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Green Acres
Oliver, Lisa and Arnold on a Season 3 DVD cover
Created byJay Sommers
Written byJay Sommers
Dick Chevillat
Directed byRichard L. Bare
StarringEddie Albert
Eva Gabor
Pat Buttram
Tom Lester
Frank Cady
Hank Patterson
Barbara Pepper
Alvy Moore
Arnold the Pig
Theme music composerVic Mizzy
ComposerVic Mizzy
Country of originUnited States
No. of seasons6
No. of episodes170 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producerPaul Henning
ProducerJay Sommers
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running time25 minutes
Production companyFilmways
DistributorMGM Television
Release
Original networkCBS
Picture formatColor
Audio formatMonaural
Original releaseSeptember 15, 1965 (1965-09-15) –
April 27, 1971 (1971-04-27)
Chronology
Related showsThe Beverly Hillbillies
Petticoat Junction
Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor as Oliver and Lisa Douglas
Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor as Oliver and Lisa Douglas

Green Acres is an American sitcom starring Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor as a couple who move from New York City to a country farm. Produced by Filmways as a sister show to Petticoat Junction, the series was first broadcast on CBS, from September 15, 1965, to April 27, 1971.

Receiving solid ratings during its six-year run, Green Acres was cancelled in 1971 as part of the "rural purge" by CBS. The sitcom has been in syndication and is available on DVD and VHS releases. In 1997, the two-part episode "A Star Named Arnold Is Born" was ranked No. 59 on TV Guide's 100 Greatest Episodes of All-Time.[1]

Radio origins

Main article: Granby's Green Acres

The roots of Green Acres derive from Granby's Green Acres, a comedy show aired on the CBS radio network from July 3 to August 21, 1950. The eight-episode summer series was created by Jay Sommers, who also wrote, produced, and directed.[2]

The principal characters, a married couple played by Bea Benaderet and Gale Gordon, originated (though under a different surname) on Lucille Ball's My Favorite Husband. The Granby's premise was that a big-city banker fulfills a lifelong dream by moving his family to a run-down farm, despite knowing nothing about farming. The nearby feed store is operated by the absent-minded Mr. Kimball, and the Granbys hire an older hand named Eb (voiced by Parley Baer, who would guest-star in several episodes of the television series) who often comments on incompetent management.[3] Benaderet would later play Kate Bradley, a member of the Green Acres universe of characters.

Adaptation to television

Following the success of The Beverly Hillbillies and Petticoat Junction, CBS offered producer Paul Henning another half-hour slot on the schedule, without requiring a pilot episode. Faced with running three shows, Henning encouraged Sommers to create a series for the time slot.[4] Sommers would go on to write and produce about one-third of the episodes.[2]

In pre-production, proposed titles were Country Cousins and The Eddie Albert Show.[5]

Premise

Publicity photo for the premiere of the show.
Publicity photo for the premiere of the show.

Green Acres is about Oliver Wendell Douglas (Eddie Albert), a prominent and wealthy New York City attorney, fulfilling his dream to be a farmer, and Lisa Douglas (Eva Gabor), his glamorous Hungarian wife, uprooted unwillingly from an upscale Manhattan penthouse apartment to a defunct farm in Hooterville that Oliver purchases to the disbelief of nearby farmers.[citation needed]

The debut episode is a mockumentary about their decision to move to a rural area, anchored by former ABC newscaster John Charles Daly. Daly was the host of the CBS game show What's My Line, and a few weeks after the show's debut Albert and Gabor returned the favor by appearing on What's My Line as that episode's Mystery Guests, and publicly thanked Daly for helping to launch their series.[6]

Although many Green Acres episodes were still standard 1960s sitcom fare, the show developed a regular undercurrent of surrealism and satire. The writers soon developed a suite of running jokes and visual gags, and characters often broke the fourth wall to address the audience.[7]

