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Green Acres (TV Series 1965–1971) Poster

(1965–1971)

Trivia

There was a false rumor going around that the cast had a luau on the final day of filming and Arnold the Piggy was eaten. Years later, in an interview for a TV Land Special, Tom Lester admitted that he made up the story, because he was tired of people asking him almost continuously, whatever had happened to Arnold the Piggy.
This is the first television sitcom in which the theme song soundtrack lyrics were sung by the leading actor & actress of the show, (beating The Monkees (1966), by just one season). The background musical melody soundtrack was "Shave and a Hair-cut: Six Bits". The first lyrics were sang by Eddie Albert sang the first lyric & Eva Gabor sang the second lyric. No consecutive lyrics were sang by either. They shared them: a 50% 50% split.
Pat Buttram based his portrayal of Mr. Haney on Tom Parker - aka "Colonel, Tom Parker", Elvis Presley's manager - whom he met nine years, or a decade+ earlier when Parker was a carnival barker.
Arnold the Piggy was the only cast member to win an award for a performance in a sitcom. He won the coveted "Patsy" Award in 1967, given to the best performance by an animal.
It was reported that Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor were extremely close friends during the run of the show and the chemistry between them often showed in scenes where they were in close proximity, as one is often always touching the other. Their friendship was said to be very similar to how they played as husband and wife and it is said that when Gabor died on Tuesday, July 4th, 1995, Eddie Albert was extremely devastated and very deeply heartbroken.
Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor are buried only yards apart in Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles.
Eddie Albert revealed in a January 1966 "TV Guide" article that as part of his deal he was given a 10% interest in the show. He also mentions that he was offered the part after Don Ameche turned it down, and that Marsha Hunt and Janet Blair had screen-tested with him before Paul Henning had the idea to cast Eva Gabor (over CBS' objections that no one would understand her because of her Hungarian accent).
Oliver Windell Douglas drove five gold convertibles during the series run. The first three were Lincoln Continentals (1965, 1966 & 1967 models, {Oliver WIndell Douglas drove the same model, in seasons three & four}). The last two were 1969 & 1970 Mercury Marquis, because Lincoln Continental stopped making convertibles in 1968.
Jay Sommers adapted Green Acres (1965) from his radio show, "Granby's Green Acres", which aired as a summer replacement for Lucille Ball's "My Favorite Husband," the radio predecessor to I Love Lucy (1951). "Granby's Green Acres" starred Gale Gordon and Petticoat Junction (1963) star Bea Benaderet, who played the Mertz equivalents on Lucy's radio show during the regular season. Benaderet guest-starred in six first-season episodes for the TV version of her former radio show.
Green Acres (1965) was one of NBC TV's eight "sudden death victims", from the extremely famous rural purge, in 1971. The other seven were The Beverly Hillbillies (1962). Hee Haw (1969). The Ed Sullivan Show (1948), (aka "The Ed Sullivan Show"). Hogan's Heroes (1965) & Mayberry R.F.D. (1968). "Hogan's Heroes" (1965)_ debuted two evenings (on CBS TV CHANNELS, nationwide) after Green Acres (1965) debuted on Wednesday, September 15th, 1965, with Green Acres: Oliver Buys a Farm (1965), & Hogan's Heroes (1965) started two evenings later, on Friday, September 17th, 1965, with Hogan's Heroes: The Informer (1965) At the time, close analysis of demographics came into vogue & these shows were perceived by longtime CBS executive, Fred Silverman, to appeal only to those who lived in rural areas and older people, so he decided to cancel them Immediately, even though they were all still hugely popular. The often told joke which passed into legend is: "CBS canceled every show with a tree in it".
Took place in the same fictional universe as The Beverly Hillbillies (1962) and Petticoat Junction (1963). Characters from the latter series often appeared on this show and vice-versa.
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Mr. Haney had a basset hound named Cynthia who had a crush on Mr. Ziffel's Arnold the Piggy. {Cynthia had "Piggy Love"!}
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At the Douglas' family barn, their Jersey cow was named Eleanor, their rooster was named Bertram and their hen was named Alice.
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Hooterville's newspaper was the World Guardian.
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The governor of the state that Hooterville was based on then California governor (and future president) Ronald Reagan. He was a former actor who ran festivals of his films to help generate revenue for the state. In Green Acres: The Road (1969) Oliver meets Hooterville's representative in the state legislature, who introduces himself as a former actor named Lyle Talbot. He was played by Lyle Talbot.
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The title of the series, and the earlier radio show, was taken from "Green Acres" the name of Harold Lloyd's home which was the largest of the Hollywood homes located in Beverly Hills.
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The name of the towns in the vicinity of Hooterville were Pixley, Crabwell Corners and Stankwell Falls.
The red, open-cab truck driven by county agent Hank Kimball, was a Ford Bronco Roadster. It was updated yearly through the run of the series, (1965 - 1971), as soon as a new model became available.
