Green Acres was as the theme song implied, the place to be for six uproariously funny seasons. Yes, from 1965 to 1971, the CBS situational comedy that featured a couple that escaped the hustle and bustle of city life in exchange for a simpler life in rural America, brought audiences a steady stream of chuckles and good times.
If you’ve seen the show, you would have never expected that the premise for the show was based upon a real-life scenario, although Hooterville’s location was never specifically revealed. In fact, after all these years, we’re willing to bet that there is a lot about Green Acres that you are completely oblivious to. Fortunately, your good friends over at Facts Verse are about to clue you in on 15 of the program’s biggest behind-the-scenes secrets.
So, prepare to have your mind-blown and your giggle box tickled, and stay tuned if you want to find out which exceptionally famous politician was a massive fan of this hysterically comical production.
Green Acres Was Based Upon A Radio Show
A lot of super-successful television series were based upon popular radio shows. Gunsmoke, Dragnet, and Ozzie and Harriet, just to name a few, can all trace their origins this to this kind of media platform. Before the days of television and streaming content, radio shows captivated audiences and kept their ears glued to their stereos.
Green Acres, the television sitcom was based upon Granby’s Green Acres – a radio series based upon a very similar premise. You had a banker that traded his life in the fast lane for a more subdued existence as a farmer – despite not having the slightest clue as to what that sort of life really entails.
The show only aired for roughly seven weeks in 1950, but that was all the inspiration that the shows creator and producer, Jay Sommers, needed to conjure up his spin-off TV show some 15 years later.
The Entire Outlandish Premise Was Based In Reality
It might be hard to imagine a real-world suit-and-tie-wearing city dweller giving up their high-paying corporate job in the financial sector to rehabilitate a dilapidated farm in the middle of nowhere without an ounce of knowledge about agriculture or country living, but in fact, one person, in particular, has actually done just that – well sort of.
Jay Sommers recalls that when he was a child, his stepfather got it in his head that he wanted a farm. In no time at all, he literally bought the farm and achieved his goal. All his stepdad wanted was to sow some potatoes, but young Sommers wanted nothing to do with it. He hated working on the farm and resented the situation immensely – as privileged kids do.
So, the situation might not have been exactly the same as the one that plays out in Green Acres, but at least Sommers had a working knowledge of the subject to draw from for inspiration.
Eddie Albert Didn’t Find The Premise Outlandish In The Least Bit
The lead role of Oliver Wendell Douglas was played by Eddie Albert. Before he worked on Green Acres, he looked at television shows as being an inferior acting medium that generally speaking pumped out sub-par content. He prided himself as being an actor who took their work very seriously.
But when his agent laid out the concept behind Green Acres, he was immediately drawn in. He felt a sort of kindred bond with his character and felt like his life choice was extremely relatable. Everyone gets tired of the old rat race eventually. He believed that given the opportunity, most people would gladly give their complex lives up for the chance to grow some veggies and take it easy.
Albert also felt certain that the show would be a success. A show about returning to humanity’s humbler roots is bound to strike a few chords with audiences who might feel increasingly overwhelmed by the stresses of modern life.
Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor Could Relate To Their Characters
Gabor played Lisa Douglas, Oliver’s reluctant highfaluting wife who was less than enthusiastic about giving up the luxuries and comforts of city life. Despite being somewhat of an urbanite, she did however have a certain fondness for animals. She owned cats, birds, chickens dogs, and even some rabbits, but it didn’t take her very long to learn about the bunny’s impressively fast reproduction rate. Her assistant recounts a story about her being eager to show off her rabbits at a dinner party, but when she went to the hutch,she found that her two rabbits had multiplied. She hadn’t previously realized that crucial tidbit about rabbit rearing and her party guests had to explain it to her.
Even though Albert resented his father’s potato farm, he grew up to be quite fond of gardening. He turned his front yard into a cornfield and built a sizable greenhouse out back to organically grow his own vegetables. Looks like the apple – errr potato? – Doesn’t fall far from the tree.
The Theme Song Was Written By Vic Mizzy
Mizzy was a composer that primarily wrote music for movies and television. His best-known works, however, are for the equally catchy theme tunes of Green Acres and The Addams Family. In addition to writing those two numbers- which we bet at least one is bound to be stuck in your head now – he also wrote numerous top-40 pop songs in the 1930s and 1940s.
There Was No Ad Libbing Allowed
Even throw improv is typically encouraged in comedies, Albert explains that there simply wasn’t enough time for it. He also remarked that the show was so splendidly written that it would have been nearly impossible to improve it in any way.
Not a single word was altered by any of the actors. What was written down in the script is what was broadcasted across the nation. No more, no less.