The show is set in the same television universe as Henning's Petticoat Junction, featuring such towns as Hooterville, Pixley, Crabwell Corners, and Stankwell Falls, as well as sharing characters such as Joe Carson, Fred and Doris Ziffel, Sam Drucker, Newt Kiley, and Floyd Smoot.[citation needed]

Characters

Main characters

Supporting characters

The folks from Petticoat Junction

Shady Rest Hotel owner Kate Bradley appears in a few early episodes. She tries to help Lisa adapt to country living, most notably giving her the recipe for her hotcakes, which Lisa ends up botching, resulting in Lisa's infamous "hotscakes". Uncle Joe Carson (who soon develops a romantic interest in Oliver's mother) is seen at times playing checkers, loafing, or mooching fruit at Drucker's Store with Petticoat Junction regulars Newt Kiley and train conductor Floyd Smoot. Betty Jo Bradley appears in one episode as Eb Dawson's date. Her sister Bobbie Jo appears in the same episode. Blonde-haired Billie Jo is the only Bradley sister never to appear in Green Acres. Western film actor Smiley Burnette guest-stars several times as railway engineer Charley Pratt in 1965 and 1966. Burnette and Pat Buttram (Mr. Haney) were both comic sidekicks of singing cowboy Gene Autry in his 1950s Westerns.[9]

Crossovers with The Beverly Hillbillies

In the March 1967, episode "The Beverly Hillbillies" (season 2, episode 23), the Hooterville theater puts on a play in homage to "famous television show" The Beverly Hillbillies. Oliver plays Jethro opposite Lisa as Granny Clampett.[citation needed]

Starting in 1968, The Beverly Hillbillies aired episodes with the Clampetts in Hooterville visiting distant cousins the Bradley family. This brought the world of all three shows into the same reality. "The Thanksgiving Story" includes a split-second insert of Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor at the dinner table with the casts of all three series. There is a sub-plot with Eb Dawson falling in love with Elly May Clampett that continues in the following episode "The Courtship of Homer Noodleman". The Clampetts return to the Shady Rest Hotel in "Christmas in Hooterville" with Eb still fawning over a reluctant Elly May.[citation needed]

Cast

Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor in episode "The Old Trunk" (1969)
Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor in episode "The Old Trunk" (1969)

In addition, the crossovers from Petticoat Junction cast members, most frequently, were:[citation needed]

With the death of Tom Lester on April 20, 2020, all of the above cast members are now deceased.

Guest stars

During its six-season run, many familiar actors guest-starred on the show, along with other lesser-known performers who later achieved stardom, among them: John Daly, Elaine Joyce, Gary Dubin, Herbert Anderson, June Foray, Bob Cummings, Sam Edwards, Jerry Van Dyke, J. Pat O'Malley, Johnny Whitaker, Jesse White, Al Lewis, Gordon Jump, Bernie Kopell, Len Lesser, Bob Hastings, Don Keefer, Don Porter, Alan Hale, Melody Patterson, Rusty Hamer, Regis Toomey, Heather North, Allan Melvin, Parley Baer, Jack Bannon, Reginald Gardiner, Rick Lenz, Al Molinaro, Pat Morita, and Rich Little in a cameo as himself.[citation needed]

Cancellation

Main article: Rural purge

In 1970–1971, during the series' sixth season, Green Acres placed 34th out of 96 shows. Despite the respectable ratings and winning its timeslot, the network cancelled the show in the spring of 1971 after 170 episodes.[citation needed]

CBS at the time was under mounting pressure from sponsors to have more urban-themed programs on its schedule. To make room for the newer shows, nearly all of the rural-themed shows were cancelled, later known as the "rural purge," of which Pat Buttram said, "CBS cancelled everything with a tree – including Lassie."[10][11]

