The Everett Collection

In 1966, Eddie Albert explained how he stayed young during his time on Green Acres

Eddie Albert was the type of actor and person who said what they meant and meant what they said. Albert was known for being vocal about the success of Green Acres. He wasn't afraid of an opinion piece, and he definitely wasn't afraid of the critics.

Albert played the role of Oliver Wendell Douglas on Green Acres for 170 episodes.

He credited the success of the series to many things; the writing, the acting, the producers and even Arnold the pig's unique charm. However, Albert also credited another part of Green Acres' success: The art of having an old actor appear young.

During Green Acres' first season, Albert was around 60 years old. Despite his age, all generations across the nation fell in love with Oliver Wendell Douglas and tuned in every week on CBS.

He shattered many illusions of stereotypical "older people," just like his opinion on Green Acres; he wasn't shy about talking about his age either.

"Actors tend to stay younger than other people," Albert said in a 1966 interview with The Press Democrat. "In front of the camera, I can get angry and yell and carry on in a way that would get a bank clerk booted out of his job. Man gets rid of hostilities by being an actor. And he gets paid for it. I am not at all hostile to money."

In the interview with The Press Democrat, Albert said many of the emotions he portrayed onscreen were real and from a place very deep within him. He said during most crying scenes he would actually be crying, and for any laughing scenes he would laugh in real life.

Albert's ability to express real emotion in character was part of Oliver's mass appeal on Green Acres. 

"I'm expressing legitimate emotions that the rest of society must usually suppress," Albert said. "So they end up grinding their teeth at night and guzzling four doubles at the end of the day. Actors have their own problems, but suppressing their emotions never has been one of them."

Because of his time on Green Acres, Albert got heavily involved with conservation and farming outside the series. This was just another way for Albert to voice his honest opinions on the series, his castmates and his love for nature, which only progressed more during his time on the series.

According to a 1970 interview with the Chicago Tribune, he worked with several universities to develop model farms that would grow only organic foods. The organic garden was located at his Pacific Palisades home, which helped make him an expert on the topic in real life, and on the show. He said the organic garden grew beets, corn, carrots, and other veggies.

Green Acres started to become Albert's life even outside of the show. He became fully involved in the hit series' growth and his organic garden. His work in conservation was just one way to see the lasting effect that the series had on him, which Albert believed helped keep him young.

"I turned down offers to do shows that later became hits," Albert said. "But this one (Green Acres) I figured had to make it, with Jay Sommers producing and Paul Henning's original notion. What I didn't figure was all the fan mail, kids sending in booties for Eleanor the Cow's calf. If the viewers want to pretend along with me, that's fine. Listen, I believed in Santa Claus until I was 34. After all, I'm an actor."

The star lived to be 99 and passed away in 2005; for added proof that his method of longevity worked.

"There's something else which accounts for the success of the show," Albert said. "Green Acres is based on the age-old concept of humor and tragedy. Beneath the laughter, there are real problems and we do take a poke at institutions."

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