is an American television
Television is a telecommunication medium for transmitting and receiving moving images that can be monochrome or colored, with accompanying sound...
A variety show, also known as variety arts or variety entertainment, is an entertainment made up of a variety of acts, especially musical performances and sketch comedy, and normally introduced by a compère or host. Other types of acts include magic, animal and circus acts, acrobatics, juggling...
featuring country music
Country music is a popular American musical style that began in the rural Southern United States in the 1920s. It takes its roots from Western cowboy and folk music...
and humor with fictional rural Kornfield Kounty as a backdrop. It aired on CBS-TV from 1969–1971 before a 20-year run in local syndication
In broadcasting, syndication is the sale of the right to broadcast radio shows and television shows by multiple radio stations and television stations, without going through a broadcast network, though the process of syndication may conjure up structures like those of a network itself, by its very...
. The show was inspired by Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In
Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In is an American sketch comedy television program which ran for 140 episodes from January 22, 1968, to May 14, 1973. It was hosted by comedians Dan Rowan and Dick Martin and was broadcast over NBC...
, the major difference being that Hee Haw
was far less topical, and was centered on country music. Initially co-hosted by musicians Buck Owens and Roy Clark, the show was equally well known for its voluptuous, scantily-clad women in stereotypical farmer's daughter outfits, male stars Jim and Jon Hager
The Hager Twins, also known as the Hager Brothers and The Hagers, were a duo of American country music singers and comedians who first gained fame on the TV series Hee Haw...
and its cornpone humor.
Hee Haws appeal was not limited to a rural audience. It was successful in all of the major markets, including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. Other niche programs such as The Lawrence Welk Show
The Lawrence Welk Show is an American televised musical variety show hosted by big band leader Lawrence Welk. The series aired locally in Los Angeles for four years , then nationally for another 27 years via the ABC network and first-run syndication .In the years since first-run syndication...
(which targeted older audiences) and Soul Train
Soul Train is an American musical variety show that aired in syndication from October 1971 to March 2006. In its 35-year history, the show primarily featured performances by R&B, soul, and hip hop artists, although funk, jazz, disco, and gospel artists have also appeared.As a nod to Soul Trains...
(a black-oriented program) also rose to prominence in syndication during the era. Like
Laugh-In, the show minimized production costs by taping all of the recurring sketches
A sketch comedy consists of a series of short comedy scenes or vignettes, called "sketches," commonly between one and ten minutes long. Such sketches are performed by a group of comic actors or comedians, either on stage or through an audio and/or visual medium such as broadcasting...
for a season in batches— setting up for the Cornfield one day, the Joke Fence another, etc. At the height of its popularity, an entire year's worth of shows would be taped in two separate week-long sessions, then individual shows would be assembled from edited sections. Only musical performances were taped with a live audience; a laugh track
A laugh track is a separate soundtrack invented by Charles "Charley" Douglass, with the artificial sound of audience laughter, made to be inserted into television programming of comedy shows and sitcoms.The term "laugh track" does not apply to the genuine audience laughter on shows that shoot in...
was added to all other segments.
The series was taped at WLAC-TV (now WTVF
WTVF is the CBS-affiliated television station for Middle Tennessee that is licensed to Nashville. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on VHF channel 5 from a transmitter north of downtown along I-24. Owned by Landmark Media Enterprises, the station has studios on James Robertson Parkway...
) and Opryland USA
Opryland USA was an amusement park located in suburban Nashville, Tennessee. It operated seasonally from 1972 until 1997...
in Nashville. The show was produced by Yongestreet Productions through the mid-1980s; it was later produced by Gaylord Entertainment
The Gaylord Entertainment Company operates a number of hotel, resort, and media companies that were built by Edward Gaylord. It was previously a subsidiary of the Oklahoma City-based Oklahoma Publishing Company, which is owned by the Gaylord family and publishes the Daily Oklahoman newspaper...
, which distributed the show in syndication. The show's name was coined by show business talent manager and producer Bernie Brillstein and derives from a common English onomatopoeia
used to describe the braying sound that a donkey
The donkey or ass, Equus africanus asinus, is a domesticated member of the Equidae or horse family. The wild ancestor of the donkey is the African Wild Ass, E...
Creation and syndication
Much of Hee Haw's origin was Canadian. Two of the series' three creators, comedy writers Frank Peppiatt and John Aylesworth, were from Canada. Bernie Brillstein, the third, was from New York. From 1969 until the late 1980s,
Hee Haw was produced by Yongestreet Productions, named after Yonge Street
Yonge Street is a major arterial route connecting the shores of Lake Ontario in Toronto to Lake Simcoe, a gateway to the Upper Great Lakes. It was formerly listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the longest street in the world at , and the construction of Yonge Street is designated an "Event of...
, a major thoroughfare in Toronto
Toronto is the provincial capital of Ontario and the largest city in Canada. It is located in Southern Ontario on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. A relatively modern city, Toronto's history dates back to the late-18th century, when its land was first purchased by the British monarchy from...
Hee Haw started on CBS-TV as a summer 1969
The year 1969 in television involved some significant events. Below is a list of television-related events in 1969.For the American TV schedule, see: 1969-70 American network television schedule.-Events:...
replacement for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour is an American comedy and variety show hosted by the Smothers Brothers and initially airing on CBS from 1967 to 1969.-History:...
. Though the show had respectable ratings (it sat at #16 for the 1970-71 season), it was dropped in July 1971 by CBS as part of the so-called "Rural Purge
The "rural purge" of American television networks was a series of cancellations between 1969 and 1972, the majority of which occurred at the end of the 1970-71 television season, of still popular rural-themed shows and shows with demographically-skewed audiences...
" (along with fellow country-themed shows The Beverly Hillbillies
The Beverly Hillbillies is an American situation comedy originally broadcast for nine seasons on CBS from 1962 to 1971, starring Buddy Ebsen, Irene Ryan, Donna Douglas, and Max Baer, Jr....
, Mayberry R.F.D.
