‘Green Acres’: A U.S. President Named a Pet Pig After Arnold

Classic TV shows are still widely enjoyed today for their timeless storylines and slapstick comedy. Early sitcoms usually featured relatable aspects that kept audiences tuning in. One of the most notable classic sitcoms was Green Acres.

While the storyline of a couple trading their busy city life for easy-going country living offered entertaining humor, the real star of the show was actually a pig named Arnold. Arnold was treated like a boy throughout the show, and he captured the hearts of fans, including a U.S. president who once named a pet pig after the famous TV animal. 

A miniature pig
A miniature pig | Hollie Latham/PhotoPlus Magazine/Future via Getty Images

The premise of ‘Green Acres’

With a catchy theme song, talented actors, and absurd plot lines, it is not surprising that Green Acres has a large fan base even almost 50 years after the last episode aired. Green Acres ran for six seasons on CBS, from 1965 to 1971. The American sitcom starred Eddie Albert as Oliver Wendell Douglas and Eva Gabor as Lisa Douglas.

The New York City couple moved to a country farm that Oliver bought sight unseen in Hooterville. Chasing his dream of becoming a farmer, the purchase seemed like an excellent move for the wealthy attorney and his wife. The nearby farmers in Hooterville were in disbelief about the news of the city folk moving to the country. Oliver and Lisa are depicted as fish out of water in their new rural home throughout the show.

‘Green Acres’ featured a pig named Arnold

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One of the reasons many people tuned in to Green Acres was partly because of Arnold. Arnold Ziffel was a pig that Fred and Doris Ziffel, Oliver and Lisa’s neighbors, treated as their son. The pig lived indoors, attended school, and enjoyed the highest pampering. Arnold understood English, and the community knew exactly what Arnold was saying when he grunted — except Oliver, of course. Arnold’s favorite pastime was watching TV. The pig was often seen visiting the Douglas home to watch their TV. 

Arnold won three Picture Animal Top Star of the Year awards and the Golden Globe for non-human performers. Throughout the show’s six seasons, many pigs portrayed the beloved character. Although the original Arnold was a male pig, in later seasons female piglets were used as the animal star of Green Acres. According to MeTV, the producers and trainer primarily used female pigs because they tend to grow slower and are smaller. That’s why Arnold always appeared cute and little in the sitcom’s episodes. 

Arnold inspired the name for a U.S. president’s pet

As the only president awarded an Emmy for his contributions to the television industry, Dwight D. Eisenhower had one show that he would stop flipping through his three channels to watch. Green Acres is noted as the former president’s favorite show, which he and his wife enjoyed during their retirement years.

So enthralled by the residents of Hooterville, the sitcom inspired the name of their valet’s pet pig. They called the pig “Arnold” and allowed it to walk around the house at its leisure. According to Mental Floss, the Eisenhowers even let the pet pig “lounge on slip-covered chairs that their grandkids weren’t allowed to sit on.”