Green Acres and The Beverly Hillbillies (And Okay, Petticoat Junction Too)

Ali Naro 18 April, 2017 Comments Off on Green Acres and The Beverly Hillbillies (And Okay, Petticoat Junction Too)
Green Acres and The Beverly Hillbillies (And Okay, Petticoat Junction Too)

Green Acres
Starring – Eddie Albert, Eva Gabor, Tom Lester, Pat Buttram, Frank Cady, Mary Grace Canfield, Sid Melton
Created by – Jay Sommers

The Beverly Hillbillies
Starring – Buddy Ebsen, Irene Ryan, Donna Douglas, Max Baer, Jr., Nancy Kulp
Created by – Paul Henning

Petticoat Junction
Starring – Bea Benaderet, Edgar Buchanan, Linda Henning, Lori Saunders, Meredith McRae
Created by – Paul Henning

I got a text from my big sister a few weeks ago telling me that she was watching Green Acres and I should give it a try again too. It was a good suggestion because being a sixth generation Floridian, who now lives in the tundra North of Massachusetts, the blood in my very deep and very warm and very humid Florida veins has a hard time with January, February and March because of all that darkness and cold and snow, so I can and do easily fall into a depression hell. So there was my big sis, knowing I was on the verge of God knows what thanks to our family’s genetic tendency towards sadness, giving me some of the best medicine I have ever gotten for being a lucky recipient of this family gene of melancholy, re-runs from our childhood. Forget psychiatrists and their pills and electric shock treatments, which did nothing but give me all the horrific side effects on their lists anyway, give me the medicine of comedy re-runs any day.

My sister and me were big Green Acres fans back in the 1980s when we first got access to Green Acres re-runs thanks to a local Orlando station that started airing the triple feature re-run country comedy threat of Green Acres, The Beverly Hillbillies and Petticoat Junction, aka – the show that was zanier than our lives, the show that was a replica of our crazy family, and the show that helped introduce me to my obsession with breasts. Ready to find out more about what surprisingly made these re-runs from the homosexually repressed 1960s a big part of my access to lesbian-like characters on TV when I was a 1980s kid? I’m not sure that I’m ready because this nostalgic ride was quite the time travel trip.

Each of these shows had great opening theme songs and my favorite theme song and series of these three is/was/always will be Green Acres

…New York is where I’d rather stay.
I get allergic smelling hay.
I just adore a penthouse view.
Dah-ling I love you, but give me Park Avenue…

The very lovely Eva Gabor sang this part of the theme song for Green Acres. And let’s take a quick time-out, before I actually even get started, to talk about the lovely Eva Gabor. Eva played Lisa Douglas and Lisa was blonde and beautiful and ditsy, yet the smartest person in the room. Here is how she explained what opera is to her grouchy husband – “…where they sing the stories in all different languages which nobody understands, but there are always a lot of people, because everybody wants to see what everybody else is wearing.” And that pretty much explains it all when it comes to Lisa Lovely Douglas and her hidden brilliance in plain sight. So see, smartest person in the room. 😉 

Lisa Lovely Douglas, who would wake up every morning with full make-up on and her hair all did up. Lisa Lovely Douglas, who walked around on tip toes and wore bright colored nightgowns ALL THE TIME. Lisa Lovely Douglas, who cooked really awful food while wearing these bright colored nightgowns, and really awful food that was always only hot cakes, but still, Lisa was a way better cook than my own mother, which could explain my severe aversion to food and why my sister gets panic attacks at yellow foods, because Joan Crawford Junior, aka our mother, loved cooking food that was only yellow or she would somehow make it yellow with her bad cooking. Lisa Lovely Douglas, who said words totally wrong and soon everyone in town was in love with her and so they said words all wrong too. I started saying words all wrong too like I did when I watched this series as a kid thanks to Lisa Lovely Douglas coming back into my life last month. And like when I was a kid, I couldn’t take my eyes off of Lisa Lovely Douglas and her bright colored nightgowns and her fantastic pointy bras. And maybe my wife noticed me noticing Lisa Lovely Douglas too because maybe after I accidentally said out loud in a breathy voice, “Wow, Lisa wears nightgowns all the time…,” my wife turned to me and said with her eyebrow raised and peering over her glasses, “You think!” Yep, busted! Although, really busted for being attracted to my wife because if you put her in bright colored nightgowns, standing over a stove of burnt hot cakes, I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between my wife and the real Lisa Lovely Douglas because they would look so much alike. The more women I find myself attracted to, the more I realize I’m just attracted to my wife because all of these women have one thing in common, something about them reminds me of my wife.

