: Finish Carpentry and Casework

BP1250: Window Treatment

BP1400: Elevators

BP2100: Fire Protection

BP2200: Plumbing

BP2300: HVAC

BP2600: Turnkey Electrical

BP3100: Turnkey Sitework

BP3290: Landscaping

Packages may be added and/or deleted at the discretion of the Construction Manager. Historically underutilized business firms are encouraged to complete participation submittals.

HUB/MWBE OUTREACH MEETING: Barnhill Building Group will be conducting a HUB/MWBE Informational Session. You are encouraged to attend the following session to learn more about project participation opportunities available to you. These seminars will help to: Learn about project and scope; Inform and train Minority/HUB contractors in preparation for bidding this project; Assist in registration on the State of North Carolina Vendor link; Stimulate opportunities for Networking with other firms. Location and time TBD. Please visit our planroom at https://app.buildingconnected.com/public/54da832ce3edb5050017438b for more information.

Interested contractors should submit their completed prequalification submittals, by July 22, 2024, to Meredith Terrell at mterrell@barnhillcontracting.com or hardcopies can be mailed to Barnhill Contracting Company PO Box 31765 Raleigh, NC 27622 (4325 Pleasant Valley Road, NC 27612).


Comments are closed.