Mayberry R.F.D. is a spin-off and direct continuation of The Andy Griffith Show under a new title, for the same sponsor, General Foods...
and Green Acres
Green Acres is an American television series starring Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor as a couple who move from New York City to a country farm...
), owing to network executives' feeling that its viewers reflected the "wrong" demographics (e.g. rural, somewhat older, and less affluent).
Undaunted, the producers put together a syndication deal for the show, which continued in roughly the same format for 20 more years (though Owens departed in 1986
The year 1986 in television involved some significant events.Below is a list of television-related events in 1986.For the American network television schedule, please see 1986-87 American network television schedule.-Events:-Debuts:*September 6 –...
). After Owens left, Clark was assisted each week by a celebrity co-host.
During the show's peak in popularity, Hee Haw often competed in syndication against
The Lawrence Welk Show, a long-running ABC program which had also been canceled in 1971, also in an attempt to purge the networks of older demographic-leaning programs. Like
Lawrence Welk was picked up for syndication in the fall of 1971, and there were some markets where the same station aired both programs. (The success of
Hee Haw and
Lawrence Welk in syndication, and the network decisions that led to their respective cancellations, were the inspiration for a novelty song called "The Hee Haw-Lawrence Welk Counter-Revolution Polka," performed by Clark; the song became a top 10 hit on the
Billboard Hot Country Singles
Hot Country Songs is a chart published weekly by Billboard magazine in the United States.This 60-position chart lists the most popular country music songs, calculated weekly mostly by airplay and occasionally commercial sales...
chart in the fall of 1972.)
The show's ratings began to decline by the mid-1980s, a trend that continued into the early 1990s. In the fall of 1991, in an attempt to win back viewers and attract a younger audience, the show's format and setting underwent a dramatic overhaul. The changes included a new title (
The Hee Haw Show), more pop-oriented country music, and the barnyard-cornfield setting replaced by a city street and shopping mall
A shopping mall, shopping centre, shopping arcade, shopping precinct or simply mall is one or more buildings forming a complex of shops representing merchandisers, with interconnecting walkways enabling visitors to easily walk from unit to unit, along with a parking area — a modern, indoor version...
set. The first of the new shows aired in January 1992.
Despite the attempt to keep the show fresh, the changes alienated many of its longtime viewers while failing to gain the hoped-for younger viewers, and the ratings continued their decline.
During the summer of 1992, a decision was made to end first-run production, and instead air highlights of the show's earlier years in a revamped program called Hee Haw Silver (as part of celebrating the show's 25th year). Under the new format, Clark hosted a mixture of classic clips and new footage. The show debuted as a mid-season replacement in June 1969 and because of this its first season is considered to be those first few months on the summer schedule. Its 24th season is referred to the batch of shows that aired from January through May 1992 when it was re-titled The Hee Haw Show. The fall of 1992 marked the beginning of the program's 25th season on the air.
Hee Haw Silver episodes spotlighted many of the classic comedy skits and moments from the show, with a series of retrospective looks at performers who had since died, such as David "Stringbean" Akeman, Archie Campbell, Junior Samples, and Kenny Price. According to the show's producer, Sam Lovullo, the ratings showed improvement with these classic reruns; however, the series was finally canceled in 1993 at the conclusion of its 25th season. Hee Haw continued to pop up in reruns (see below for details) throughout the 1990s and later during the following decade, in a series of successful DVD
A DVD is an optical disc storage media format, invented and developed by Philips, Sony, Toshiba, and Panasonic in 1995. DVDs offer higher storage capacity than Compact Discs while having the same dimensions....
releases from Time Life.
After the show's syndication run ended, rerun
A rerun or repeat is a re-airing of an episode of a radio or television broadcast. The invention of the rerun is generally credited to Desi Arnaz. There are two types of reruns—those that occur during a hiatus, and those that occur when a program is syndicated. Reruns can also be, as the...
s aired on The Nashville Network
Spike is an American cable television channel. It launched on March 7, 1983 as The Nashville Network , a joint venture of WSM, Inc...
from 1994 until 1997
The year 1997 in television involved some significant events.Below is a list of television-related events in 1997.- Events :-Debuts:-Miniseries:*Knots Landing: Back to the Cul-de-Sac, a reunion of the 1979–93 series*The Last Don...
. Its 21 years in TV syndication (1971–1992) was the record for a U.S. program, until Soul Train surpassed it in 1993. Subsequently, Entertainment Tonight
Entertainment Tonight is a daily tabloid television entertainment television news show that is syndicated by CBS Television Distribution throughout the United States, Canada and in many countries around the world. Linda Bell Blue is currently the program's executive producer...
surpassed it in 2003 and
Wheel of Fortune surpassed it in 2005. In 2006, Jeopardy!
Griffin's first conception of the game used a board comprising ten categories with ten clues each, but after finding that this board could not be shown on camera easily, he reduced it to two rounds of thirty clues each, with five clues in each of six categories...
surpassed it also, making
Hee Haw currently the fifth-longest-running off-network American TV program, though the longest of its genre.
During the 2006-2007 season CMT
Country Music Television, or CMT, is an American country music-oriented cable television network. Programming includes music videos, taped concerts, movies, biographies of country music stars, game shows, and reality programs...
aired a series of reruns and TV Land
TV Land is an American cable television network launched on April 29, 1996. It is owned by MTV Networks, a division of Viacom, which also owns Paramount Pictures, and networks such as MTV and Nickelodeon...
also recognized the series with an award presented by k.d. lang
Kathryn Dawn Lang, OC , known by her stage name k.d. lang, is a Canadian pop and country singer-songwriter and occasional actress...
; in attendance were Roy Clark, Gunilla Hutton
Gunilla Hutton is a Swedish-born American actress and singer, perhaps most notable for her roles as the second Billie Jo Bradley on Petticoat Junction , and as a regular cast member in the television series Hee Haw until 1992....
, Barbi Benton
Barbi Benton is an American model, actress and singer.-Career:She was featured on the cover of Playboy several times and in nude photo layouts in the March 1970, December 1973, and January 1975 issues, although she was never one of the magazine's "Playmates of the Month".Benton is known for her...
