‘Green Acres’: Arnold The Piggy Won Several ‘Patsy’ Awards for Best Animal Performance

by Joe Rutland

Oh boy, let’s talk about one of the oinkiest stars of “Green Acres.” Arnold Ziffel was a scene-stealing pig all throughout the show’s run.

No, you are not dreaming. Arnold Ziffel happened to be the pig owned by Fred and Doris Ziffel on the hit CBS show.

They had no children. Arnold was there for them. He always communicated by oinking his approval or disapproval. First, Fred understood him. Second, Doris understood him. Third, even Mr. Haney, played by Pat Buttram, understood him, too.

Who didn’t understand Arnold? Oliver Wendell Douglas, the city-slicker played by Eddie Albert. In other words, the New York City attorney never understood pig talk. Most importantly, those scenes between Albert and Arnold are some ripe entertainment for “Green Acres” fans.

Arnold Gives ‘Green Acres’ Coveted Recognition

How good a job did Arnold do? Well, he won a “PATSY” (Picture Animal Top Star of the Year) Award three times. Above all, it was given to the best performance by an animal.

He took home the coveted honor in 1968, 1969, and 1971. In 1967, Arnold finished third behind Judy the chimp for “Daktari” and Flipper the dolphin for “Flipper.” Stout competition, to be sure.

The “PATSY” Award is from 1939 and was created by the American Humane Association’s Hollywood office. In other words, it was a real award shelved in 1986 due to lack of funding.

Arnold happens to be trained by noted celebrity animal trainer Frank Inn, who has Higgins in his crew.

You remember Higgins, don’t you? No? OK, he was the “Dog” on “Petticoat Junction.” After that, millions of moviegoers around the world in the 1970s came to know him as “Benji.” Yes, that same pooch on the small screen made some big-screen bucks.

Mr. Haney Acts A Lot Like Elvis’ Manager

Speaking of Mr. Haney, did you know that Buttram based his character off of Elvis Presley’s manager? It’s true.

Buttram, whose “Green Acres” character is pretty much a con man looking for a quick deal, uses Parker as a model for Mr. Haney.

Additionally, Buttram and Parker knew one another from working in the circus industry. Parker obviously pretty much ripped a lot of money away from Presley as his manager.

He took half of everything Presley earned. That was at a time where most entertainment managers took 15 percent or 20 percent from their stars’ earnings. In other words, “The Colonel” would never admit that what he was doing was sneaky or unfair.

Moreover, his ways made him one of the entertainment world’s richest men. Obviously, it did not earn Parker a lot of respect. He did outlive Presley by 20 years, dying in 1997 after suffering a heart attack.