Arnold Ziffel, the pig in the CBS television show Green
Acres, was played by a series of pigs, mostly female, but
the original pig was male and was named Arnold. Arnold was a
Chester White pig obtained from the Jim Clem Farm located in
Mooresville, Indiana. Arnold and the other pigs were
required to do many tricks and stunts that would show off
how intelligent they were.
Green Acres ran from 1965 to 1971 on CBS and was a sitcom
about a small rural community. Arnold Ziffel was the family
pet of Fred and Doris Ziffel, played by Hank Patterson and
Barbara Pepper and later Fran Ryan. The series was set in a
small town called Hooterville. Arnold was considered to be
the son that Barbara and Hank had never had and was treated
as such. Oliver Douglas, played by Eddie Albert, and his
wife Liza, played by Eva Gabor, were ostensibly the stars of
the show as two people that had moved into the old Haney
place from New York City, and Arnold often interacted with
them as well.
Frank Inn, who did most of the animal training for
television and movies in the 1960's, trained most of the
pigs for "Green Acres." Arnold could change the television
stations on the TV, drink using a straw, play cricket with a
bat, play the piano, deliver letters and newspapers and even
predict weather with his tail (or her tail). The character
Arnold Ziffel was also required to carry a lunch box to
school in his mouth. He was even drafted for the military at
one point in the series. Many people attribute the success
of the show to the character Arnold Ziffel.
Arnold Ziffel the pig was known to enjoy watching Walter
Cronkite on the CBS Evening News, speak 2 languages fluently
(English and French) and a touch of Japanese. Some people
joke that he also spoke Subtitle. He enjoyed sending away
for various mail-order products as well.
But not everyone could understand Arnold's grunts. Oliver,
who at first appeared to not like Arnold at all, grew to
like him even though he couldn't understand him. Oliver even
was Arnold's lawyer at one point in the series.
Arnold was treated very well by his parents on the
television show, and was considered to be a very lucky pig.
He won a trip to Hawaii in one episode of Green Acres and
won a best original costume award at the Pixley Movie
Theatre. The theatre manager stated that Arnold had the best
looking pig costume he had ever seen.
Arnold was never luck in love though. He fell in love with
Cynthia, Mr. Haney's prized Basset Hound. In one scene on
Green Acres, through a series of dog barks and pig grunts,
subtitles explained that they realized their love could
never be. Mr. Haney tried to sue Mr. Ziffel at one point
because he claimed that Cynthia had begun to grunt like a
pig and this ruined her for show.
In one story Arnold inherited millions as the sole
descendant and thus only heir of a pig who was a pork-
packing magnate's favorite pet. This was proven by Arnold's
amazing ability to predict the weather with his tail.
In a TV-Movie called "Return to Green Acres" in 1990 Arnold
was actually played by four different pigs trained to do
specific stunts. Brian McMillan trained the four pigs for
The character Arnold Ziffel's age was never discussed in the
series. But much like Peter Pan, this character never does
grow up. He seems stuck somewhere between third grade and
puberty. Because of this a new pig had to be trained
practically every year as the predecessor grew too large.
Because of this problem female pig actors were preferred due
to their slower growth rate.
Arnold Ziffel was very popular with the public and received
a lot of fan mail. He made appearances on "The Joey Bishop
Show" and "What's My Line?". He even toured 4-H clubs and
schools across America. He won the Patsy Award in 1968 and
1969, an annual honor given to animal actors by the American
The original Arnold died in 1972 and was cremated. His ashes
were collected in an urn that Frank Inn kept. When Inn died
in 2002 his last wishes were to be buried with Arnold's
ashes along with those of the dog Higgins that played in the
television show "Petticoat Junction" and was also "Benji" in
the 1974 film.
Every pig that starred in Green Acres was either retired to
the property of Frank Inn to live in his menagerie of
animals in Sylmar or to a local area farm to live out the
rest of their days until they died of natural causes.
An urban legend states that Arnold the Pig was barbequed and
eaten by the cast at the farewell party of the series Green
Acres. This rumor is unsubstantiated and surely false, as
Frank Inn was known to be sentimental about his animals.
Arnold Ziffel will always have a special place in television
history and very few people realized just how smart pigs are
until they saw them carry out a series of tricks for this
show. They are as smart if not smarter than dogs and make
excellent pets, especially the "Pot-Bellied pig," some of
which have even reportedly saved the lives of their owners.
Beautiful Plush Pigs & Animals