, the Hager twins, Linda Thompson, Misty Rowe
Misty Rowe is an actress most known for portraying the perky lisping blond on the American television series Hee Haw for 19 years...
Reruns of Hee Haw began airing on RFD-TV
RFD-TV, or Rural Free Delivery TV, is a United States satellite and cable television channel devoted to rural issues, concerns, and interests. The channel's name is a reference to Rural Free Delivery, the name for the United States Postal Service's system of delivering mail directly to rural patrons...
in September 2008, and the show has aired there since, currently anchoring the network's Sunday night lineup with a re-airing of that week's episode the following Monday. In 2011 the network began re-airing the earliest episodes from 1969-1970 on Thursday evenings.
Two rural-style comedians, already well known in their native Canada, gained their first major U.S. exposure — Gordie Tapp and Don Harron
Donald H. Harron, is a Canadian comedian, actor, director, journalist, author and composer.- Charlie Farquharson :...
(whose KORN Radio character, newscaster Charlie Farquharson, had been a fixture of Canadian television since 1952 and later appeared on The Red Green Show
The Red Green Show is a Canadian television comedy that aired on various channels in Canada, with its ultimate home at CBC Television, and on Public Broadcasting Service stations in the United States, from 1991 until the series finale April 7, 2006 on CBC...
Other cast members over the years included:
Roy Claxton Acuff was an American country music singer, fiddler, and promoter. Known as the King of Country Music, Acuff is often credited with moving the genre from its early string band and "hoedown" format to the star singer-based format that helped make it internationally successful.Acuff...
Billy Jim Baker
Billy Jim Baker is a professional clown and songwriter. A member of the International Clown Hall of Fame, he wrote two songs that were recorded by Jerry Jeff Walker, "Too Old to Change" and "Contrary to Ordinary"...
John Henry Faulk
John Henry Faulk from Austin, Texas was a storyteller and radio show host. His successful lawsuit against blacklisters of the entertainment industry helped to bring an end to the Hollywood blacklist.-Early life:...
Marianne Gordon (Rogers),
the Hager Twins (Jim and John),
Victoria Hallman (as "Miss Honeydew"),
Gunilla Hutton (as "Nurse Goodbody"),
Zella Lehr is an American singer and entertainer. She had hit records on RCA Records and Columbia Records, most notably Dolly Parton's "Two Doors Down"...
(the "unicycle girl"),
George Lindsey is an American character actor, best known for his role as "Goober Pyle" on The Andy Griffith Show, as well as for his tenure on Hee-Haw.-Early life and career :...
(reprising his "Goober
Goober is a fictional character in the American TV sitcom The Andy Griffith Show and its later sequel series Mayberry RFD. He was played by George Lindsey. Lindsey initially read for the part of Gomer Pyle, which went to singer Jim Nabors...
" character from The Andy Griffith Show
The Andy Griffith Show is an American sitcom first televised by CBS between October 3, 1960, and April 1, 1968. Andy Griffith portrays a widowed sheriff in the fictional small community of Mayberry, North Carolina...
Ellen Irlene Mandrell is an American musician, actress and model. She is the younger sister of country singers Barbara Mandrell and Louise Mandrell.Irlene Mandrell was born in Corpus Christi, Texas...
Rev. Grady Nutt
Grady Lee Nutt was a Southern Baptist minister, humorist, television personality, and author. His humor revolved around rural Southern Protestantism and earned him the title as "The Prime Minister of Humor."...
Claude 'Jackie' Phelps,
Louis Burton Lindley, Jr. , better known by the stage name Slim Pickens, was an American rodeo performer and film and television actor who epitomized the profane, tough, sardonic cowboy, but who is best remembered for his comic roles, notably in Dr...
James Kenneth "Kenny" Price was a singer, songwriter, and actor. Nicknamed the "Round Mound of Sound," Price recorded for the Boone and RCA Victor, MRC and Dimension record labels, charting thirty-four singles on the Hot Country Songs charts between 1966 and 1980...
Anne Randall is an American model. She was Playboy magazine's Playmate of the Month for its May 1967 issue...
Susan Raye is an American country music singer. She enjoyed great popularity during the early and mid 1970's and chalked up seven top 10 and nineteen top 40 country hits Susan Raye discography, most notably the song "L.A...
Jimmy Riddle was an American performer featured on the country music and comedy television show Hee Haw. He was primarily known for the vocal art of eefing....
Gailard Sartain is an American comedic and serious actor, often playing characters with roots in the South. He is also an accomplished and successful painter and illustrator.-Early years and education:...
Veronica Loretta "Roni" Stoneman is a noted bluegrass banjo player and former member of the Hee Haw gang having played the role of Ida Lee Nagger, the ironing, nagging wife of Laverne Nagger ....
Nancy Traylor, and
-Early life:Winters was born in Bellbrook, Ohio, the son of Alice Kilgore , a radio personality, and Jonathan Harshman Winters II, an investment broker. He is a descendant of Valentine Winters, founder of the Winters National Bank in Dayton, Ohio...
, among many others.
The Buckaroos were a Grammy-winning band led by Buck Owens in the 1960s and early '70s, who were heavily involved in the development and presentation of the "Bakersfield Sound." Their peak of success was from 1965-1970. In 2005, CMT named the Buckaroos No...
(Buck Owens' band) initially served as the house band
For the British band that existed from 1984-2001, see The House BandA house band is a group of musicians, often centrally organized by a band leader, who regularly play an establishment. It is widely used to refer both to the bands who work on entertainment programs on television or radio, and to...
on this popular syndicated show and consisted of members Don Rich
Donald Eugene Ulrich, best known by the stage name Don Rich was a country musician who helped develop the Bakersfield sound in the early 1960s. He was a noted guitarist and fiddler, and a member of the Buckaroos, the backing band of country singer Buck Owens.-Biography:Donald Eugene Ulrich was...