As a result of the sudden cancellation, there was no series finale. The final two episodes of Green Acres were backdoor pilots for two shows that were never picked up by a network. In the penultimate episode of season 6 ("Hawaiian Honeymoon"), Oliver and Lisa take a trip to Hawaii. Most of the episode focuses on hotel owner Bob Carter (Don Porter) and his daughter Pam (Pamela Franklin), thus the proposed title for the new series was simply Pam. The final episode of season six (and ultimately the Green Acres series) heavily featured Oliver's former secretary in Manhattan, Carol Rush (Elaine Joyce), with proposed spinoff titles said to be Carol or The Blonde.[12]

Episodes

Main article: List of Green Acres episodes

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
132September 15, 1965 (1965-09-15)June 1, 1966 (1966-06-01)
230September 14, 1966 (1966-09-14)April 26, 1967 (1967-04-26)
330September 6, 1967 (1967-09-06)April 10, 1968 (1968-04-10)
426September 25, 1968 (1968-09-25)April 2, 1969 (1969-04-02)
526September 27, 1969 (1969-09-27)April 11, 1970 (1970-04-11)
626September 15, 1970 (1970-09-15)April 27, 1971 (1971-04-27)

Revivals

The surviving members of the cast (except for Eleanor Audley, who had retired from acting 20 years earlier) were reunited for a TV movie titled Return to Green Acres. It aired on CBS on May 18, 1990. Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor also recreated their Green Acres characters for the 1993 CBS special The Legend of the Beverly Hillbillies.[citation needed]

On November 19, 2007, original series director Richard L. Bare announced that he was working on a revival of Green Acres.[13]

Variety announced on July 22, 2012, that a Broadway-aimed musical was in development, with an initial draft of the book written by Bare. No composer, lyricist, or director was attached.[14] Bare died in 2015.

Home media

MGM Home Entertainment released the first three seasons of Green Acres on Region 1 DVD. The entire six-season run of the series is available for purchase via Amazon's video-on-demand service.[citation needed]

On July 7, 2017, Shout! Factory announced it had acquired the rights to release future seasons of the show. It subsequently released Green Acres – The Complete Series on DVD in Region 1 on October 17, 2017.[15]

Shout! Factory released season 4 on November 28, 2017.[16] They released season 5 on February 27, 2018, followed by season 6 on July 10, 2018.[17][18]

DVD name Episodes Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
The Complete First Season 32 January 13, 2004 January 15, 2007 N/A
The Complete Second Season 30 March 8, 2005 N/A N/A
The Complete Third Season 30 December 6, 2005 N/A N/A
The Complete Fourth Season 26 November 28, 2017 N/A N/A
The Complete Fifth Season 26 February 27, 2018 N/A N/A
The Complete Sixth Season 26 July 10, 2018 N/A N/A
The Complete Series 170 October 17, 2017 N/A N/A

Nielsen ratings

Season Time Rank Rating
1) 1965–66 Wednesday at 9:00–9:30 PM #11 24.6
2) 1966–67 #6
3) 1967–68 #15 22.8 (tied with the CBS Friday Night Movie)
4) 1968–69 Wednesday at 9:30–10:00 PM #19 21.6
5) 1969–70 Saturday at 9:00–9:30 PM Not in the Top 30 N/A
6) 1970–71 Tuesday at 8:00–8:30 PM Not in the Top 30 N/A

[19]

Reunion film

In the 1990 reunion TV movie Return to Green Acres,[20] made and set two decades after the series, Oliver and Lisa have moved back to New York but are miserable there. The Hootervillians implore the couple to return and save the town from a scheme to destroy it, cooked up between Mr. Haney and a wealthy, underhanded developer (Henry Gibson). The Monroe brothers still have not finished the Douglas' bedroom, while a 20-something Arnold survived his "parents" and subsequently bunks with his "cousin", the Ziffels' comely niece. With a nod to the times, Haney's latest product is a Russian miracle fertilizer called "Gorby Grow". The film was distributed by Orion Television Entertainment, the successor to Filmways.

