“Greeeeen Acres is the place to be,
Farm living is the life for me…”
CBS was having such a rip-snortin’ good time with its “hick folk to rich folk” comedy The Beverly Hillbillies that it decided to pull the ol’ vice-versa switcheroo. And lo and behold, out came Green Acres, every bit the side-splittin’ sitcom classic as that other countrified show.
Actually, Green Acres shared more in common with Petticoat Junction than it did with Jed and Jethro, including the rural town of Hooterville. That fictional setting for Petticoat Junction was the closest town to the new farm home of Oliver and Lisa Douglas, two New York socialites transplanted to the sticks, and it was the well from which much of the show’s comedy was drawn.
Oliver was the one who wanted to get away from it all, leaving his Park Avenue digs and his lawyer job to buy a farm—sight unseen—from local yokel Mr. Haney. Glam queen Lisa wasn’t keen on the rural life (“Darling, I love you, but give me Park Avenue”), but she felt it was her wifely duty to tag along. That didn’t stop her from looking and dressing fabulous, of course, and she did her best to gentrify the Hootervillites.
The farm, it turned out, was a bit of a wreck, but handyman Ed Dawson and carpenter siblings Alf and Ralph Monroe (the latter a female) were there to give the old spit and polish treatment to the new Douglas place. Also on hand in Hooterville were storekeeper Sam Drucker, agriculture man Hank Kimball, and that perpetual salesman Mr. Haney, among others.
But the most famous resident of Hooterville wasn’t even human. That honor belonged to Arnold Ziffel, the smartest darn pig you ever seen. Cute little Arnold quickly became the darling of Green Acres, winning fans of his very own. Such was the down-home charm of this six-season sitcom, delving into the comedic underbelly of small-town life (and the unsuitability of city folk for that very life). Several Petticoat Junction cast members popped up every so often to add a few laughs, and the Green Acres cast returned the favor on its sister program.
The folksy humor of Green Acres kept it high on the hog for several seasons, but CBS decided to end its rural affiliations at the start of the 1970’s. People still loved the Douglases and their wacky neighbors, however, and the show became a favorite of sitcom syndication. That continued popularity led to a 1990 TV movie reunion, Return to Green Acres, and fans of the show still swear by the charm of the farm today.
“Green Acres, we are there!”
|9/15/65 – 9/7/71 CBS|
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