, Jim Shaw, Jerry Brightman
Jerry Brightman is a pedal steel guitarist who played for Buck Owens and the The Buckaroos and featured on television's Hee Haw along with performing on many top 10 records with Buck, Susan Raye, Tony Booth, and others. Impressing audiences at an early age, he began playing professionally in 1966...
, Jerry Wiggins, Rick Taylor, Doyle Singer (Doyle Curtsinger), Don Lee, Ronnie Jackson, Terry Christoffersen, Doyle Holly
Doyle Floyd Hendricks, known by the stage name Doyle Holly was an American musician best known as the bass guitar player of the country music band Buck Owens and the Buckaroos and for his solo hit songs "Queen Of The Silver Dollar" and "Lila". Holly's contributions on bass guitar and rhythm guitar...
and later Victoria Hallman. In later seasons, harmonica player Charlie McCoy
Charles "Charlie" Ray McCoy is an American musician noted for his harmonica playing. In his career, McCoy has backed several notable musicians including Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Tom Astor, Elvis Presley and Ween. He has also recorded thirty-seven studio albums, including fourteen for Monument Records...
joined the cast and eventually formed the Hee Haw Band, which became the house band for the rest of the series' run. The Nashville Edition, a singing group made up of two men and two women, served as the background singers for most of the musical performances.
Some of the cast members made national headlines. Lulu Roman was twice charged with drug possession in 1971, and David "Stringbean" Akeman and his wife were murdered in November 1973 during a robbery at their home.
Recurring sketches and segments
Some of the most popular sketches and segments on Hee Haw included:
- "PFFT! You Was Gone!" : A comedic duet featured on the premiere episode and holds firm as one of the series' most famous and endearing sketches. In early seasons, the song was performed by Campbell and Tapp
(both with solemn looks on their faces), in the vein of folk songs like "Oh! Susanna
"Oh! Susanna" is a minstrel song by Stephen Foster . It was published by W. C. Peters & Co. in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1848. The song was introduced by a local quintette at a concert in Andrews' Eagle Ice Cream Saloon in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on September 11, 1847. Foster was said to have written...
" and "Old Dan Tucker
"Old Dan Tucker", also known as "Ole Dan Tucker", "Dan Tucker", and other variants, is a popular American song. Its origins remain obscure; the tune may have come from oral tradition, and the words may have been written by songwriter and performer Dan Emmett...
". In later seasons, Tapp would be increasingly replaced by that episode's guest singer, or another surprise celebrity (normally if it were a guest, his or her name would be included in the lyrics of the song before they would sing the refrain). Tapp, or whoever it was, would often stand with their back to the viewer while Campbell sang the new, humorous verse solo, holding a scythe
A scythe is an agricultural hand tool for mowing grass, or reaping crops. It was largely replaced by horse-drawn and then tractor machinery, but is still used in some areas of Europe and Asia. The Grim Reaper is often depicted carrying or wielding a scythe...
. At the end of the verse, Campbell would nudge Tapp or the guest with his elbow as a form of slapstick timing
Comic timing is the use of rhythm, tempo and pausing to enhance comedy and humour. The pacing of the delivery of a joke can have a strong impact on its comedic effect, even altering its meaning; the same can also be true of more physical comedy such as slapstick.A beat is a pause taken for the...
, who would then spin around (Tapp would react as if awoken by the elbow) to join him on the chorus:
"Where, oh where, are you tonight?
Why did you leave me here all alone?
I searched the world over, and I thought I'd found true love,
You met another, and PFFT! You was gone!"
The "PFFT" would be done as a spitting "Bronx cheer
Blowing a raspberry or strawberry or making a Bronx cheer is to make a noise signifying derision, real or feigned. It is made by placing the tongue between the lips and blowing, making a sound redolent of flatulence. In the terminology of phonetics, this sound can be described as an unvoiced...
", and occasionally, they would break up into laughter after the "PFFT", unable to finish the song (Who got spat upon during the "PFFT" would change each show.) Following Campbell's death, whole groups and even women would be part of the refrain, with regular George Lindsay often singing the first verse. Occasionally, in the later years, Roni Stoneman (in her role as Ida Lee Nagger) would sometimes do the first verse. In some episodes, which had several major guest stars, the routine appeared several times in the show so that each guest would have the chance to be part of this tradition.
"Hee Haw" magazine (Vol. 1, No. 2, July 1970, A Charlton Publication
Charlton Comics was an American comic book publishing company that existed from 1946 to 1985, having begun under a different name in 1944. It was based in Derby, Connecticut...
) attributes this song to Susan Heather (a pseudonym
A pseudonym is a name that a person assumes for a particular purpose and that differs from his or her original orthonym...
used by Marian B. Yarneall), (c) 1952, 1965 by Mamy Music Corp out of Paoli, Pa. Later references show copyrights held by Gaylord Program Services, Inc.
The Gaylord Entertainment Company operates a number of hotel, resort, and media companies that were built by Edward Gaylord. It was previously a subsidiary of the Oklahoma City-based Oklahoma Publishing Company, which is owned by the Gaylord family and publishes the Daily Oklahoman newspaper...
out of Nashville, TN, but this may be because Gaylord holds the copyrights for "Hee Haw." It appears that this song Phfft! you were gone, with lyrics and arrangement by Ms. Heather, was originally composed as a Gospel tune. Bob Newman sang this song on his "The Kentucky Colonel" album in 1959
-Events:*January 5 – The first sessions for Ella Fitzgerald's George and Ira Gershwin Songbook are held.*January 12 – Tamla Records is founded by Berry Gordy Jr. in Detroit, Michigan....
. Mr. Newman is listed as a comedian, so it is probable that this version was the first parody of the original Gospel song. Later artists performing comical versions of this song included Archie Campbell on his Have A Laugh On Me album in 1966
-Events:*January 3 – Hullabaloo shows promotional videos of The Beatles songs "Day Tripper" and "We Can Work it Out".*January 8 – Shindig! airs for the last time on ABC, with musical guests the Kinks and the Who...