Lisa, serving bad coffee in one of her many, many lovely nightgown/robe thingies.
I love her nightgown/robe thingies. I don’t want to write this blog anymore because I want to just sit and think some more on Lisa Lovely Douglas cooking in her nightgown/robe thingies and saying words wrong like, “romantical”. I used to wish that one day Lisa would say “romantical” to me. That never happened, so I just say it to my wife all the time instead, “Would you like to have a romantical evening?” You know, cool stuff like that is fun to say to your wife, so thanks Lisa Douglas for that. 🙂

There isn’t anything gay about Lisa (sadly, sadly, oh so very, very, very sadly), just the fact that I loved her when I was 12 and still apparently do even now at 44. So, okay, I guess I’ll get back to talking about Green Acres, but don’t worry, I can still keep on talking about Lisa Lovely Douglas too, just watch me do it now…Lisa is the wife of New York City lawyer, Oliver, and Oliver just wants to be a country boy and do some farming, so he tells Lisa no more of this city living in the opening theme song (that, yes, played at the beginning of all 170 episodes of the series) and she has to go too because, as he sings in the theme song…

…You are my wife…

And so Lisa has to say good-bye to city life just because it’s the 1960s and back then wives had to do what husbands said for them to do or at least TV liked to think that is what wives always did. And even though every feminist right now is screaming about this misogynistic Oliver telling his wife she has to leave the city because she is his wife, don’t fret ladies, because Oliver spends the whole series completely frustrated and angry as he tries to make sense of the nonsensical world that is Green Acres because everyone in the town of Hooterville (yes, Hooterville) is crazier than crazy. In other words, Oliver, you are in the South now, buddy! Because there is one thing us Southerners are and that is N-U-T-S, NUTS! They are living in a town called Hooterville, after all. And this is probably why I started watching Green Acres in the first place, now that I think on it, the name of the town. I have this thing about breasts, you see. I really LOVE them. Although, maybe I don’t LOVE them that much because I went to a Hooter’s once and found out that I may be obsessed with breasts, but apparently not as much as men are, because that whole experience was horribly uncomfortable since they have the tables at just the right height so you are always staring right at the waitresses’, well, hooters. Men may be able to do all of that hooter staring while eating, but I found it rather distracting and uncomfortable, myself. My wife agreed, although we also agreed at the time that if money ever became a serious problem, she would have no problem getting a job at Hooter’s. Anyway, everyone in Hooterville is not eating at a Hooter’s, but instead being nuttier than the latest food scare that is Nutella and driving misogynistic Oliver nutty too, so see, karma.

Some of the crazy townsfolk of Hooterville includes the couple who argues all the time about their child, their child who is a pig. A pig that watches TV and goes to school and everyone but Oliver can understand what he is saying when he goes, “Oink, oink, oink.” Then there is the government official, who is there to help out the farmers, but he can’t stop correcting his own nonsensical thoughts that he always says out loud and he’s so busy trying to make sense of his nonsensical thoughts that he always forgets why he even showed up at the Douglas’ farm in the first place. And then there is Alf and Ralph Monroe or better known as the Monroe brothers, except Ralph is actually a girl. And this is where Green Acres, a show that the PC Police should NEVER watch because it is full of horribly sexist and racist things (boy, I didn’t remember that about the show!), is actually quite ahead of its time when it comes to Ralph Monroe. Maybe even ahead of its time if it aired today. I’m not kidding. Even my Yankee wife, who was never much into Southern humor, so had never seen Green Acres until I got on this recent nostalgic kick, agreed that when it came to the nonconformist gender and sexuality of Ralph Monroe, the show was surprisingly open and liberal about accepting Ralph for who Ralph was – just Ralph. 

