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Senior World Magazine: Alvy Moore

by James MacArthur

As I drove up to Alvy Moore’s house, I spotted a big white Cadillac in the driveway with the license plate GRNACRS. I knew then how proud Alvy was of the wonderfully funny character that he played for six years alongside Eva Gabor and Eddie Albert and the zany cast of Green Acres. Steve Cox, who wrote the book A Visitors Guide to Green Acres, has written that the character Hank Kimball The County Agent was “possibly the most cunning parody of a premature Alzheimer’s victim.” Alvy himself says, “I believe that Hank Kimball is one of the few characters on television in which everybody is smarter. That’s why everybody loves him.” Steve Cox also wrote that “the vacant expression on Kimball’s face and sometimes his slow reactions were reminiscent of Stan Laurel at his best.” Hard to get higher praise than that!

The front door opened and there stood Alvy Moore with a big smile, doing a funny take on our entrance. I said, “Hi Alvy. I’m Jim MacArthur.” He said, “I’m glad you remembered!”

This started two delightful hours of chatter on his back patio. His wife of 46 years, Carolyn, brought us out coffee and as we gazed out over the golf course, our thoughts turned naturally to golf. I asked him how his game was. He said, “Well, I’ve got a real slow backswing, but if I hit it, it goes pretty good anyway. But you know I wouldn’t even be playing golf if it wasn’t for my two knee replacements. Can you imagine how many seniors wouldn’t even be able to get out of the house if it weren’t for modern medicine?” Alvy will be 75 on his next birthday, but has enough energy to bottle it and sell it!

I asked him what he was doing in semi retirement. He told me that he spends time with his three children Janet, Alyson, and Barry, as well as playing in a lot of charity golf tournaments. About 26 a year, he reckons. “You know,” he said, “Green Acres has been playing for 23 years and residuals stopped after nine runs. Well, I consider my invites to golf tournaments all over the country as my ongoing residuals!”

There is a lot more to Alvy Moore than Green Acres. He was a marine in World War II, including the battle for Iwo Jima, a subject he glossed over quickly. It seems that those who were at the big battles often have no desire to discuss them. After the war and college at Indiana State Teachers College, he broke into professional acting and soon was touring with Henry Fonda in Mister Roberts, which lasted 14 months. This began a long list of movie and TV credits such as Gentlemen Prefer Blondes with Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell, and The Wild One with Marlon Brando, and many more. On TV, he did Playhouse 90 in the fifties and more than a hundred more, including Fantasy Island, Hill Street Blues, and Frasier. He also produced four motion pictures. These include The Devil’s Bedroom, The Witch Maker, The Brotherhood of Satan, and A Boy and His Dog with Jason Robards and Don Johnson. He also produced a documentary on The Little League. When I asked how he got into the baseball documentary business, he told me he was a Little League umpire for seven years and even umpired a championship game at Williamsport, Pennsylvania. As I am a Little League assistant coach myself, I was quite impressed.

After so many movies and TV, Alvy turned his public spirit and production know-how into play when he produced four film segments on the subject of personal character building which were used by the Los Angeles School District, as well as by colleges and high schools across the country as part of their educational curriculum. I said, “Well done, Alvy. You’re the nicest umpire I’ve ever known. And now it’s time for me to go.”

“I’m glad you remembered,” he said, and gave me his impish smile.

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