The last two episodes of Green Acres aren't really episodes of Green Acres
They were both pilots for spinoff shows that never got picked up.
Although the occasional spinoff TV show still happens today, they are much less common than they were half a century ago. Creating a show that had at least some connections to a series already on the air was seen as a good way to ensure success. And for many programs, especially sitcoms, it was!
The first installment, or "pilot" episode, of a spinoff was typically aired as a regular episode of the existing show. That way, unsuspecting viewers could be introduced to new characters and stories that they might not necessarily have watched on their own. This somewhat sneaky episode is often referred to as a "backdoor pilot."
The beginning of Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. is actually an episode of The Andy Griffith Show, indeed called "Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C." In fact, Andy, Opie and Mayberry were first introduced to audiences in an episode of The Danny Thomas Show before Griffith got his own sitcom.
Producer Paul Henning's Petticoat Junction and Green Acres are more examples of spinoffs that became popular shows in their own rights. Both are connected to The Beverly Hillbillies. Because of these prior successes, it's easy to see why Henning would try his luck again in the early 1970s.
Henning tapped Green Acres creator Jay Sommers to come up with two more shows that could potentially be spawned from the Eddie Albert/Eva Gabor sitcom.
The two ideas were produced for the sixth season and aired as the final two episodes. Though the cast and crew didn't know it at the time, the show was about to be canceled, so these two unrelated escapades would actually be the final stories for Lisa and Oliver Douglas.
The two backdoor pilots are very different but both feature young main characters and have relatively urban settings.
The thinking at the time was that Americans were tired of rural shows and wanted something geared more toward a younger audience. This culminated in the "Rural Purge," the cancelation of many country-themed shows, including Green Acres.
The episode "Hawaiian Honeymoon" follows Lisa and Oliver as they travel to Hawaii for a fifth honeymoon. While Albert and Gabor are in some scenes, it's clear that the focus of the episode is the owner of the Hawaiian hotel, Bob Carter, and his daughter, Pamela. A working title for the pilot — had it been picked up — was Pam, after the daughter character played by Pamela Franklin.
Born in Japan and schooled in England, Franklin starred in movies like Flipper's New Adventure and The Nanny as a child and was looking to break into American TV. Her accent in "Hawaiian Honeymoon" was briefly explained by the fact that her character used to live with an aunt in the U.K.
Her father was played by Don Porter, who had previously portrayed Sally Field's father in Gidget. One other notable casting choice for this episode? Pat Morita, years before Happy Days and more than a decade before The Karate Kid, played a waiter at the hotel. His banter with Bob and Pamela during the episode makes it clear he would have been a regular part of the new show had it been picked up.
The second backdoor pilot from the end of Green Acres, and the final episode of the series, was for a show that was using working titles like Carol and The Blonde. It was about secretary Carol Rush, played by Elaine Joyce, and her overbearing boss, Mr. Oglethorpe. Carol used to be Oliver's secretary in New York, which is how the plot gets started. Oliver sends her a letter asking about jeweler in Manhattan he forgot the name of. The letter drops through Carol’s mail slot in Los Angeles and so begins a story completely unrelated to Hooterville.
Lisa and Oliver are in even less of this episode than they were in "Hawaiian Honeymoon," appearing only in the beginning and a short scene in the middle where Oliver calls Carol.
Most of the episode concerns Carol and her job at Oglethorpe Realty. She arrives late, puts her lunch in the filing cabinet and rents the office next door to a young lawyer for far less than the asking price. Richard Deacon plays her flustered boss — a part similar to his role as Mel Cooley on The Dick Van Dyke Show.
Though these two pilots never amounted to anything, they will forever live on as one-time stories that hint at what could have been thanks to their connection to Green Acres.