Cambria has been the home away from Hollywood for a large number of actors and behind the camera professionals.
On July 3, 1980, Telegram-Tribune reporter Linda Gentry wrote about actor Frank Cady.
Actor gets his own ‘Green Acres’ in Cambria
Frank Cady was a doctor and shopkeeper for nearly three decades.
He was Doc Williams on the “Ozzie and Harriet” television series and Sam Drucker on “Pettycoat Junction” and “Green Acres.”
The 64-year-olt actor will be master of ceremonies at a street dance from 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday in Cambria. The free dance will be at Main and Bridge streets.
Cady, a native of Susanville in Lassen County, moved to Cambria about 2 1/2 years ago. He and his wife of 40 years, Shirley, had lived in the seaside community about six months when he got word that “someone who used to be on ‘Green Acres’ was up here buying property.”
When he heard the rumor, Cady said he thought, “It can’t be Eddie Albert,” and considered calling friends in Southern California to find out who was planning to move north.
“Finally, I found out it was me,” Cady said with a hearty chuckle. “It never occurred to me that it was me (people were talking about).”
Despite his notoriety in Cambria, Cady said he has always considered acting to be like any other job. It was a profession he didn’t even consider until he attended Stanford University.
“I started out to be a newspaperman,” he recalled. “I got sidetracked into the theater.”
The blue-eyed, bespectacled Cady, who looks much younger than the characters he has played, said he spend the summers of his youth working on the Lassen Advocate, a weekly newspaper which his father owned stock.
He “got hooked” on theater when he was asked to do some writing for a fraternity production, Cady said.
After graduation, Cady said he went to London as an “apprentice in a theater on the West End. I came back to the States thoroughly imbued with the bug.”
There was work in summer stock in Vermont, Cady said. Then, “I bet the streets of New York for a long time.
“It seemed like a long time,” he said with a grin, “because I didn’t like it.”
Abandoning the theater, Cady said he returned to Stanford to do graduate work and try his hand at teaching.
He later took a job as a radio announcer — first in Stockton, then in San Francisco.
His radio career was cut short when World War II broke out and “they finally caught up with me. I became a participating member in the United States Airforce.
“I had a wonderful time in the service,” said Cady, who was assigned to public relations. He said the closest he got to action was when he visited friends in London.
When he was discharged in 1946, Cady said he headed for Los Angeles to “get back into radio.” He landed a job as a radio announcer and acting jobs started coming his way.
His first movie was a B or possibly B minus or possibly a C” grade film called “Sarg Goes to College,” Cady said. “That was my auspicious beginning.”
Cady became Doc Williams, the next door neighbor in “Ozzie and Harriet,” after Ozzie Nelson saw his performance as a colonel in “The Square Needle.” He stayed with the series for 12 years.
His work in “Ozzie and Harriet” led to 15 years as Sam Drucker, the comical country shopkeeper of “Pettycoat Junction” and “Green Acres” fame.
“They were the best years of my life,” Cady said of the long-running series. “I met some dear people there. Those were great, great years. I owe my Cambria existence to those shows.”
Despite his obvious affection for the shows, Cady said he does not watch the “Green Acres” reruns, which are shown on weekday mornings.
“It’s a shattering experience for the most part,” he said. It’s rare to see a performance that’s as good as he thinks it should have been.
Since the shows ended, Cady said his work has been limited. “I had been so badly typed as a storekeeper. I was offered shopkeepers’ (parts) all over.”
“I think I did a damn good job on the part,” Cady said, but he wanted to do something different.
He played a “mean old dad” in “Zandy’s Bride,” a film staring Gene Hackman.
“I thought, ‘I’m off and running,’”Cady recalled. “I thought I was heading for the moon and no one saw it.”
He was nominated recently for an Emmy Award for his performance in the three-part children’s television movie, “The Winged Colt,” and he has done parts in several other children’s films.
Even though he has retired to Cambria, Cady still keeps his hand in acting. Television viewers see him in Purina’s Fit and Trim dog food commercials.
And being one who would’t endorse a product he didn’t believe in, Cady really does feed the chow to Stormy, the dog he found and adopted about 16 years ago during a goose hunting expedition in a snow storm.
Frank Cady and his wife Shirley later moved to Wilsonville, Oregon where she died in August 22, 2008 at age 91.