, and Buck Owens on his album
Too Old To Cut The Mustard in 1972
-Events:*January 17 – Highway 51 South in Memphis, Tennessee is renamed "Elvis Presley Boulevard"*January 20 – The début of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon at The Dome, Brighton, is halted by technical difficulties,...
- KORN news : A newsbreak-esque skit in which Charlie Fahrquarson (Don Harron
Donald H. Harron, is a Canadian comedian, actor, director, journalist, author and composer.- Charlie Farquharson :...
) would deliver the somewhat local news in his own inimitable way. KORN would become in the later years of the show, KORV. He called Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey is an American media proprietor, talk show host, actress, producer and philanthropist. Winfrey is best known for her self-titled, multi-award-winning talk show, which has become the highest-rated program of its kind in history and was nationally syndicated from 1986 to 2011...
"Opry Windbag." Harron would later resurrect the character on
The Red Green Show.
Lulu's Truck Stop : Lulu Roman owned this greasy spoon, where the food was usually pretty bad; Gailard Sartain was also in this skit as the chef Orville.
Hee Haw Players : Cast members take on some of the Shakespeare classics, with some unexpected twists.
Hee Haw Amateur Minute : A showcase of some of the worst talent of all. A cast member would play some yokel
Yokel is a derogatory term referring to the stereotype of unsophisticated country people.-Stereotype:In the US, it is used to describe someone living in rural areas...
who would have some kind of bad talent, which would almost always end up with the audience booing
Booing is an act of showing displeasure for someone or something, generally an entertainer, by loudly yelling boo! or making other noises of disparagement, such as hissing. People may make hand signs at the entertainer, such as the thumbs down sign...
it; throwing vegetables and the hook operator yanking said act forcibly off the stage. After the skit, five animated cartoon animals (a duck, a sheep, a pig, a chicken and a goat) would appear onscreen booing, as well.
Samuel B. Sternwheeler : Gordie Tapp in a spoof of author Mark Twain
Samuel Langhorne Clemens , better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American author and humorist...
giving off some homilies which undoubtedly made little or no sense whatsoever. After these recitations, he would most often be hit over the head with a rubber chicken, or in later years be given a bomb or something that would eventually explode.
The Haystack : A male cast member and a woman (usually one of the Hee Haw Honeys ) talk about love issues while sitting at the haystack (the skits began with the top of the haystack which lowered down to reveal the couple).
Colonel Daddy's daughter : Marianne Gordon was the pampered southern belle
A southern belle is an archetype for a young woman of the American Old South's upper class....
daughter of her Colonel Daddy (Gordie Tapp). She would sit on the swing at her plantation home, and would speak about the generosity of her Daddy. In later installments Tapp's character would hardly be seen at all but was always referenced to by his spoiled daughter.
The Moonshiners : Shown most frequently, were one or two of the male cast (playing a couple of lethargic hillbillies) who would lazily tell a joke while dozing on the floor near a bunch of moonshine jugs and Beauregard the Wonder Dog (Kingfish the Wonder Dog in earlier shows), with scantily dressed girls in the background.
School Scenes : There were always school scenes during the show's run. At first, it was with Jennifer Bishop and Lulu Roman as the put-upon teachers, with most notably, Junior Samples and Roy Clark as the students. When Minnie Pearl joined the cast, they had a larger classroom scene with, at first, real children as the students, but would later return to the cast members playing children, with Minnie still as the teacher.
The Culhanes : The adventures of the Culhane family, depicted as all they did was sit on an old-fashioned sofa in the parlor, which focused on Cousin Clem Culhane (Gordie Tapp); Cousin Junior Culhane (Junior Samples); Cousin Grandpa Culhane (Grandpa Jones); and Cousin Lulu Culhane (Lulu Roman) who would sit in deadpan character and comment, à la soap opera. After the death of Junior, his role was filled by cast-member Mike Snider
Mike Snider is a comedy writer whose work frequently appeared in the pages of MAD Magazine from 1981-2006. Snider's byline appeared in 179 separate issues...
in the role of Cousin Mike, of course.
Pickin' and Grinnin' : Musical interludes with Owens (on guitar) and Clark (on banjo) and the entire cast. (Owens: "I'm a-Pickin' !" Clark: "And I'm a-Grinnin' !"), with the duo (and sometimes a guest star sitting between Buck and Roy) 'dueling' by playing guitar and banjo to the tune of "Cripple Creek
Cripple Creek is an Old Time Appalachian folk song for the fiddle, though it is often played on the banjo as well.. No one knows when it was composed, but there are theories about just where Cripple Creek is. Some say it is Cripple Creek, Virginia, while others say it is based on Cripple Creek,...
", telling jokes and reciting one-liners. The sketch always ended with Roy's banjo solo, each time ending a different comical way. At first it was just Roy and Buck, and later on the entire cast joined in. By the time the entire cast joined in, the sketch was introduced by Cathy Baker.
Samples Sales : Used car salesman role for Junior Samples, with Misty Rowe as his later assistant, in his guise as a magician called Junior the Great, would try to palm off a major 'clunker' and then hold up a sign to remind viewers that his phone number was "BR-549". It was changed to "BR-1Z1Z", in the show's later seasons. (At that time, local phone calls in virtually all of the US required dialing seven-digit numbers.) The reason for the change from BR-549 to BR-1Z1Z was during the 1980 season, Junior gave up the car lot and became a "consumer advocate" whose job was to save the public from dishonest people like himself. The next season he went back to the car lot gig but changed the number. (Hee Haw tapes were later sold using the "800" number 1-800-BR54949; also, the country music group BR5-49
BR549 is an American country music band. Founded in 1993, the band originally comprised Gary Bennett , Don Herron , "Smilin'" Jay McDowell , Chuck Mead , and "Hawk" Shaw Wilson...
adopted the number as the name of their band.)
