9 of the best fourth wall breaks from Green Acres
Fourth wall breaks were a staple on Green Acres. Tell us in the comments which one is your favorite!
Green Acres wasn't afraid to get creative with their production methods. The rural comedy featuring Eva Gabor and Eddie Albert often used non-conventional TV practices in the show. For example, making direct gestures to on-screen credits is a technique you'll see multiple times in this list.
In TV, the fourth wall is an imaginary divide between the actors, show and stories and the audience watching from home. In Green Acres, that wall gets shattered often, making for classic scenes, which add to the already silly, funny and timeless series.
Take a look at just some of the best fourth wall breaks from Green Acres!
Not to be confused with Lisa's regular hotcakes, namecakes have a little bit more to them. Most of Green Acres' fourth wall breaks are centered around the executive producer, Paul Henning, writers Jay Sommers and Dick Chevillat and director Richard L. Bare. A running joke in the entire series is Lisa's inability to cook. In one episode, these jokes meet and create one of the more popular fourth wall breaks. While making her famous hotscakes (the dish that can also be used as shingles for a roof), a spatula flip reveals the show's credits. When Oliver strolls into the picture, with no names on the food, Lisa says, "Well, the names just stay on long enough for their mothers to see them."
2. Eb humming and singing the Green Acres theme song
"Green Acres is the place to be!" That may be true for Oliver, when Eddie Albert sings the Green Acres theme song, but that's not the case for Eva Gabor's character, Lisa. One of her iconic lines is "Darling, I love you but give me Park Avenue." As Eb strolls into the barn humming the theme song, he mouths that line while the voice of Gabor plays over the video, making it seem like he's the one singing! Though quick, this one is a little unexpected, making it that much more memorable!
3. Acknowledging the use of subtitles
When Lisa is dealing with someone who speaks a foreign language, subtitles appear on the screen reading "A pararchutist just jumped out of an airplane." The next shot shows Lisa, who saves the graphics folks some work by saying, "Why don't you talk English, then we don't have to use subtitles." The man responds, "The way you talk English, we still might."
4. Green Acres knows where you're going with that!
The fourth wall breaks in Green Acres are sometimes directed right at the viewers, rather than having the actors explain them. For example, a flashback scene shows Lisa and Oliver on a boat, the location where they first met. When they walk out of frame together, the camera pans to a life preserver that says, "S.S. TITANIC." For a couple seconds, that's all viewers can see, before the camera pans down to reveal the words, "NOT THE ONE YOU THINK." No seperation between show and audience there!
5. The "schwimming" screen
Lisa tells Oliver an old movie trick is a "schwimming" screen, to acknowledge someone is having a dream. Right on queue, the screen "schwims" with a perfectly-timed sound effect to really drive home the point. Oliver knocks himself on the head a couple times to try and shake off the "schwim," but Lisa responds with, "And that shows that you're dreaming."
6. Who is playing the fife?
Oliver Wendell Douglas loves being a farmer, the "backbone" of the American economy. He delivers plenty of speeches (keep reading for a chance to see some of his best!) throughout the show to whoever happens to be listening. His speeches impactful, and he beams with so much pride, that a little fife plays patriotic music, but nobody knows where it comes from. During a speech he gives in front of Lisa, she addresses the patriotic elephant in the room and interrupts her husband by asking "Oliver, who is playing the fife?"
7. Enough of the fife!
Oliver's speeches tend to get interrupted frequently. Poor guy just wants to take pride in his farming! However, when he declares he can run a phone company at the end of one of his speeches, Lisa listens until the very end. Once the speech is over, they kiss and go to bed, but the fife is still playing a patriotic tune. That is, until Lisa comes back out of the bedroom, looks right into the camera and says, "You don't have to play the fife anymore, he's through with the speech. Thank you, and have a nice weekend." So polite!
8. Credits appear on Mr. Haney's truck
Mr. Haney is known for his instantaneous scams — uh, we mean business — ideas. He frequently has advertising for several of those "businesses" lined up on the side of his truck, ready to be pulled down whenever an opportunity presents itself. On one occasion, he pulls down a sign that reads "directed by Richard L. Bare." Haney looks around and says, "Who's he?"
9. Credits disrupt conversation
The Green Acres cast acknowledges the credits on the screen frequently, this we know. Usually it's in a creative, silly or banter-style method. Sometimes, the characters blatantly call them out. This is the case when Hank, Sam Drucker and Mr. Ziffel are having a conversation. After the name of executive producer Paul Henning appears on the screen in this scene, Mr. Ziffel says, "Hold it, ain't nobody going to pay no attention to what's going on as long as they got those names up there."
SEE MORE: 7 speeches that prove Oliver Wendell Douglas was meant to be a farmer
Which great American farmer speech from Oliver Wendell Douglas is your favorite?