Three Rutgers Colleagues Mine TV History for Re-Release of 1960s Sitcom "Green Acres"

Three Rutgers Colleagues Mine TV History for Re-Release of 1960s Sitcom "Green Acres"

New box set edition recounts the story of the rural purge that occurred at CBS

Green Acres starred Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor. Albert played a New York City attorney who decided to leave the city and move his family to the country. His wife, played by Gabor, loved NYC and missed it.

"By recounting the events taking place behind the scenes at the broadcast networks, it is my hope that our commentary may not only provide new insight for viewers but also help fans gain a small sense of closure."
 
– Steve Voorhees, doctoral student, School of Communication and Information

Media Contact
Carol Peters
848-932-7091

"Green Acres is the place to be, farm living is the life for me!” Anyone who remembers that tune and loved Green Acres, the TV sitcom that ran from 1965-1971, will be happy to know that the series was recently re-released as a box set on DVD.

Even more amazing: three colleagues from Rutgers-New Brunswick’s School of Communication and Information (SC&I) have greatly enhanced the series by including bonus material that provides a fascinating story about the demise of the show in 1971. 

Ph.D. alumnus Jonathan Bullinger ’17 and doctoral candidates Andrew Salvati and Steve Voorhees, co-founders and producers of Inside the Box: The TV History Podcast, teamed up with national media distributor Shout! Factory to provide the material for the new box set. Their bonus material recounts the behind-the-scenes story of the historic television event known as the rural purge that occurred at CBS during the early 1970s.

 Inside the Box appears as an alternative audio commentary track to the last episode of the series on the new box set, Green Acres: The Complete Series.

 “We are excited to provide fans of this iconic series with such an unprecedented event in television history,” Bullinger says. “If not for the rural purge, it’s likely Green Acres and other rural programs would have endured longer runs. This purge signaled a paradigm shift for the television landscape.”

When CBS canceled Green Acres in a move that was said to have canceled every television program with a tree in it, CBS executives axed all of their rural programming to usher in new, urban and socially aware alternatives in television programming.

Knowing that Green Acres would fall victim to this purge, creator Jay Sommers used the final two episodes of the series for backdoor pilot attempts, in hopes of launching a new series.

For the uninitiated, Green Acres starred Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor. Albert played a New York City attorney who decided to leave the city and move his family to the country. His wife, played by Gabor, loved NYC and missed it terribly, which led to many comedic conversations and events on their farm.

No new series ever launched, but re-runs continued and garnered their share of new aficionados, including Bullinger, Salvati and Voorhees, who met each other in the SC&I doctoral program and became fast friends.   “We all shared an interest in television history, and in 2014, decided to start a podcast that would allow us to share this interest with others,” Bullinger said. “We named it Inside the Box: The TV History Podcast, sharing the credits as producers, researchers, writers and co-hosts.”

Then, this summer the Shout! Factory reached out.  “They had discovered a particular episode of our podcast focusing on the rural purge and contacted us through our website to see if we could adapt it for the Green Acres’ box set, Voorhees said.

The graduate students found their collaboration with Shout! Factory rewarding and hope the new box set will spark interest among Green Acres fans.  

 “I remember watching Green Acres on Nick-at-Nite when I was a kid,” Salvati said. “Now I’m very excited to provide fans of the show with a little extra commentary on the circumstances around the show’s cancellation that they might not have heard about.”

Voorhees, who also has fond memories of watching Green Acres, said it has been an honor to provide commentary for such an iconic series in television history.

“Because of the sudden decision-making that characterized the rural purge, many rural shows from the late ‘60s to early ‘70s, including Green Acres,  were denied a formal series finale,” he said. “By recounting the events taking place behind the scenes at the broadcast networks, it is my hope that our commentary may not only provide new insight for viewers but also help fans gain a small sense of closure.” 

Media Contact
Carol Peters
848-932-7091