Creator Jay Sommers wrote extensively for Petticoat Junction (1963) during its second season (1964-65), and these unsyndicated shows feature the first appearances of Doris (then "Ruthie"), Fred, Newt, plus Arnold the Piggy the year before Green Acres (1965) originally debuted & went on the air, on Wednesday evening, September 15th, 1965, with Green Acres: Oliver Buys a Farm (1965).
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During the final season, the Douglas' got a pet duck named Drobney. He was the son of a duck (also named Drobney) that helped Lisa during World War II.
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Lisa Douglas' maiden name was Granietz.
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The manufacturer of Oliver's lemon of a tractor that Mr. Haney sold him was Hoyt-Clagwell.
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In the episode Green Acres: The Deputy (1966), Mr. Haney's first name is said to be Charlton. A couple of other episodes referred to his first name as being the Eustace.
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Oliver Windell Douglas almost always wore business attire with a tie & vest, even when working out in the field.
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Oliver was a pilot for the Army Air Corps during World War II and met Lisa after his plane was shot down. In reality, Eddie Albert was in the U.S. Navy during World War 2, but unlike Oliver, Albert was in the Pacific theater of operations.
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During the first half of the 1967-68 season, Tom Lester missed several episodes due to he had mononucleosis. Leading the CBS' producers to decide do a storyline in which Eb eloped & left the farm.
Though Eleanor Audley played Eunice Douglas, Oliver's mother, in reality she was just only five months older than Eddie Albert.
The major sponsors were General Foods (now Kraft Foods), makers of Maxwell House Coffee and Post Cereals.
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The first pig, (aka "Arnold, the Piggy") was a male. The three others were two to four year old female sow pigs.
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During the first season, the Douglas family had a dog named "Mignon", (as if in fish meal, filet mignon). Mignon was still "present" in season 2's Opening Credits & Closing Credits, although he didn't have a lot of screen time, mostly cameos.
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During the final season, Eb got a steady girlfriend in the person of Darlene Wheeler. However, in many of the early episodes it was revealed that he had a crush on Betty Jo Bradley. In several episodes he dated a girl named Lorelei.
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The name of the state that Hooterville was located in was never mentioned, but in the first episode, Oliver told Lisa he had to fly to Chicago and change planes a few times to get to Hooterville. In another episode he mentions the state capital (Springfield, Illinois) was only a four-hour drive. Since the area was created in Petticoat Junction (1963), and that show was based on the stories told to Paul Henning by his wife, who had spent summers in Eldon, Missouri, at a small hotel located near the train station, the most likely state of locale would be Sourthern Missouri. The windy, twisty, hilly roads of the Ozarks could easily make a trip to Springfield, Illinois a four hour drive.
Hank Patterson, who played Fred Ziffel, was in his late 70's and almost completely deaf when the show began. However, he was so popular with the cast, the producers and fans that, in order to keep him on the show, when his scenes were shot a dialogue coach would be lying on the floor, out of sight, and tap him on the leg with a yardstick to let him know when to speak his lines.
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Mr. Haney is one of the only recurring characters who has a wife that is never mentioned by name and is never shown on screen. Most of the farmers of Hooterville have wives that are members of the "Every Other Wednesday Afternoon Club". Interestingly, although Fred Ziffel's wife Doris (portrayed by Barbara Pepper featured frequently in "Green Acres", she initially had a different character name in the earlier series, that Green Acres (1965) was a spin-off of Petticoat Junction (1963). Fran Ryan was the second "Doris Ziffel" actress.
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Tom Lester, who acted as Eb Dawson, was brought up on a farm in Mississippi where he learned to grow and shuck corn, not unlike his character role, on the show.
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The Hooterville volunteer Fire Department marching band only knows one song, "There'll Be a Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight". This is a running gag, as it's the only song they play during any parade. It is interesting to note that the only person in the band (other than Oliver) who can read music and play another instrument is Ralph Munroe actress, Mary Grace Canfield who plays cymbals (she was seen in an earlier episode playing the bugle).
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Of the nine regular actors on the series, all lived longer than 75 years old. The oldest, Hank Patterson (aFred Ziffel), was already 77 when the show began was 86 when he died in 1975, the first cast member to pass away. The next oldest was Eddie Albert (Oliver Windell Douglas), was 59 as the series began & had the greatest longevity of any of the actors, passing away at age 99 in 2005. Alvy Moore (Hank Kimball) had the shortest longevity of any of the actors, he was just under 75 & a 1/2 years. Eva Gabor (Lisa Douglas), was 76. Pat Buttram (Mr. Haney) was 78. The other cast members lived longer lives well into the next millennium, Frank Cady (Sam Drucker) was 96, Sid Melton (Alf Monroe) was 94 and his "sister" Mary Grace Canfield (Ralph Monroe) was 89. This shows farm living is the path to longevity.
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Owing to the several occasions on which Oliver Wendell Douglas was compelled to defend the Ziffel's pet pig, Arnold in court, he was chagrined to find that newspapers had taken to referring to him as Oliver Wendell Douglas, the famous pig lawyer. To this, he always pretended to be angry & exclaim or shout harshly to any type of media, "I am not a pig lawyer!"