Dwight D. Eisenhower Was A Huge Fan Of The Show
Once the former President reached retirement, one of his favorite pass times was keeping up with all the good people in Hooterville. Green Acres was famously Eisenhower’s favorite show. He loved it so much, that when he got his very own valet pet pig, he named it Arnold and allowed him to have free roam over his home. Reportedly, he would even let his animal companion rest on slipcovered furniture that even his own grandchildren weren’t permitted to sit on.
Quick side-note, if you’re digging this video so far, make sure you give it a like and subscribe to our channel, and stick around for the rest of the video to learn all about the revival TV-movie that aired in the 90s.
Albert Wasn’t A Fan Of Gabor’s Fur and Feather Collection
Eddie Albert was a bit of an animal rights activist and environmentalist. One time, when Gabor wanted to wear a lavish outfit decked out with all sorts of colorful feathers onscreen, Eddie kind asked her if she would wear something else.
Gabor didn’t see what the big deal was, so Albert explained that he didn’t want the viewing audience to see the piece of fashion couture and be encouraged to rush out and try to copy the look – thus causing the suffering and death of more birds.
Gabor replied by saying that feathers didn’t come from birds.
Shocked, Eddie asked her where then she thought that feathers came from.
Here’s the kicker, Gabor insisted that they come from pillows!
Talkin’ about a sheltered existence! Gabor later confirmed that she wasn’t joking around either. That’s really where she thought feather came from.
Mr. Haney Was Based Upon Elvis’s Manager
Mr. Haney, the underhanded salesman that was constantly trying to swindle Oliver into buying his junk was in fact based upon Colonel Tom Parker, Elvis Presley’s personal manager. Pat Buttram, actually got the chance to meet him when he was working on the set of the film Roustabout. In that movie, Buttram played the conniving owner of a carnival.
We May Never Know Where Hooterville Really Was
The best bit of info that we have to work with is that Mr. Haney once stated that the town was roughly 300 miles from Chicago. None of the accents seem to give any clues to whereabouts either. It’s not even clear if Hooterville is in the mid-west, heartland, or the south. So, much like Springfield’s ellusive nature in the Simpsons we may never pin down the exact location of that small back-country town.
Green Acres Was Host To Countless Inside Jokes
Eva Gabor’s character Lisa once humorously explains to Oliver that he would have to accept the fact that she was a terrible cook. She said that when he married her, he knew full well that she didn’t cook, sew or know how to tidy up a home. All she could do was speak in her native tongue of Hungarian and do impressions of Zsa Zsa Gabor – who was in fact Eva’s real-world sister.
The series also makes numerous witty references to executive producer Paul Hannings other shows Petticoat Junction – which is set in the same universe as Green Acres – and The Beverly Hillbillies.
In one episode, in particular, residents of Hooterville put on their own rendition of the Beverly Hillbillies with Lisa playing Grandma Clampett and Oliver in the role of Jethro.
It Was Canceled Because Of The ‘Rural Purge’
Changing attitudes in Hollywood during the early 1970s led to numerous rural-themed shows getting cut from the line-up. In what is now known as the rural purge, Petticoat Junction, The Andy Griffith Show, Lassie, The Beverly Hillbillies, and Green Acres all got nixed.
Ignore the Rumors About Arnold The Pig
There’s an urban legend that suggests that the cast and crew barbecued Arnold after the show came to a conclusion at some kind of farewell party. That rumor, in part, was perpetuated by Tom Lester, who played Eb Dawson. He once joked that Arnold became the main course at a Luau attended by the shows actors and network executives.
There Was A Reunion Movie
In May of 1980, Return To Green Acres, a made-for-TV reunion movie reunited Oliver, Lisa, and Mr. Haney after 20 years have elapsed. The Douglases had moved back to New York City in the interim. Of course, Mr. Haney was up to no good once again and their fellow Hootervillians need Oliver and Lisa’s help. But before you go looking to see where you can stream it, be warned that it wasn’t exactly the best TV reunion movie ever made. Might we suggest one of the Gunsmoke movies instead?
Green Acres As Surrealism
When Nick At Night brought Green Acres back in the 90s, they advertised the re-runs as not being slapstick but being a form of surrealism – a form of art or literature that makes the attempt to release the full potential of the unconscious mind by juxtaposing irrationally unexpected themes, imagery and ideas together. In an interview with People Magazine, Albert described Green Acres as a comedy that was so far out there that it becomes an expression of something deeply true.
Well, that was a fun little trip down memory lane. And you know, there has been talk that there might be a Green Acres Broadway play and film in the works. Granted, not much is known about either of those projects or whether they will ever come to light, but it’s not exactly unlike Hollywood to revive a popular series from the past and try to pass it off as something new.
Would you be interested in a Green Acres reboot or do you think that the original series is perfect just the way it is? Let us know what you think in the comments section.
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