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This show proved you should never underestimate cornball. Sure, a lot of hicks watched the show (I come from a long line of ridge-runners myself), but they alone didn't keep "Hee-Haw" on the air for all those years. Many people with otherwise sophisticated tastes have low-brow senses of humor. This is why people are still watching "The Three Stooges" and "Benny Hill" after all these years. "Hee-Haw" was ALL cornball, slapstick, T-and-A and great country music, and people ate it up. Much of the show's appeal also came from its fair amount of satire (remember Charlie's radio show on KORN?) and the cast members' unerring ability to laugh at themselves, though viewers never got the impression that anyone felt demeaned by it all. Which is a hell of a lot more than you can say for TV these days.
When Hee Haw first came on the air, it was about the same time that All In The Family came on the air. These were two different shows with different messages. However, they both were incredibly popular despite the fact that the critics didn't like them at first. Who would have ever believed that Hee Haw would have had a longer run then Gunsmoke and still be beloved after so many years? It was a good clean family oriented show that you could let your kids watch without embarassment. Yes, I agree that it was hokey and corny but what of it if it made you laugh and feel good? It showcased some of the most amazing performers of the country and western music world. Sam Louvello the producer said that it was like the tv version of Nashville's legendary Grand Old Opry. You saw all the giants on this show like Buck Owens, Roy Clark, Lulu Roman, Grandpa Jones and Little Jimmy Dickens. Hee Haw was more then just a tv show, it was a cultural phenomenon and an icon. We all remember Grandpa Jones "Hey Grandpa whats for supper?" He always made my mouth water with those recipes he described and we all remember Junior Samples at BR5149. We need more family oriented programming like this for our kids today. They need to have positive reinforcement from this other trash that is poured into their minds. Roy Clark talked in his autobiography about how the cast and crew of Hee Haw were like a family. He talked of how they could not wait to get back to see each other and see how much weight each other had gained and to learn all the baby's names. They had a ball working together and it comes thru on every episode. Thank God for Hee Haw and I wish they would put it back into syndication so a whole new generation could be introduced to this American classic.
First, I haven't seen any Hee Haw in years but I remember watching it every Saturday morning whether in color or black and white as a child in New Jersey. Not exactly, Hee Haw country is it. Well, I liked the show and watched it whenever it was on. Of course, the writing wasn't great but I loved watching Minnie Pearl and gained my first taste of country music. This was all before modern country music which sounds more like pop music of the 1980s. Anyway, Hee Haw appeared to have a family type show where the jokes were silly and stupid but there was always room for one more. The cast was always large and I even miss their stupid humor to this day. I remember Lulu and some of the stupid skits that even SNL would toss out. In real life, the cast and crew were like family and the show was like a reunion for all of them. Sadly, the show's cancellation was an end of an era in television history.
APPEARING as a guest on the TONIGHT SHOW about 30 or so years ago was
then Critic of TV GUIDE, the late Cleveland Emory. Sitting in as
substitute was guest host and former (and original) Emcee, Steve Allen.
Other than the expected business of asking the very outspoken Mr. Amory
about his likes and dislikes of the current video medium offerings, the
discussion turned toward creativity. Without hesitation, Cleveland
Amory named his three top creative men in television; one being the
multi-faceted talent of Steve, with the second being Dave Garroway. The
trio was rounded out by the fast living, cigar chomping former Disc
Jockey and manic comedy producer, Mr. Ernie Kovacs.
ASSEMBLING one's honor roll consisting of these three should come as no surprise; as they surely rose above the crowd in those early TV days, having few near competitors to enumerate. (Although, excuse me, 'Cleve'; but I would add Soupy Sales to the roster. Honest, Schultz!) All had some peculiarity of their own; placing their own inimitable brands on the volumes of works left behind. Each has also left his own indelible print on their own genres and hence has been inspiration and true role models to those who followed.
MR. GARROWAY brought sincerity and a natural, one to one conversational style to his Emcee & Starring positions on GARROWAY AT LARGE as well as his long run as the first host of NBC's TODAY SHOW. Steve Allen's energy and off-the-wall, usually non-sequitor comic style has been an obvious inspiration to many an upstart funny man; with David Letterman's great following and longevity coming immediately to mind.
THE third member of this artistic triumvirate, Ernie Kovacs, with the shortest life of all and the often most outlandish and truly "deep", meaningful routines, perhaps had the most long-lasting affect on posterity.
SIMPLY stated as the reason we go through this rather intricate opening simply because of Mr. Ernie Kovacs. He was the first one to make use of video tape (circa 1958) in much the same way that Mack Sennett, Hal Roach and other silent film producers used film. Any examination of Kovacs' the sketches in his specials or the 'clues' in his Comedy-Game Show, TAKE A GOOD LOOK, will render this point very obvious.
LONG about 1968, following closely on the success of THE SMOTHERS BROTHERS COMEDY HOUR (CBS), NBC brought us ROWAN & MARTIN'S LAUGH-IN; which combined a lot of contemporary music, quick one liners, non-sequitor sketches with the OP-Art/Pop-Art sets, Carnaby Street Fashion and full-blooded, Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass-type music.