Ladies and gentlemen…I give you Ralph Monroe!
A lady who is a brother and a construction worker, and for the 1960s, that was actually saying something about feminism and gender and sexuality.

The joke about Ralph in Green Acres seems simple and maybe even a little cruel, that Ralph is a girl who looks like a guy and wears guy’s clothes and it being the 1960s, working a guy’s job as a carpenter. But everyone in this little town of Hooterville accepts Ralph for who she is, no questions asked. Everyone, including Ralph, sees Ralph as Alf’s brother, but Ralph is a girl. Ralph is not gay or straight. Ralph is not cisgender or transgender. Ralph is really just Ralph. And how liberating and exciting that was for kid-me to watch when my big sis and I watched Green Acres re-runs every Monday through Friday after school. So that meant every Monday through Friday, I got to see Ralph Monroe be the brother lady carpenter, and maybe me liking to do some carpentry with my dad, like Ralph did with her brother, didn’t mean that I was quite so weird after all.

Ralph was also the brother lady carpenter who pined for the government official who said and corrected ALL of his nonsensical thoughts out loud, the sexy (to Ralph) Hank Kimball. Ralph openly lusted after some hot (to Ralph) Hank Kimball. Ralph, who walked around in men’s overalls all the time. Ralph, who never wore make-up and always wore a hat backwards. This gender-bending Ralph wanted herself some hot Hank booty and guess who was there to help her out? The very, very, very (unfortunately) straight lady, Lisa Lovely Douglas. Yep, when Lisa wasn’t burning hot cakes in sexy nightgowns, Lisa was helping one half of the Monroe brothers, who was really a Monroe sister, get all prettied-up for a date with Hot Hank. And even my wife said to me how sweet Lisa always was to Ralph and how modern that was for a show that old. And she was right. Straight ladies, my wife and I have discovered over the years, can sometimes be so weird with lesbians, especially very straight ladies like Lisa, delusionally thinking we want their hot bodies, so they tend to keep their distance, especially when someone like Ralph is around. But not Lisa! Sure, Lisa was getting Ralph all prettied-up and so taking away, in a sense, Ralph’s authentic-self, but Lisa also accepted Ralph wholly when Ralph was just being Ralph. Lisa right away was friends with Ralph. Lisa didn’t judge Ralph at the first impression. Lisa loved Ralph for who Ralph was, just like everyone else in Hooterville. Even Cranky Oliver eventually just went with it when it came to Ralph and Ralph being both a lady carpenter and a brother who wore men’s clothes. So even though I do remember kid-me getting a bit confused by my disappointment that Ralph the lady brother carpenter liked men, Ralph was just being true to herself. Ralph is probably what a lot of people are moving towards now with gender and sexuality equality, believe it or not, a woman who doesn’t define herself by her gender and isn’t the sexuality everyone would assume she would be. You go modern Ralph!

Ralph Monroe with sexy purple overalls wearing Lisa, helping Lisa become a lady carpenter. Yes, I know, “lady carpenter” is so un-PC, but I can’t help it, I still love this episode. Ralph and Lisa were the best together. Too bad they didn’t ditch Hot Hank and Cranky Oliver and run off together. Oh well. 🙁

Before Green Acres, there was the show that started off the triple threat country comedy craze that was re-running on our TV in the 1980s, The Beverly Hillbillies. It’s a show that was basically a re-telling of my crazy-ass family. My very country, loved to drink, loved to smoke (and not just cigarettes), loved to gamble, loved to yell at each other, loved to play cards while drinking, smoking and yelling at each other, even at Easter and Christmas get-togethers, Southern, mostly formerly Mormon, hence all that drinking and smoking and gambling, family. Yep, we were The Beverly Hillbillies, just not with as much couth as them. We didn’t have a good theme song, but The Beverly Hillbillies did…