"Gloom, Despair and Agony On Me" : Another popular sketch usually performed by four male cast members (originally and usually Roy Clark; Gordie Tapp; Grandpa Jones and Archie Campbell) sitting around in hillbilly garb surrounded by moonshine
Moonshine is an illegally produced distilled beverage...
jugs and looking overtly miserable. The song began with the chorus, which all of them sang with each one alternating (in lip-synch) a mournful howl after each of the first three lines. The chorus went:
- "Gloom, despair and agony on me-e!
- Deep dark depression, excessive misery-y!
- If it weren't for bad luck I'd have no luck at all!
- Gloom, despair and agony on me-e-e!"
Each of the quartet would sing one line of the verse- a different one for each performance. (In later seasons the female cast got their own version of the song, first just lip-synching the male vocals, but later getting their own feminized version complete with female howls of mourning.)
- The Gossip Girls : Musical pieces featuring various female members of the cast surrounding a washtub and clothes wringer singing:
"Now, we're not ones to go 'round spreadin' rumors,
Why, really we're just not the gossipy kind,
No, you'll never hear one of us repeating gossip,
So you'd better be sure and listen close the first time!"
The song featured a new verse every episode. Misty Rowe, a mainstay member of the "Gossip Girls", would enhance the comedy of the sketch by singing her part of the verse out of tune (as a young child would do). In later years, the guys, in drag, would sometimes replace the girls in the skit, in retaliation for the girls singing "Gloom, Despair...".
(In earlier seasons, the "Gossip Girls" and "Gloom, Despair.." sketches would both end with a repeat of the song's chorus, but in later years that practice was eliminated.)
- "Hee Haw Salutes..." : Two or three times in each episode, Hee Haw would salute a selected town (or a guest star's hometown) and announce its population, which was sometimes altered for levity, at which point the entire cast would then 'pop up' from the cornfield, shouting "SAA-LUTE!!"
(sometimes after the salute, Archie Campbell would pronounce the saluted town spelled backwards. Example:
"Remember, 'Franklin' spelled backwards is 'Nil-knarf'.")
The Fence : Two or three times during each show a cast member, standing in front of a high wooden fence, would tell a one liner joke.
: "I crossed an elephant with a gopher." Everybody in unison: "What'ja get?" "Some awfully big holes in the backyard.") Regardless of whether the joke teller was female or male, a portion of the fence would swing up and hit them on the rear end after the punch line
A punch line is the final part of a joke, comedy sketch, or profound statement, usually the word, sentence or exchange of sentences which is intended to be funny or to provoke laughter or thought from listeners...
Archie's Barber Shop : Scenes with Archie Campbell, regular customer Roy Clark, and two or three other regulars sitting in the "waiting chairs"
(on lesser occasions Junior Samples would be the one going into the barber's chair). Campbell would share comic dialog with Clark
(Campbell's legendary "That's Good, That's Bad" routine immediately comes to mind) or tell one of his "backwards fairy tales" such as "Rindercella".
Doc Campbell : This long-running skit featured Archie Campbell playing the part of a doctor who often gave out terrible advice and bizarre medical "facts". Patients would often be one of the show's cast-members. The skit is also remembered for cast-member Gunilla Hutton's role as the doctor's assistant, Nurse Good-Body. Sometimes the skits would feature only the doctor and his nurse...with Archie hollering "Nurse Goodbody! Nurse Goodbody! Get in HERE!" to which she'd come into the scene looking nervous.
Justus O'Peace : This recurring skit featured Archie Campbell as a judge who wore what looked to be a bowler hat, a red undershirt, and suspenders sentencing people to long jail time for some of the most silly misdemeanor "crimes". Years later Archie's son, Phil Campbell, as well as Gordie Tapp appeared in a recurring skit about two police officers..the skit's name escapes me at the moment. They also did a courtroom skit with Dub Taylor as the judge and Gailord Sartain playing his "Cletus Biggs" character (see Biggs, Shy, & Stir).
Professor Campbell : This recurring segment featured Archie Campbell dressed in a graduate's gown telling viewers the meaning of words, with a comic twist...sometimes wads of paper would fly into the scene as a way of punishing the bad joke that was told.
Gordie's General Store : Gordie operating a general merchandise store. It was also a place where one of the cast would tell a comedic story. In later years the focus shifted from Kornfield Kounty residents stopping by to the comedic banter of Gordie and Gailord Sartain, who played the role of the incompetent Maynard, who often would send Gordie into fits of anger or agony by the skit's end.
Misty's Bedtime Stories : This skit featured bedtime stories delivered by Misty Rowe, one of the more popular cast-members. Grandpa Jones would be heard off-camera whispering "And now it's time for Misty's bedtime stories". A lighted candle would be sitting on the night stand beside her bed and after she was through delivering one of her bizarre stories, sometimes a re-written nursery rhyme, she'd giggle, wink to the camera, and blow out the candle...end of skit.
Empty Arms Hotel : Roy Clark as the head desk clerk at one of the few accommodations in all of Kornfield Kounty, who would pop up from behind the front desk after the bell was rung.
Goober's Garage : George Lindsay was the star of this regular skit where he'd play his Andy Griffith role, often talking about cars and jalopies with whichever cast member that appeared in the skit that week. Sometimes non cast-member Jack Burns
Jack Burns is an American comedian and voice actor.-Biography:In 1959, he began his career as a comedy team with George Carlin when both were working for radio station KXOL in Fort Worth, Texas...
would appear in the skit as the city slicker/con-artist type trying to pull a fast one with Goober emerging more intelligent. For a period of time in the early 1980s cast-member Chase Randolph was in the skit and played a mechanic often being flirted with by a gang of women. The joke is that Chase was more interested in fixing up cars while Goober often offered to go out with the girls instead...only for the women to ignore his requests and look disgusted.
"Hee-Haw's All-Jug Band" : A musical segment, featuring most of the female cast members, singing a comical song, in which the punch line differed each week. Regular, Lulu Roman, "played" moonshine jugs (by which, she would blow air over the spout, creating a "humming sound"), which partially explains the segment's title (as well as the fact that "jugs" is a dysphemism
In language, dysphemism, malphemism, and cacophemism refer to the usage of an intentionally harsh, rather than polite, word or expression; roughly the opposite of euphemism...
for breasts). Minnie Pearl introduced the segment each week, loudly announcing, "We're gonna play now!"; at the end of the song, she would similarly conclude "We're through playin' now!"
