The Green Acres comedy had one of television’s most memorable theme songs.
There were also some fairly memorable characters in the TV show, such as the perfectly coiffed Lisa Douglas and Arnold the Pig.
Yet the show’s characters were not just pure fantasy. In reality, one of the ‘Green Acres’ characters was influenced by Elvis Presley, the real-life manager of the rock and roll legend, Colonel Tom Parker.
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From 1965 to 1971, ‘Green Acres’ aired and was part of the CBS program which also included ‘The Beverly Hillbillies’ and ‘Petticoat Junction.’
Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor played the lead roles of Oliver Wendell Douglas and Lisa Douglas.
As the couple adapted to country life and running a farm, the sitcom revolved around the Douglases’ relocation from New York City to Hooterville.
And Hooterville was packed with lively characters including Eustace Charleton Haney, who in the series was simply named “Mr. Haney”
Hollywood veteran Pat Buttram played Mr. Haney.
Mr. Haney was a salesman who often peddled a product or service that did not offer exactly what he had expected. Whether it was a tractor that fell apart or a washing machine that blew up, the con man always fell victim to Hooterville people. The character of Mr. Haney played an important role in the series and he appeared in most episodes.
Mr. Haney was played by Pat Buttram, an actress. Like his co-stars Eva Gabor and Eddie Albert, when he appeared in Green Acres, Buttram already had a proven acting career.
Buttram had also once met Elvis Presley’s boss, Colonel Tom Parker, on a movie set, according to Mental Floss. Later, he used Parker as inspiration for the part of Mr. Haney when Buttram starred in Green Acres.
Colonel Tom Parker was a real-life impostor.
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The world remembered Colonel Tom Parker as a West Virginia-born music producer during Presley’s career.
But he wasn’t from West Virginia or even the U.S., and Tom Parker wasn’t even his name. The Smithsonian Magazine explains Colonel Tom Parker’s lively, complex life in detail. Parker seems to have pulled off the ultimate con – he fled his homeland and claimed a brand new identity.
Parker was originally born in the Netherlands to Andreas van Kuijk. To this day, it remains a mystery why van Kuijk unexpectedly left the Netherlands in 1929 and changed his name. Not only was Thomas Andrew Parker a fake name, but he did not exactly deserve the title ‘Colonel.’ Parker served in the U.S. Army briefly, but he was a private.
“Colonel”political services rendered”political services rendered.”Colonel.
Until the 1980s, after Presley’s death, the whole truth about Parker did not come to light. During Presley’s career, however, there was a sign that may have warned fans that something was wrong with Parker. Presley was popular all over the world, but he never performed outside the United States, apart from three concerts in Canada.
This is likely because Parker never became a resident of the United States and thus did not have a valid passport. Parker remained behind while Presley was giving those concerts in Canada.
In 1997, Parker died, but his impact lives on. Not only did he encourage Mr. Haney’s character in Green Acres, but he was also featured on Sun Records, the CMT television show.