Come and listen to a story about a man named Jed
A poor mountaineer, barely kept his family fed,
Then one day he was shootin’ at some food,
And up through the ground came a bubblin’ crude…

There was Granny and Jeb and cousin Jethro and Elly May, hillbillies that hit it rich with oil on their farming land and so off to Beverly Hills they went. Just like my family. Except really the opposite. Supposedly, my maternal great grandfather owned most of the town of Marianna, Florida a long time ago, but all his millions were gone by the time my mother came into existence, so I guess my hillbilly family went from rich to poor. Typical of us! Anyway, one of Granny’s main goals, besides doing her best to get the South to rise again, was trying to get her granddaughter, Elly May, hitched to a man. But Elly May was always too busy wrestling with men, and beating them at it to boot, than really ever wanting to date them, or as Granny called it, a courtin’ and a sparkin’. I love me some a courtin’ and some a sparkin’. I still do that courtin’ and sparkin’ thing with my wife because it’s fun and because her sexy body causes me to want to go a courtin’ and a sparkin’ with her! 😉

And maybe this is where Elly May might be a little more like my wife and me than Granny ever realized, because Elly May never seemed to have much interest in this a courtin’ and a sparkin’ with men other than wrestling them or playing football with them, which somehow was always suggested by her during this a courtin’ and a sparkin’. And men being men saw that wrestling and playing football meant touching access to Elly May, so they always agreed. But Elly May always preferred hanging out with animals instead. And Elly May hated wearing dresses and fixing her hair all pretty, even though Granny insisted on it because, according to Granny, you couldn’t catch a husband without being all femininely pretty. But Elly May was like Ralph and preferred wearing men’s clothes instead. And like Lisa Douglas, Elly May liked those pointy bras too. Gee, I wonder why I loved this show so much again? 😉

Elly May in her pointy bra and Lisa Lovely Douglas agreeing that, yep, we wore those damn pointy things back then!

Elly May just preferring to be herself, which included wanting to hang out with animals WAY MORE than men. 

But The Beverly Hillbillies didn’t just have Elly May being all gender and possibly sexuality non-conforming, you also had her cousin Jethrine, who was basically cousin Jethro in drag, which is, I know, totally un-PC now, but as a kid, I had Elly May just basically being me on my TV and then I had Jethrine, who was the big manly woman (aka, possibly a lesbian), who kept scaring away all the men with her manliness, and I couldn’t help it back then, I really liked sweet, gullible Jethrine. I didn’t fit any of the conformities of what a girl should be when I was a kid and neither did Elly May or Jethrine, and kid-me loved them for it.

And then there was also a third character that broke the female stereotype of the secretary, Miss Jane Hathaway. Secretaries always seemed to be typecast back then on TV and movies as ditsy, sexy Greek goddesses, but not Miss Jane. Miss Jane with her upper crust New England accent and her blue blood schooling ways, who pined openly after country bumpkin Jethro, but let’s face it, Miss Jane was anything but straight. Even 12 year old me knew right away that Miss Jane was no lover of men, and so I kept wondering when she was going to come out of the closet. I’m not kidding. I actually thought that eventually Miss Jane would come out as a lesbian on the show even as a naive kid, because that is how obvious Miss Jane being a lesbian really was and, sadly, looking at this show now, that was the joke that this very dykie dyke was not into men at all. Miss Jane has always been an issue with me, even as a kid. I guess maybe I never liked that joke, after all, of lesbian Miss Jane always wanting very hot and manly Jethro and going on and on and on about it, even though we all knew she really loved women instead. My red flag always flies whenever I hear a woman who is always going on and on about how hot men are. Miss Jane, my red flag was always up flying for you, sad to say.

 Cousin Jethrine…yeah, I know…this one didn’t age so well…but after watching a few episodes again for the first time in years, I gotta admit, I started falling in love with Jethrine again because she was such a sweet character despite just throwing a man in drag and make that the joke. This was the 1960s, after all.

I know that I’m judging a book by its cover here, but 44 year old me agrees with 12 year old me, Miss Jane was so gay.

Miss Jane getting carried off into the sunset by Jethro?
Nope, she probably just convinced him that she needed picking up.
She was good at convincing him of that.