"Hey Grandpa! What's for supper?" : Grandpa Jones is cleaning a window pane (with no glass in it) and recites a dinner menu in poetic verse. Often, he would describe a delicious, country-style meal (e.g., chicken and biscuits smothered in rich gravy, and collard greens), and the audience would reply approvingly, "yum-m yum-m!"; although sometimes he would serve a less than spectacular meal (thawed out TV dinner
A TV dinner is a prepackaged frozen or chilled meal that usually comes as an individual portion...
s), to which the cast would reply, "yuck!" One notable run-through of the routine had Grandpa saying "Ah ain't got nuthin' !", which would be the only time he ever got booed during this routine.
JerryRalphRVBobBeavis : This is a skit that appeared mostly in the 1980s and it featured Gailord Sartain as the owner of a small store/flea market attempting to sell junk. The skit would start with a hand-held camera zooming up to the front door and the door being flung open to reveal the fast-talking salesman standing behind the counter surrounded by the junk he was trying to sell. The character was a clown...with red cheeks and wild clown hair...and the running joke was his attempts of becoming a big singing star and in every skit just as he was preparing to pull out a guitar and start to sing, the camera would zoom out and the door swing shut.
Biggs, Shy, & Stir : This featured Gailord Sartain as "Cletus Biggs of Biggs, Shy, & Stir - Kornfield Kounty's most honorable law firm - where our motto is, 'When in doubt, sue!'" He would advertise the week's "special" such as "Sue Your Parents Week" or "Sue Your Teacher Week", etc. He always closed by saying, "Remember, we're in the alley behind the courthouse above the pool hall!"
The Cornfield : Vignettes patterned after Laugh-In's "Joke Wall," with cast members and guest stars 'popping up' to tell jokes and one-liners. Until his death, "Stringbean" played the field's 'scarecrow,' delivering one-liners before being shouted down by the 'crow' on his shoulder; after his 1973 murder, he was not replaced, and the 'scarecrow' simply was seen in the field as a memorial. On occasion, personalities from TV stations that carried Hee Haw would appear in this segment with Owens or Clark.
The Naggers : Routines with Gordie Tapp and Roni Stoneman as LaVern and Ida Lee Nagger, a backwoods bickering couple, inspired in part by the radio comedy The Bickersons
The Bickersons was a radio comedy sketch series that began in 1946 on NBC, moving the following year to CBS where it continued until 1951...
. Kenny Price made occasional appearances (starting in 1974) as their son Elrod; and Wendy Suits of the show's background singing group, The Nashville Edition, would sometimes play Ida Lee's equally nagging mother.
Kornfield Kounty Operator Service : Irlene Mandrell as Kornfield Kounty's telephone operator (similar to Lily Tomlin's more famous character, Ernestine Tomlin) would answer phone calls from various Kornfield Kounty residents, who would eventually hang up in various degrees of frustration, causing the Operator to often say, innocently, "And they wonder why we telephone operators turn gray!"
Grinder's Switch Gazzette : This skit featured Minnie Pearl as a newspaper worker who often insisted that her mute secretary, Miss Honeydew, take down an "important" news item which was always nonsense.
About 200 Years Ago : This skit which ran during 1975-76 (to coincide with the Bicentennial Year 1976) was a parody of CBS' "Bicentennial Minutes
Bicentennial Minutes was the name of a series of short educational American television segments commemorating the bicentennial of the American Revolution. The segments were produced by the CBS Television Network and broadcast nightly from July 4, 1974, until December 31, 1976...
"; in it, Grandpa Jones would deliver a fractured historical "fact" about the Revolutionary
The American Revolution was the political upheaval during the last half of the 18th century in which thirteen colonies in North America joined together to break free from the British Empire, combining to become the United States of America...
Hee Haw Honky Tonk : When the Urban Cowboy
Released as a 2× vinyl record album, re-released on CD in 1995.Side A:#Hello Texas – Jimmy Buffett #All Night Long – Joe Walsh #Times Like These – Dan Fogelberg #Nine Tonight – Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band...
craze was in full swing, Hee Haw had its honky tonk, where all the cast would throw out their one liners. The Honky Tonk was replete with its mechanical bull
A mechanical bull, also known as a rodeo bull or bucking bronco is a machine that replicates the sensation of riding a bucking animal, such as a rodeo bull or horse. It is usually powered by a variable-speed electric motor...
; and often showed Ida Lee Nagger (Roni Stoneman) chasing men with a net. This was patterned after the Party on Laugh-In.
Kurl Up and Dye : This is a skit from its later years which featured several of the cast-members in a beauty parlor where they'd gossip..from time to time Gailord Sartain would appear in drag as one of the fussy women.
Fit as a Fiddle : This skit ran in the 1980s to coincide with the aerobic
Aerobics is a form of physical exercise that combines rhythmic aerobic exercise with stretching and strength training routines with the goal of improving all elements of fitness...
dancing craze of that period. The skit featured several of the female cast members delivering one-liner jokes while aerobic dancing.
Slim Picken's Bar-B-Q : Slim would have his friends over at a barbecue at his home, where a musical guest would perform. The segment would always open up spoofing Burma-Shave road signs as some of the Hee-Haw cast were seen piled on a truck driving down the road to Slim's Bar-B-Q whose guests often complained about the food to which Slim would counter with something like "I may not have prime meat at this picnic but I do have prime entertainment..." and then he'd bring out the entertainment.
The Little Yellow Chicken : An animated little yellow chicken who would always mistake anything and everything for an egg. The chicken would sit on items, such as a ringside bell; a man's bald head; a billiard ball; a football; a golf ball, and even a bomb, with various disastrous results. The little chicken was produced by Format Films.