EARLY on, both Dan Rowan & (the lovely) Dick Martin admitted their debt to Ernie and even reprised the famous sight-gag sketch that combines the girl taking the bubble bath with the old multitude of Circus Clown emerging from the little car gag.
IMITATION being the sincerest form of flattery, an old adage which holds up even more so in Hollywood and in Show Business generally, the idea came along to writer Frank Peppiatt to do a sort of LAUGH-IN knock off; albeit one with a decidedly rural, Southern, "Good-Old-Boy " setting, Veteran performers from the Country & Western Circuits would be culled and pressed into service to amuse and entertain a TV audience composed of many a new found fan; to whom the "Hillbilly Music" and Kountry Korn humor was new.
USING the name recognition and talents of the great C & W Singer, Buck Owens as Master of Ceremonies, HEE HAW stocked its Orchestra with local, "home grown" veteran Nashville Musicians from Grand Ole Opry service. Added to this we had generous servings of Country Humor; as provided by many a master Country stage comedian.
HEE-HAW's role of honor read like a Who's Who of Nashville, and all long before we heard of any CMA (That's Country Music Association and its CMA Awards. Got it, Schultz?) Either as regular cast members or as guest Stars, the Show boasted of names like: Emcee Buck Owens, Junior Samples, Minnie Pearl, Loretta Lynn, Roy Clark, David 'Stringbean'Akeman, Jeannie C. Riley, Tammy Wynette, Grandpa Jones, Dennis Weaver, Roy Acuff, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Larry Gatlin, Barbara Mandrell, Reba McIntire, George Jones, Charley Pride, George "Goober" Lindsey, Waylon Jennings, Roy Rogers & Dale Evans, Johnny Cash, Conway Twitty, Merle Haggard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Sheb Wooley, Dolly Parton, Patti Page, the Sons of the Pioneers, the Oak Ridge Boys, etc., etc. Well, you get the picture.
FREE WHEELING fun was the order of the day for a typical HEE HAW. There was great music served up by the Original Artists. Always there was a plentiful supply of quick, rapid fire, one liners. And, although there was a lot of innuendo and sexual titillation involved with a lot of well endowed ladies decked out in wardrobe like Lil Abner's girlfriend, Daisy May, they always managed to balance things out in the end.
YOU see, they would always have a Gospel Song or an American Standard Spiritual included; being presented in a most serious and solemn a moment, a real departure from the rest of the proceedings. This was their way of providing content containing the "Sociably redeeming content".
WELL, overalls, hay bales, corn fields and barnyards not withstanding; they sure must have been doing something right! After all, this weekly dose of hour-long Kountry Korn far out-lasted most any and all series on TV; being on the tube, network and in syndication, from 1969-93! POODLE SCHNITZ!!
i remember watching this show with my grandparents. I remember laughing at the comedy and enjoyed the music i would really like to see it in reruns!
This show lasted nearly a quarter century, but even that hardly seems
enough. I'm not that big a fan of the stuff that currently passes for
country music, but I love the older stuff. Many of country music's biggest
legends guest starred on this show, and several others were regulars at one
point or another. This was the last of the successful variety shows on tv
and by far the most successful country music show on television. It's
doubtful that we'll ever see anything like it again. It's a shame that this
show is currently off the air- I don't think you can even catch reruns
nowadays. Hopefully, Hee Haw (or at least the early seasons) will eventually
become available on DVD. I certainly hope so.
This show was awesome, a lot of things try to be serious comedy or even worse try to be serious and end up being corny. But Hee Haw was a show that not only was it corny, it tired to be corny and it realised in the fact about getting as Corny as you could get. Also, it's seemingly G-rated persona was filled with sexual inuendo. Check out the Hee Haw Honies sweaten it out over the laundry and you'll see what I mean. Not even to mention the Country Music of the day, just where was Conway Twitty, rub in it in, rub it in. This show is a total classic hoot, check it out.
This was the most corniest of all the variety shows of its day and it still
holds that title. First off,the series premiered on CBS-TV in the fall of
1969,became the onslaught of the network's all out crusade of eliminating
its rural programming in 1971(and this show caught the full frontal blow of
cancellation),and then all of a sudden the show was saved from certain
ruins,and found a new home---in syndication where it remained for an
astounding 22 years before called it quits for good in the spring of 1993.
The reruns of this series was showed recently on the TNN(The Nashville
Network)before the logo changed two years after it was
But was makes "Hee Haw" a classic in the history of television? Well,first off, I remember this show being on every Saturday night at 7:00 since during that time you had a choice between either this show or a combination of other shows in that same time slot back in the day; 1.) You had Lawrence Welk for the older crowd and those folks who were on Geritol; 2.) Dionne Warwick or Marilyn McCoo for Solid Gold; 3.)Charles Nelson Reilly or Danny Terrio for Dance Fever; 4.)Ed McMahon on Star Search.
