Green Acres fired the director halfway through the first episode

Luckily, there were no hard feelings.

Green Acres is, and forever will be, a bit of a curiosity. You can't really point at any one element that makes it such a great show. Taken on their own merit, each of the show's ingredients might leave viewers puzzled. However, the sum of those parts made one of the most uniquely palatable shows in television history. The show just works.

Obviously, none of those decisions are happenstance. In fact, the show was fine-tuned in every way imaginable and didn't even make it through production of the first episode before some necessary changes were made. 

Television director Ralph Levy was hired to helm the first six episodes of Green Acres. His work history included the launch of such iconic programs as I Love Lucy, The Burns and Allen Show, and The Beverly Hillbillies. He was specifically capable in his work at the beginning of each series, and so he was brought on board to assist in the development of Green Acres. However, Levy was fired midway through the production of the debut episode. Luckily, no grudges were harbored, and Levy was able to speak amicably about the experience in a 1965 issue of the Hollywood Reporter.

"I remember the only problem I had," said Levy, "was coming on the set the first week and taking exception with the sets. I asked a lot of them to be changed, which caused a lot of friction. And some things were changed — for the better. I didn't always agree with Jay, but I got along well with the cast."

Levy's thoroughness put too much pressure on the TV schedule, and before the first week was up, he'd failed to complete the first episode.

"I wanted the New York penthouse to be a little more on the elegant side because what they had was very bad-taste elegance," said Levy.

"I wanted to make the difference between the apartment they lived in and what they were about to face so immediately obvious that no explanation was necessary. I thought it would help to exaggerate a bit... showing what the lady had given up. That way, when some of the furniture got into their farmhouse, it would be so ridiculously out of place that it would stand out."

Are you sure you want to delete this comment?


gainesvillenole 4 months ago
It’s a perfect premise played by all brilliantly!
“The only sane man in an insane world….”
MeTvEr 4 months ago
It's still so crazy and funny. Check out the clip of Eb singing, in Lisa's voice, Darling I love you but give me Park Avenue.
Auxerre 4 months ago
"You can't really point at any one element that makes it such a great show."

I wholly disagree. It's its execution of a simple formula -- a series of sharply written set pieces, one silly comedian after another paired with straight man Oliver -- by a superb cast.

And that it turns the traditional "silly" sitcom formula on its head, from one funny man with a series of straight men (Maxwell Smart, Jethro Bodine) -- often echoed by a second (Larrabie, Granny/Jane).
MrsPhilHarris 4 months ago
I agree with the penthouse. I always thought it looked cheap.
Runeshaper 4 months ago
I'm glad there were no hard feelings, but I can appreciate Levy's ideas.
cperrynaples 4 months ago
Richard Bare took over and directed nearly every episode of Green Acres!
cperrynaples cperrynaples 4 months ago
PS Levy should have been told that the penthouse set didn't matter because after the pilot it would only be seen when Eva sang her part of the theme ["I just adore a penthouse view..."] !
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?