And then there’s Petticoat Junction, which didn’t have anything gay in it, but my repressed lustings. And to help explain those repressed lustings of mine, here are some of the lyrics to its opening theme song…

…Lots of curves, you bet!
Even more, when you get
To the junction…

So, with lyrics like that what was a poor repressed budding lesbian to do in my 1980s TV re-run watching, but watch all of those curves. More specifically all those curves that were lovely breasts in those lovely pointed bras that were oh so popular during that time period and why can’t those bras be popular again?! I don’t think they ever will because they don’t look very practical. My wife, who actually, most definitely needs to wear a bra, whereas I don’t, said while watching Green Acres, “Why are those bras so pointy? That’s so weird.” So I guess I’ll never get her in one of those pointy bras if they ever become popular again. Oh well.

Point bras, pointy bras everywhere and this former 12 year old budding repressed lesbian, who is now openly lesbian at 44, finally got to enjoy those damn pointy bras without worrying so much about why. I know why now, I love me some pointy bra wearing! That’s why!

Petticoat Junction was basically about a quiet Southern town and the three young women who wore pointy bras. It wasn’t as good as the other two shows, but I watched it as a kid anyway. Usually my sister got up to do other things when Petticoat Junction came on. Mostly because the show wasn’t that good and because all the girls on the show had the middle name of Jo – Betty Jo, Bobbie Jo and Billie Jo – and my sister’s middle name is Jo too and she always hated having Jo as a middle name and now here was a show with women with the same awful middle name like her. Poor Kelli Jo.

I actually only realized just a couple of weeks ago that I only watched Petticoat Junction myself for all of that pointy bra watching. And for all of that water tower bathing too. The ladies of Petticoat Junction bathed in the town’s water tower (which is not sanitary) and every week the opening theme showed us these ladies popping their heads out of the water tower when the train came rolling into town, and maybe as a kid (and possibly even now) I kind of, but only maybe, wished to maybe have more than their heads pop out of that tower, but only maybe because then that would mean that I’m not a very good lesbian because supposedly us lesbians are only supposed to be attracted to the person and not their body parts. Well, I guess I’m an awful lesbian because I’m very much attracted to BOTH the person AND the body parts. Let’s put it this way, the very first time I ever saw my wife in person, the very first thing I said in my head the moment I saw her was, “Nice ass!” So see, bad lesbian me. I still think she has a nice ass, so I’m not learning my lesson about being a bad lesbian and boy was this bad lesbian ever attracted to the ladies’ body parts on Petticoat Junction. Or at least their bra body parts. So I guess I’ll just be a bad lesbian then because being a good one can’t be very enjoyable. I guess my wife is a bad lesbian too since she was visually admiring some of my body parts just this morning, so I guess this is why our marriage works so well, we are busy being bad lesbians who enjoy each other’s body parts. Now why do I suddenly feel the need for a cold shower? If one isn’t available, maybe I could just take a dip in that water tower instead. 😉

Yep, the dog bathed in the water tower too. So see, so not sanitary.
Now if only those ladies would stand on their tip toes…Well, that’s honestly the thought I would have in my head when I was a kid. Just saying.

Anyway, thanks to my sister’s recent lifesaving text, I turned myself back on to the re-runs of my childhood years with her and that depression went right away, and maybe March turning into April and the weather getting warmer and the flowers starting to bloom helped too. And maybe knowing that I will be heading for a long overdue visit to Florida in June helped too. Good ole Bushnell, Florida, where they just got a new restaurant. The first new restaurant in five years and that new restaurant is a Burger King. Gotta love the South!

There wasn’t many ways in our house when we were growing up to escape the madness going on there, but we always had re-runs on our TV to help us escape whatever in the hell was happening that day in our home. Thank God for 1960s re-runs on our 1980s TV. It saved the sanity (well, kind of) of my big sister and me. And as my big sis and me always say to each other when saying goodbye thanks to being obsessed with the re-runs of the 1960s TV series Gidget during the summer of 1986, “Toodles!”