Secondly,this show had some country humor,and I do mean country humor that was so corny you can tell that is was just that--straight up the chaser hillbilly dialogue of Southern culture. Also,it's cast was corny too including hosts Buck Owens and Roy Clark and regulars Archie Campbell,George Lindsey(could you believe the producers cast him as Goober here),Minnie Pearl,Grandpa Jones,and that dingy blonde girl who comes up at the end of the segments(She reminds of Chrissy Snow on the farm)and not to mention the Hee Haw Honeys(which was a spin off of this series which sucked badly after 7 episodes in which one of the stars was a unknown Kathie Lee Gifford?). Third,some of it was funny,and some of it was horribly awful,and you can tell that whoever wrote the scripts were straight up hillbillies who had no clue to what a variety show goes through.
The music I say was very good and it set the standard to what country music supposed to be including some that made regular appearances on the show including Conway Twitty,George Jones,Waylon Jennings,Merle Haggard,Dolly Parton,Eddie Rabbitt,Tanya Tucker,Loretta Lynn,and so much more. It was also not only to include country artists,buy also the first country series to featured acts done by other minorities like The Pointer Sisters,and sometimes others like Charlie Pride,and Neal McCoy(the first Native American to perform on the show),not to mention musical works by Buck Owens and the Buckaroos,Roy Clark,and Grandpa Jones. You have some very well known guest stars that appear on the show as well including one Christmas episode where Gunsmoke's Amanda Blake lends her voice to some Christmas tunes as well as Beverly Hillbillies' own Donna Douglas and Gomer Pyle's Jim Nabors. In all a great variety series that had country music at its very best.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I love the Hee-Haw program and I own 11 of the DVD's that were issued
by Time-Life back in the early 2000's. I think 2004-2006, somewhere in
that time frame. Anyway...I was practically raised on this show. Yes, I
know now that the show was not necessarily aimed at my age bracket...I
was born in 1976 and so I was not even a teenager when I first saw this
show...but I liked the show nonetheless. Every Saturday the show would
air and it would also air repeats at various times on Sunday afternoon.
I'd catch the shows whenever I could. For a period of years I'd watch
it with my grandparent's on Saturday evenings when I'd spend the
weekend with them. I currently watch Hee-Haw on the RFD-TV channel...it
airs every Sunday night at 8pm Eastern time and the episode repeats
Monday mornings at 10am Eastern. Those who have digital or satellite
cable should check your line-up's to see if you get the channel...if so
you'll be able to watch Hee-Haw each week again. Currently they're
airing 1972 episodes.
Hee-Haw, as it's been commented on, was inspired by Laugh-In. The humor on Hee-Haw was purposely corny. The quick edit style of jumping from one scene to the next in rapid-fire succession, according to the show's producer, was one of the elements of the show that gave it appeal. Before one could groan at a bad joke something else was up on the screen. When I see commentary that insults the show's writers I often take up for them. The jokes were purposely bad and corny...but some jokes and one-liners were actually hilarious...depending on who delivered them. Don Harron's KORN radio character, Charlie Farqhueson, was laugh out loud funny. His mangled English, alliteration, and puns were clever...and if one carefully listens to a lot of his routines you're bound to hear some more R-rated jokes slip in. Sometimes the crew off-stage could be heard howling with laughter...but Harron always managed to stay in character and not break-up.
I could go on and on about the beloved sketches and cast-members of this program but so could any number of other Hee-Haw fans.
The show aired on CBS-TV from 1969 through 1971. It became a syndicated program...airing in the same time-slot on local CBS affiliates...starting in the fall of 1971. It would remain in syndication through the summer of 1992.
Vicki Lawrence saluted the program in May of 1994 on her short-lived daytime talk-show. The Nashville Network aired selected repeats of the show during the early and mid '90s. The show's producer, Sam Lovullo, issued a look-back on the show in the form of LIFE IN THE KORNFIELD, a book that was released in 1996. The show would later rerun on CMT but on very limited air-dates. CMT, in my opinion, insulted the show's audience and everyone involved with the program when they played around with their line-up and basically teased the Hee-Haw fans with infrequent airings of the program. Time-Life issued several DVD collections of the program which went on to become top-sellers on-line.
RFD-TV is currently airing repeats of the program on Sunday nights and they've promised to air the show in chronological order. So far they're up to January 1972.
There were typically 26 episodes of Hee-Haw produced per season...26 first-run episodes and the 26 repeats make up a 52 week calendar year.
I NEVER liked country music.
But I COULDN'T miss this show.
Laugh-in was the 60's hippie version and Sha Na Na was the 50's greaser version. Now we have you goober/redneck version of sketch comedy. And they looked like the were having a blast.
Lots of music of course and stereotypes everywhere. But you could always see the wink at the fans.
Buck Owens (RIP) and Roy Clark were great hosts. Roy was not only a great "picker" but a swell guy as well. You had to like him.
Every country-boy scenario got a run through the joke factory. Laughs a plenty.
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