I get a lot of e-mails from people asking me about television shows, made-for-TV movies or miniseries they remember from years or decades past. I try to answer each question as best I can. Every now and then I like to dig through my inbox and pull out a few choice e-mails to answer here at Television Obscurities for everyone to read. Keep reading for today’s questions and answers.
Maybe you can answer something for me, about an episode I saw of “Green Acres” on TV LAND once.
The episode didn’t have anything to do with “Green Acres” at all. Instead, it was about a woman living in New York, and working as a secretary for a real estate firm, and her boss was played by Richard Deacon. She lived in an apartment with her sister (who was played by the woman who played Mrs. Bellows on “I Dream of Jeannie”) and brother-in-law. The “Green Acres” connection was that she was Oliver’s former secretary when the Douglases lived in New York.
Was this the pilot for a series that was never picked up? If so, can you give me info about it?
It appears, based solely on information from TV.com (here and here) as well as the Internet Movie Database, that the final two episodes of Green Acres were indeed backdoor pilots for proposed spin-offs. The first, “Hawaiian Honeymoon” (originally broadcast March 16th, 1971) saw Oliver and Lisa Douglas heading to Hawaii for a fifth honeymoon. Trouble arises when another couple are accidentally also booked in the honeymoon suite. Visitors to the hotel, operated by a man and his college-age daughter, would have provided the humor in the suggested spin-off.
The final episode of Green Acres provided the second attempt. “The Ex-Secretary” (originally broadcast April 28th, 1971) is described above by K11j527. It starred Elaine Joyce as Carol Rush, former secretary to Oliver Douglas (Eddie Albert’s character), as she tries to keep her boss (played by Richard Deacon) from getting taken in by a con man. Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor had only limited scenes in the episode. Unfortunately, I can’t find any contemporary sources that indicate either of these episodes were backdoor pilots. However, it does seem plausible.
Given the amount of time needed to plot an episode, write a script, film it and finish post-production, the fact that two episodes of the final season of Green Acres were actually backdoor pilots suggests that the producers were aware that the show was going to be cancelled at the end of the 1970-1971 season. Perhaps they saw the tide turning against so-called rural sitcoms.
If anyone can shed light on these two episodes and confirm that they actually were backdoor pilots, please post in the comments.