EXCLUSIVE: Green Acres, the popular 1960s sitcom that starred Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor as displaced New Yorkers who try to make a go of it on a farm in the Midwest, is being made into a feature film and is being developed and shopped as a stage play for Broadway. Rights to the property were acquired by director Richard L. Bare, one of the most prolific helmers on the original series, and by producer Phillip Goldfine through his production company Hollywood Media Bridge. The filmmakers are looking to hire a writer/director for a feature adaptation. Goldfine won an Oscar this year for the documentary short, The Lady In No. 6.
Green Acres, with its memorable sing-a-long theme song (watch the opening credits below), was created and produced by Jay Sommers from the 1950s radio show. The sitcom ran on CBS 1965-71 and was known for its snappy one-liners and a bevy of beloved supporting characters from the town of Hooterville. Among them: Sam Drucker, the smart aleck who owned the general store; Eb Dawson the innocent, bumbling farmhand; Hank Kimball, a not-so-bright county agent; and Mr. Haney, a sleazy salesman with an unsteady, cracking voice. Haney was the one who sold the rundown farm, sight unseen, to the unsuspecting Oliver Douglas (Albert) and his pampered, Manhattan socialite wife (Gabor). With the electricity always blowing and the only phone on top of a telephone pole, Oliver Douglas had his hands full negotiating the zaniness.
Other memorable characters include the Monroes, ill-suited carpenters who either screw up or never complete any construction at the Douglas house, and the Douglas’ elderly neighbors Fred and Doris Ziffel and their “son” Arnold, a pig. Arnold watches TV and understands English, so the Ziffels and others relentlessly chastise Oliver for neither treating it as human nor understanding the pig’s “English” (snorts). Arnold supposedly was a Rhodes scholar who loved to read books.
The series revolved around the Douglases: level-headed Oliver, the straight man just trying to fulfill his dream of owning a farm, and Lisa, his reluctant, foreign-born Park Avenue wife, who tries to make the best of things as she murders the English language, prompting Oliver’s constant irritation and corrections.
The project is the latest in 1960s TV-to-feature properties, joining Gilligan’s Island, Star Trek, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., The Fugitive, Get Smart, Bewitched, Lost in Space, Flipper, The Beverly Hillbillies, My Favorite Martian and The Flintstones. And, of course, Batman — which was based on the DC Comic book series but had a short-lived yet memorable run as a TV series and was made into a campy film in 1966.