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Lisa Douglas is shown wearing jeans and a denim shirt at the end of the theme song as of _"Green Acres"_ (1965) debut episode, _"Green Acres" (1965) {Oliver buys a Farm (#1.1)}_, but interestingly, she only ever wore this outfit once, and it wasn't until a later season. She always wore skirts and dresses and was only ever seen wearing jeans in these two instances, despite the five seasons, the show ran.
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Similar to the characters in The Beverly Hillbillies (1962) who usually did not wear "city clothes" and kept to their old hillbilly clothes, Oliver and Lisa usually wore the "city clothes" instead of regular farm clothes.
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Eva Gabor was not the first choice to play Lisa. The original choices were Marsha Hunt and Janet Blair.
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A running gag in the show was Lisa's silly antics and her Hungarian accent causing her numerous mispronunciations and making various words humorous such as "Hootersville" (instead of Hooterville) and "Electrisicals" (electricity). Interestingly, in the first half of season one, Lisa was far more intelligent & her pronunciation of "Hooterville" and "electricity" were perfect and she was then written as a far more practical and serious woman. One popular theory is that Lisa adapted to Hooterville to become as goofy and unusual as the rest of the town, while in New York she had adapted herself to be practical, clear and very highly sophisticated to be accepted into high society (which she no longer needed to be in Hooterville). The truth to her mispronunciation gags not showing up until later in the series is that the producers were unsure her accent would be too thick to be understood by American audiences and they weren't written in until the audience responded well to her character role.
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Of the nine regular actors on the show, all were over 40 when the show originally premiered on Wednesday, September 15th, 1965, except for Tom Lester (Eb Dawson), who was eight days away from turning 27. The next oldest was Mary Grace Canfield (Ralph Monroe) who had just turned 41. The oldest actor was Hank Patterson (Fred Ziffel), who was a month shy of turning 77, followed by Eddie Albert, who was 59½ years old. The others were all in their late 40s except for Pat Buttram (Mr. Haney) and Frank Cady (Sam Drucker), both were in their 50's.
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Actress, Barbara Pepper (the original "Doris ZIffel") developed weakening health issues weakening & by 1969 they became so serious she was forced to leave the series, (she died later in the year). Fran Ryan accepted the role as the second "Doris Ziffel", for the remainder of the series.
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Gary Abrams was the show's very first & original associate producer in 1965. He had to leave the show due to weak health issues, and was replaced by Guy Scarpitta.
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The six seasons & 170 episodes of Green Acres (1965): seasons 1, 2, 3 & 4 were 118 Wednesdays. (32 in Season 1, 30 in Season 2, 30 in Season 3 & 26 in Season 4). Season 5 was 26 Saturdays & Season 6 was 26 Tuesdays.
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During the Opening Credits, the theme song was "Shave a hair-cut: Six bits". Eddie Albert sang the first lyrics and Eva Gabor sang the second lyrics, themselves. (Eddie Albert was first & Eva Gabor was second, as they rotated) singing lyrics in the comical song.
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During the final scene & ten seconds, as the Opening Credits conclude, Eddie Albert & Eva Gabor appear as a live scene of artist, Grant Wood's most popular drawing: "An American Gothic". The final scene, of the Opening Credits, & "Shave & a Hair Cut, Six Bits" musical melody, Eddie Albert holds a shovel, upside down & quickly taps the ground twice, with the wooden round end bar of conclusion of the musical theme, "Six Bits".
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In Green Acres: A Kind Word for the President (1967) Sarah, the telephone switchboard operator, is said to be the mother of farmer, Roy Trendell (Robert Foulk. In other episodes, she is said to be the mother of county agent Hank Kimball (Alvy Moore).
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There's a 33 days time lapse (4 weeks & 5 days), between Green Acres (1965)'s very last two episodes. Their links & dates are Green Acres: Hawaiian Honeymoon (1971), on Tuesday, March 25th, 1971 & Green Acres: The Ex-Secretary (1971), on Tuesday, April 27th, 1971.
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Two longtime comical CBS TV series: Green Acres (1965) & "Hogan's Heroes" (1965)_, differ two days of debuting weekly on TV. "Green Acres (1965)_ debuted on Wednesday, September 15th, 1965, with _ "Green Acres" (1965) {Oliver Buys a Farm (#1.1)}_ & Hogan's Heroes (1965) debuted on Friday, September 17th, 1965, with Hogan's Heroes: The Informer (1965).
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In an interview shortly before her death, Mary Grace Canfield said Jay Sommers (I)' was constantly having fights with the network executives over her character role. They were worried about people, especially men, believing a woman could be a Blue-Collar worker.
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A running gag on the show is whenever Lisa says or does something stupid, Oliver threatens to deport her back to Europe.
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All though many of the characters' backstories & character roles were made up, Lisa's backstory is largely based on her real-life counterpart. Like Lisa, Eva Gabor was born one of three daughters to an Austrian-Hungarian World War One veteran and his wife & grew up in Budapest, Hungary, during a Middle Class lifestyle.
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See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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