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‘Green Acres’ Cast: 10 Wacky Secrets About the Beloved Farm Living Show

Plus, find out how many pigs it took to play Arnold… and how he won an Emmy!


The Green Acres cast appeared in our living rooms from 1965 to 1971 and this classic sitcom quickly developed a loyal following. The show, created by Jay Sommers, offered a humorous take on rural life. It followed Oliver Wendell Douglas, a New York lawyer played by Eddie Albert, and his wife Lisa, played by Eva Gabor, as they traded the hustle and bustle of New York City life for a farm in the fictional town of Hooterville. If that town name sounds familiar, it’s because you already know it from its 1960s sitcom predecessor Petticoat Junction.

Related: ‘Petticoat Junction’ Cast: Hop a Train to the Shady Rest Hotel and Relive All the Laughs

Hilarious behind-the-scenes secrets about the Green Acres cast

Here, ten little-known facts about the show and it’s amazing stars.

1. Eddie Albert really had farming expertise

Actor Eddie Albert in Green Acres, 1968.
Actor Eddie Albert in ‘Green Acres’ in 1968

While Eddie Albert played the role of a city-slicker-turned-farmer, his character’s bumbling attempts at agricultural endeavors contrasted sharply with Albert’s real-life knowledge and experience. In reality, Albert was an avid environmentalist and owned a farm in California. His genuine interest in farming practices added authenticity to his portrayal of Oliver Wendell Douglas.

2. Eva Gabor almost didn’t take the part

Eva Gabor and Eddie Albert (Original Caption) Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor in a publicity handout for the TV series Green Acres 1965-1971.
Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor in the ‘Green Acres’ sitcom, 1965

Actress Eva Gabor, known for her glamorous persona, initially had reservations about taking on the role of Lisa Douglas. Fortunately, she took the part. Her portrayal of the witty and fashionable Lisa became iconic and we couldn’t imagine anyone else playing it. With her feathery negligees, her diamond jewelry and her perfectly coiffed platinum hair, her comedic timing and charisma endeared her to audiences.

3. Sid Melton was really that short

Sid Melton and Eva Gabor during Nick at Nite Green Acres Promo Shoot - 1989 at Hollywood Center Studios in Hollywood, Ca, United States. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc)
Sid Melton and Eva Gabor, 1989Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc

The actor Sid Melton who played the character Alf Monroe, an incompetent carpenter, was only 5′ 3″ — his short demeanor was part of this appeal as a comedic actor. In addition to Green Acres, Melton was an actor for over 70 years and appeared in over 140 movie and TV roles.  

4. Hank Patterson took on several roles in the series

Eddie Albert and Hank Patterson. (Original Caption) A scene from the long-running television series "Green Acres." The series, which ran from 1965-1971, starred Eva Gabor as "Lisa Douglas," and Eddie Albert as "Oliver Douglas." In this scene, Oliver Douglas speaks with his farmer neighbor, Hank Patterson as "Fred Ziffel." Douglas holds a document in his hand; the two are shown from the waist-up. Publicity handout, ca. 1965-1971.
Eddie Albert and Hank Patterson, 1965Getty

Hank Patterson, who played Mr. Ziffel, the father of the famous pig Arnold, also took on the role of Fred Ziffel’s brother in several episodes. This dual role added an extra layer of comedy to the interactions between the Ziffel family and the Douglas couple.

5. Arnold the pig won an Emmy

Arnold Ziffel, the pig on Green Acres, became one of the show’s most beloved characters. The reality, however, was that the role was actually played by four pigs during the Green Acres series. The character Arnold, often treated like a member of the family, had a surprising list of accomplishments. He was a skilled painter, could play the piano, and even predicted the weather. The pig was a scene-stealer and left an indelible mark on the show. He even had his own fan club. Plus, Arnold won an Emmy for Best performance by an animal. 

6. The Green Acres cast often appeared on another sitcom

The stars of 'Green Acres' often also appeared in Petticoat Junction.
The stars of ‘Green Acres’ often also appeared in ‘Petticoat Junction’ Getty

Green Acres was part of a shared universe with another popular sitcom, Petticoat Junction. The shows occasionally featured crossover episodes, with characters from one series making appearances on the other. This interconnected universe added a unique dynamic to the storytelling of both shows.

7. The theme song was actually sung by Albert and Gabor

The catchy theme song of Green Acres, sung by stars Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor, became synonymous with the show. What many viewers might not know is that the actors were not professional singers, yet their spirited rendition added to the show’s charm. The theme’s lyrics humorously summarized the premise of the series, setting the tone for each episode.

8. The show’s ratings were still strong when it was canceled

Green acres cast
Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor in ‘Green Acres’ 1968Getty

Despite its popularity, Green Acres faced an unexpected cancellation in 1971. The decision was influenced by the changing landscape of television and a shift in viewer preferences. The sudden end of the show left fans disappointed, highlighting the unpredictability of the entertainment industry.

9. Green Acres was one of the first to show a shared marital bed

Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor, 1969

At the time, not many sitcoms showed a married couple sharing a bed. The chemistry between the stars and the sexy bedroom attire worn by Gabor made it that much more scandalous. However, despite rumors, the co-stars were never romantically involved. Instead, they remained good friends, long after the series ended.

10. Eddie Albert’s musical talent was real

Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor, 1965

Albert’s talents extended beyond acting; he was also a skilled musician. In several episodes, Albert showcased his musical abilities by playing the clarinet and other instruments. These musical interludes added a personal touch to his character and highlighted Albert’s versatility as a performer.

Read on for more about your favorite sitcoms!

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