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!

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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!

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1. Namecakes


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?


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Sweetles 1 month ago
The lifering for the boat says S.S. Titantic, not Titanic, on it.
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JoeGuenther 18 months ago
On one episode a bean stalk appears in the Douglas back yard. A can of corn falls from the sky and a giant shouts Ho,Ho,Ho. Probably the earliest product placement plug on tv. Loved the one where Lisa's pancake was used to replace a filter or something. Such a bent show.
JohnGrant 18 months ago
All good but regarding credits, I liked when Fred Ziffel was knocking on the door and swung around quick to catch the names before they disappeared. To me, the funniest thing in the whole series was Oliver falling through the roof onto the living room floor...priceless.
Mark 18 months ago
One I liked was where the credits appeared over Lisa and Oliver as they were sleeping. She wakes him up and asks if he knows anyone named Jay Sommers or Dick 'Chevrolet'. She dreamed that their names were over them!
Mike 18 months ago
Just a little bit more:
Richard L. Bare lived to be 101 years old (1913-2015).
When he was a lad of 85, Bare published an autobiography, Confessions of a Hollywood Director, which you can find at Amazon if you'd care to look.
Checking his credits, you'll find that Richard Bare directed a whole bunch of shows that are in MeTV's inventory: he could have done one of your "All Over ME" ads, had you known about his connections.
Be on the lookout for his Twilight Zones, particularly "Third From The Sun", "To Serve Man", and "The Purple Testament", among others.
Also, you can see Bare's work on many of MeTV's Westerns from Warner Bros., where he was instrumental in kicking off that '50s trend.
And you can see many of the Joe McDoakes shorts in between the features on TCM; always worth watching.
Mike 18 months ago
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Cougar wallyandbagfan 18 months ago
Don't forget W.C. Fields!!
Cougar 18 months ago
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Cougar 18 months ago
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scp 18 months ago
Did Mr. Drucker or Mr. Ziffel once say that the only reason they liked Oliver's speeches was for the fife music?
bagandwallyfan52 18 months ago
I would like to see reruns of The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet
Starring Skip Young as Wally PLUMSTEAD and the return of
Happy Days with Neil J Schwartz as
BAG the first person to play the drums in Richie's band and a member of the prankster club called the Demons
MrsPhilHarris 18 months ago
I get a kick out of the casts’ responses to the credits.
wanderer2575 18 months ago
One episode had the opening credits appear on the outdoor shower curtain while Oliver was taking a shower. One episode had the credits appear at the end of the show, and Lisa said "You're late!" or something like that. One episode had the credits appear while they were in bed, but they quickly swept off the screen every time Lisa sat up, as though they were hiding from her.
cperrynaples wanderer2575 18 months ago
There wasn't a curtain, but I remember the director credit was on Oliver's robe! And yes Lisa saw THAT one!
RobertK 18 months ago
My favorite would be Mr. Haney! Every time he shows up, he's pitching another hilarious money making scam! All you have to do is think of needing something, and here comes his truck with some product or service!
JohnGrant RobertK 18 months ago
It was like Haney had a crystal ball of the Douglas's...he was always two steps ahead of them with his genuine antique junk on his truck.
LoveMETV22 18 months ago
Off Topic:

The " New Addition" is clearly displayed in the Splash screen that scrolls across the screen when one logs-in, prior to checking Stories or Quizzes. However some may not always see it.
LoveMETV22 LoveMETV22 18 months ago
Just Click Shows or the Schedule links to see the newest addition to the MeTV "Family",
oops that was a hint.
MrsPhilHarris LoveMETV22 18 months ago
Doesn’t All In The Family start early February?
LoveMETV22 MrsPhilHarris 18 months ago
Yes February 5th Sunday nights @ 8:00 ET
Are there any other TV shows
coming to METV that have never been seen on METV before in addition to All In The Family?
bagandwallyfan52 18 months ago
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harlow1313 18 months ago
The absurdity of this show has always appealed to me. I wish I lived in Hootersville, or at least Dog River...
LoveMETV22 harlow1313 18 months ago
Dog River AL? Hear the alligator population is growing in the state, some good viewing opportunities though.
harlow1313 LoveMETV22 18 months ago
No, it is a fictional town in Saskatchewan on the Canadian sitcom, "Corner Gas."
LoveMETV22 harlow1313 18 months ago
Oh. Well that's good of course in Alabama it's just a non-fictional tributary in Mobile AL.
I'm sure most wouldn't want to live in a river unless (their, they're there's that darn contraction again), aquatic in nature.
RobertK harlow1313 18 months ago
Corner Gas is a great show! I purchased the complete series and treat myself to watch an episode every week. The quirky cast of characters is similar to the casting style of Green Acres.
JeffPaul76 18 months ago
That's very interesting. I knew a lot of those, but not all. Thank you MeTV!
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