Film and Broadway adaptation

Until his death in March 2015, Bare was working on a film version of the TV series, and he was teaming up with Phillip Goldfine and his Hollywood Media Bridge to produce it. A Broadway version was also in development.[21]

Recognition

In 1984, the USC School of Cinematic Arts gave a retrospective of Green Acres to honor Sommers.[22]

See also

References

  1. ^ "The 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All Time". members.aol.com. June 25, 1997. Archived from the original on October 28, 2007.
  2. ^ a b "Granby's Green Acres (6 Episodes)". Audio Archive: Radio Programs > Old Time Radio. Retrieved August 3, 2012.
  3. ^ a b c d "Green Acres Episode Guide".
  4. ^ "About Green Acres". TV Land. Archived from the original on January 19, 2014. Retrieved January 19, 2014.
  5. ^ Weiner, Ed; Editors of TV Guide (1992). The TV Guide TV Book: 40 Years of the All-Time Greatest Television Facts, Fads, Hits, and History. New York: Harper Collins. p. 174. ISBN 978-0-0605-5325-8.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  6. ^ What's My Line? excerpt, YouTube
  7. ^ a b Murray, Noel (April 19, 2012). "The amiable madness of Green Acres". AV Club.
  8. ^ Neibaur, James L. (April 12, 2014). The Elvis Movies. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 157. ISBN 978-1-4422-3074-3.
  9. ^ "Granby's Green Acres".
  10. ^ Clark, Jim (March 26, 1999). "Ken Berry—Enjoys Taking Astaire Way to Mayberry and Beyond!". The Bullet. 15 (3). Archived from the original on September 3, 2000. Retrieved July 2, 2019 – via KenBerry.com. As Pat Buttram said, ‘It was the year CBS canceled everything with a tree in it.’
  11. '^ Harkins, Anthony (November 20, 2003). Hillbilly: A Cultural History of an American Icon. Oxford University Press US. p. 203. ISBN 978-0-1980-3343-1. Retrieved July 2, 2019. As Green Acress regular Pat Buttram lamented: They cancelled everything with a tree—including Lassie
  12. ^ "The last two episodes of Green Acres aren't really episodes of Green Acres". metv.com. September 9, 2020. Retrieved December 16, 2020.
  13. ^ Green Acres: Original Series Director Wants to Continue Classic Sitcom , TV Series Finale, November 19, 2007
  14. ^ Cox, Gordon (July 22, 2012). "'Green Acres' heading to stage". Variety. Retrieved July 23, 2012.
  15. ^ "Green Acres DVD news: Announcement for The Complete Series". www.tvshowsondvd.com. Archived from the original on July 9, 2017.
  16. ^ "Green Acres DVD news: Release Date for The Complete 4th Season". www.tvshowsondvd.com. Archived from the original on August 12, 2017.
  17. ^ "Green Acres DVD news: Announcement for The Complete 5th Season". www.tvshowsondvd.com. Archived from the original on November 9, 2017.
  18. ^ "Green Acres - 'The Complete 6th and Final Season' is Scheduled for Summer by Shout! Factory. 4-DVD set with all 26 episodes is sprouting in stores this July". www.tvshowsondvd.com.
  19. ^ Brooks, Tim; Marsh, Earle The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows 1946–present (2007) Ballantine pp, 1684–85
  20. ^ Return to Green Acres at IMDb
  21. ^ "'Green Acres' Moving From Hooterville To Hollywood: Feature Film, Broadway Play In The Works". Deadline Hollywood. May 2, 2014. Retrieved May 2, 2014.
  22. ^ Folkart, Burt A. (September 28, 1985). "'Lum and Abner,' 'Green Acres' Among Credits: Jay Sommers, Prolific Writer for Radio, TV Shows, Dies at 68". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 12, 2015.
  23. ^ "Awards for The Egg and I". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved June 9, 2020.

Bibliography