Green Acres is the Place to Be!
Sorry, I just couldn’t resist that. How could I? Every time I hear the Green Acres Theme Song, I just have to smile. Maybe it’s because I have such fond memories of watching it with my father growing up, maybe it’s because I still laugh out loud every time I watch it — or maybe it’s simply because I can relate to Oliver Wendall Douglas, a relatively sane man in an over-the-top zany world… I mean, didn’t you ever have one of those days, when you just had to stop, shake your head and say, “Is it me????” Am I nuts??? “What the what???” Hehe, my guess is, yes…
For those of you unfamiliar with the show, let me just give you the ‘101’ version… Oliver Wendall Douglas, a successful New York lawyer decides to fulfill his life-long dream of becoming an American farmer (yes, you can even hear the fifes playing as he talks about it!). He drags his glamorous, Hungarian-born, and (not incidentally) city-loving wife Lisa from their beautiful upscale apartment in Manhattan to live on a rural farm, in a run-down old farm house (understatement), in the little town of Hooterville. Sound like a typical storyline for a sitcom? Well, not so fast. What really makes this comedy tick is the absurd, and I mean ABSURD, world of Hooterville — where EVERYONE is (how can I say this nicely) kind-of-nuts. And, unfortunately for Oliver — within the bizarre, almost surrealistic, world of Hooterville — he’s the one who is considered kind-of-nuts by the locals. To add to the fun, his wife Lisa, happens to fit right in with the locals, perfectly in-tune with their crazy brand of logic.
Now, for my ‘favorite’ episode, that’s really hard to pick, but here’s one of them…
Episode: “Love Comes to Arnold Ziffel”
Season Three, Episode Two (Sept 20, 1967)
Synopsis: Fred Ziffel (Arnold’s ‘dad’) objects to Arnold’s love affair with Cynthia, who is ‘kin’ to the shifty Mr. Haney. Of course this leads to quite a bit of gossip among the locals. Realizing that their relationship can never work, Arnold breaks off their relationship. When Cynthia performs miserably at the county field trials, Haney wants to sue. Oh, by the way, did I mention that Arnold is a pig and Cynthia is a basset hound?!?!?!
DISCLAIMER: no other agenda here other than to laugh at the lunacy… and it is lunacy…
That said, here are some of my favorite quotes and scenes from the episode:
The poor love sick Cynthia howls in front of Arnold’s house…
Fred: Ziffel: Cynthia Haney, you go on home, Arnold ain’t a-comin’ out!
Fred: No pig of mine is gonna run around with any kin of Haney’s!
Fred: Arnold, do like I told you, go on to your room!”
Fred: Mr. Douglas, you mean to tell me you can’t get an injunction against this basket hound?… I thought you was a lawyer. (yes, basket hound!)
Oliver: I AM a lawyer, and I tell you, you can’t get an injunction against a Basket Hound… uhh basset, basset!
Mrs. Ziffel: It’s your fault Fred, you know how he feels about her!
Lisa: Mrs. Ziffel, it isn’t good to fight in front of a child!
Oliver: He’s not a child. He’s a pig!!!
Oliver: Why don’t you go over and see Mr. Haney and ask him to keep his dog away?
Mr. Ziffel: Oh no, I don’t talk to him
Mrs. Ziffell: No, they’ve been feuding for ten years.
Oliver: What about?
Mr. Ziffel: Oh I forget, but it must have been something pretty terrible to make me remember it this long.
Oliver tries to help but…
Fred: Mr. Douglas, I’m going out of mind, ain’t there anything legal that can be done about this hound?
Oliver: You could call a dog catcher.
Lisa: You don’t know anything about love do you?… If Mr. Ziffel would call a dog catcher, Arnold would never forgive him. He’d probably run away and marry Cynthia just out of spite.
Oliver: Look, we are talking about a dog and a pig, aren’t we?!?!?
Lisa: If you’re in love, what difference does it make who you are!
Fred: Mr. Douglas, if we’d a wanted to listen to a fight, we would have stayed at home.
Mr. Haney: Mr. Douglas, I want you to meet Cynthia.
Oliver: Oh, so that’s Cynthia. Well congratulations. When’s the wedding?
Mr. Haney: Oh you’ve heard about her and Grover.
Oliver: Yeah, her fiancee. He’s a well-to-do basset hound over in Crabwell Corners…
Mr. Drucker: I’m sorry I shushed you Mr. Douglas, but Haney don’t know about Cynthia and Arnold.
Mr. Drucker: How do you tell a man his dog is running around with a pig… Sure ain’t easy raising kids theses days…
Mr. Kimble, the County Agent, is not so sympathetic…
Mr. Kimble: Have you heard the way Cynthia’s been carrying on? A dog can’t expect to win a field trial if she’s going break training. Running around all night howling at a pig!
Mr. Kimble (about his dog who is also entering the field trial): You take Quincy — in bed every night at 9 o’clock, no girls, no drinking, all business…
Lisa: Mr. Ziffel asked me if he could keep Arnold here for a couple of days… So when Cynthia comes around the Ziffel house howling and Arnold isn’t there, and she doesn’t know where he is, she’ll forget about him. At the same time, if Arnold is here and he doesn’t hear Cynthia howling, he’ll forget about her.
But, alas, you cannot hinder love, try you may… Cynthia finds him… and she howls at the Douglas’ front door!
Oliver (to Cynthia): Go away!
Lisa: I don’t think she will. It’s just like that play, Romeo and Julius. (yes, Julius)
Oliver: Far be it from me to keep Romeo away from Julius!!!
Now, for my favorite part, the ‘heart-wrenching’ scene between Arnold and Cynthia at sunrise on the porch of the Haney House… not-so-incidentally set against a ‘country-fied’ version of the love theme to Romeo and Juliet!
Get out your hankies… 🙂
Okay, when you’ve composed yourself, put your hankies away, and let’s move on to the field trials…
Mr. Hanley: There ain’t no sense in crying Cynthia. The only thing to do is get you a good lawyer… but temporarily we’ll have to settle for Mr. Douglas.
Oliver: How did the field trials go.
Mr. Haney: Cynthia come in dead last.
Oliver: Oh, I’m sorry.
Mr. Haney: Not half as sorry as Arnold Ziffel’s gonna be. I want you to sue him for one million dollars
Oliver: But, that’s impossible, you can’t sue a pig.
Mr. Haney: I could have been spared all that humiliating if Fred had a just kept Arnold in the house. Maybe I oughtta sue Fred for one million dollars!
Mr. Haney: You let Arnold out to play Romeo and Julius with my Cynthia! Now I know who to sue, and it ain’t Fred Ziffel.
Well, I’m not going to tell you how everything ends, except for including some commentary from our love-lorn couple:
And here’s the good news, if you’re so inclined… You can watch the entire episode — OR any episode of Green Acres — for free at Hulu!
A Big Thank You to Terry Towles Canote at A Shroud of Thoughts (@mercurie80) for hosting this very special event! There are so many more wonderful Classic Bloggers participating in this event so please be sure to check out the other entries.
—Annmarie Gatti for Classic Movie Hub