There was a false rumor going around that the cast had a luau on the final day of filming and ate Arnold the Pig. In an interview for a TV Land Special, Tom Lester revealed that he made the story up, because he got tired of people asking him whatever happened to Arnold the Pig.
Was one of the victims of the infamous 'rural purge,' in 1971, along with The Beverly Hillbillies (1962), Mayberry R.F.D. (1968), Hee Haw (1969) and The Ed Sullivan Show (1948) (aka "The Ed Sullivan Show"). At the time, close analysis of demographics came into vogue, and these shows were perceived by CBS executive Fred Silverman to appeal only to those who lived in rural areas and older people, so he decided to cancel them, even though they were all still hugely popular. The oft-told joke which passed into legend is; "CBS canceled every show with a tree in it".
Although the names of the towns in this show are assumed to be made up, there is an area of southern Tulare County, California - a rural community about 175 miles north of Los Angeles - that has several towns whose names are suspiciously similar to those in this series: Porterville ("Hooterville"), Dutch Corners ("Crabwell Corners") and, in fact, there actually is a town in the vicinity called Pixley.
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 accent).
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 in 1995, Albert was utterly devastated and heartbroken.
Oliver drove five gold convertibles during the series run. The first three were Lincoln Continentals (1965-'67 models). The last two were a 1969 and 1970 Mercury Marquis, because Lincoln had stopped making convertibles in 1968.
Jay Sommers adapted "Green Acres" 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.
Creator Jay Sommers wrote extensively for Petticoat Junction (1963) in its second season (1964-65), and these unsyndicated shows feature the first appearances of Doris (then "Ruthie"), Fred, Newt and even Arnold the Pig the year before "Green Acres" went on the air.
The governor of the state that Hooterville was in 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 is played by Lyle Talbot.
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) was only a four-hour drive. This could make it somewhere in very rural Illinois.
Oliver was a pilot for the Army Air Corps during World War II and met Lisa after his plane was shot down. Interestingly, Eddie Albert was in the U.S. Navy during the war, but unlike Oliver, Albert was in the Pacific theater of operations.
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.
A running gag in the show was Lisa's silly antics and her Hungarian accent causing her mispronunciation and making various words humorous such as "Hootersville" (instead of Hooterville) and "Electrisicals" (electricity). Interestingly, in the first half of the first season, Lisa was far more intelligent and her pronunciation of "Hooterville" and "electricity" were perfect and she is 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 sophisticated to be accepted into high society (which she no longer needed to be in Hooterville). The truth to the mispronunciation gags not showing up until later in the series is that the producers were unsure if Gabor's accent would be too thick to be understood by American audiences and they weren't written in until the audience responded well to the character.
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 who plays cymbals (she is shown in an early episode also playing the bugle).
While this show was a spin-off from Petticoat Junction (1963) and some of the characters crossed over from the shows, Mr. Haney never appeared in "Petticoat Junction" (the only mention of Haney is when the Douglases reveal they've bought the Haney place). It was rarely ever seen for Haney and Joe Carson to star in the same episode (only pertaining to the fire department and usually never on screen together). While some think Pat Buttram (Haney) and Edgar Buchanan (Carson) refused to work together, the truth is the writers felt it redundant to have both characters in the same scene, as they were far too similar, being driven by money and schemes to make it. Haney is often seen as the "Green Acres" alternative to Joe Carson without the "heart".
Fred Ziffel will occasionally make references to watching The Beverly Hillbillies (1962). Interestingly, Hank Patterson, who played Ziffel on "Green Acres", also played him on "The Beverly Hillbillies".
Hank Patterson, who played Fred Ziffel, was in his late 70s 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.
Of the nine regular actors on the series, all lived longer than 75 years old. The oldest, Hank Patterson (Fred 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 Douglas), who was 59 at the show's beginning and 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 died at almost 75-1/2 years of age, second to Eva Gabor (Lisa Douglas), who died at age 76. Pat Buttram (Mr. Haney) died at 78. The other cast members lived long lives well into the next millennium, Frank Cady (Sam Drucker) lived to be 96, Sid Melton (Alf Monroe) lived to be 94 and his "sister" Mary Grace Canfield (Ralph Monroe) lived to 89. This shows farm living is the path to longevity.
Owing to the several occasions on which Oliver Wendell Douglas was compelled to defend the Ziffels' 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 would always angrily exclaim, "I am not a pig lawyer!"
Lisa is shown wearing jeans and a denim shirt at the end of the theme song as of the first episode but, interestingly, she only ever wore this outfit once, ad 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 years the show ran.
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 features frequently in "Green Acres", she initially had a different name in the early Petticoat Junction (1963)..
Throughout the show's run, no one in the cast of characters ever comments on Oliver Douglas' financial situation once he is living on the farm. As a successful lawyer in New York, living on Park Avenue, it is suggested he is fairly wealthy, yet conveniently he will never use any of his wealth to buy proper farm equipment, a new tractor or plow and will always end up with Mr. Haney's lemons. None of the characters ever point out that at any time he could afford a new tractor, a new plow or new tools because it would break the running gag of the Hoyt-Clagwell always breaking down and make Mr. Haney a redundant character.
Of the nine regular actors on the show, all were over 40 when the show premiered on September 15, 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), who were both 50 years old.