Animated Critters : Interspersed within the show, besides the above mentioned chicken, were various applauding or laughing animated farm animals; a kickline composed of pigs; a pack of dogs that would chase an extremely bad joke teller; three sultry pigs that twirled their necklaces; a square dancing female pig and a male donkey; a pair of chickens dancing, with one of them falling flat on its face; the ubiquitous Hee Haw Donkey, who would say "Wouldn't that dunk your hat in the creek?" among other quips; and a pig (from the kickline) that would sneak up on a musical guest (or a cast member, mostly Roy Clark) and kiss him on the cheek among others. Sometimes, certain animals would carry appropriate signs with some kind of quip (e.g. Hee Haw Donkey holding a sign that would say, "I'm looking for a "She-Haw!" or in later years, "Let us Bray!"; a pig from the kickline holding a sign which would say, "oink!"; "Down with Ham and Eggs!"; or "Please DON'T Bring Home the Bacon!"; or a cow coming into the scene and opening a sign that would say something like "Stop Beefing!" or "I married a Bum Steer"). The animation was produced by Format Films
Format Films was a television animation studio which was founded by Herbert Klynn in 1959 with Jules Engel as vice president, Herb McIntosh and Joseph Mugnaini. It was most active during the 1960s, producing episodes of The Alvin Show, Popeye, and The Lone Ranger...
Guest stars often participated in some of the skits (mostly the PFFT! You Was Gone skit); however, this did not occur until later seasons.
While the meat of the segments were comedy-based, there were several serious, music-based segments, including:
- The Million Dollar Band
The Million Dollar Band was an all-star group of popular country musicians which often performed on the Hee Haw television variety show from August 1980 through November 1988....
: This was a jam-session segment, airing from 1980 through 1988, composed of legendary Nashville musicians Chet Atkins
Chester Burton Atkins , known as Chet Atkins, was an American guitarist and record producer who, along with Owen Bradley, created the smoother country music style known as the Nashville sound, which expanded country's appeal to adult pop music fans as well.Atkins's picking style, inspired by Merle...
, Boots Randolph
Homer Louis "Boots" Randolph III was an American musician best known for his 1963 saxophone hit, "Yakety Sax"...
, Roy Clark, Floyd Cramer
Floyd Cramer was an American Hall of Fame pianist who was one of the architects of the "Nashville sound." He popularized the "slip note" piano style where an out-of-tune note slides effortlessly into the correct note...
, Charlie McCoy
Charles "Charlie" Ray McCoy is an American musician noted for his harmonica playing. In his career, McCoy has backed several notable musicians including Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Tom Astor, Elvis Presley and Ween. He has also recorded thirty-seven studio albums, including fourteen for Monument Records...
, Danny Davis
Danny Davis was a band leader, trumpet player, vocalist and producer and founder/leader of the Nashville Brass.-Early life and career:...
, Jethro Burns, and Johnny Gimble
John Paul Gimble , better known as Johnny Gimble, is an American country musician associated with Western swing. He is an award-winning fiddle player and considered one of the most impressive fiddlers in the genre's history....
- A singer-songwriter segment, where one of the guest performers for the week would sing one of his popular hits. Then, he would introduce a song he/she wrote and was made popular by another artist.
- The Hee Haw Gospel Quartet: Almost always closed the show's last segment. Clark, Owens, Grandpa Jones, and Kenny Price would sing a gospel hymn. Several of their performances were released as recordings. Joe Babcock took over as lead singer after Owens left the show. Ray Burdette sang bass after the death of Kenny Price, but the quartet was not featured as often then. However, the show usually closed with a gospel song—if not by the Quartet, then by the entire cast.
At the end of the show...hosts Clark and Owens, backed by the entire cast, sang the song:
- "We loved the time we spent with you,
- To share a song and a laugh or two,
- May your pleasures be many, your troubles be few..."
And ended with Owens and Clark saying:
- "So long everybody! We'll see you next week on...HEE-HAW!! " (The closing song would be replaced in the early 1980s)
- The closing song was changed to this:
- "So long, we sure had a good time! So long, gee, the company was fine! Singin' and a dancin', Laughin' and a prancin', Adios, farewell, goodbye, good luck, so long...HEE-HAW!! "
- And after the closing credits, cast member Cathy Baker would utter her trademark sign-off line, "THAT'S all!" (preceded from the mid-1980s to 1992 by "This has been a Gaylord Production from Opryland Studios!"
The show's additional legacy—probably its main one to most of the Southern
The Southern United States—commonly referred to as the American South, Dixie, or simply the South—constitutes a large distinctive area in the southeastern and south-central United States...
and rural viewers in particular—was the hundreds of performances of country music, bluegrass
Bluegrass music is a form of American roots music, and a sub-genre of country music. It has mixed roots in Scottish, English, Welsh and Irish traditional music...
, gospel music
Gospel music is music that is written to express either personal, spiritual or a communal belief regarding Christian life, as well as to give a Christian alternative to mainstream secular music....
, and other traditional styles, that were featured on it during its run. During the 1970s
The decade of the 1970s saw significant changes in television programming in both the United Kingdom and the United States. The trends included the decline of the "family sitcoms" and rural-oriented programs to more socially contemporary shows and "young, hip and urban" sitcoms in the United States...
and early 1980s, this show was probably the best-known showcase for popular country music on commercial television, aside from other half-hour performer-hosted syndicated shows (most notably The Porter Wagoner Show, which is perhaps the only other weekly country music show of this era to approach
Hee Haws longevity.) produced by packagers like Nashville's Show Biz, Inc.
featured at least two, and sometimes three or four, guest artists and performers each week. While most artists were from the country genre, a wide range of artists were featured. Such artists included, among others:
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Brooks & Dunn
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David L Cook,
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Samuel George "Sammy" Davis Jr. was an American entertainer and was also known for his impersonations of actors and other celebrities....
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Dillard & Clark was a country rock duo which featured ex-Byrds member Gene Clark and bluegrass banjo player Doug Dillard. The group was formed in 1968, shortly after Clark departed The Byrds, and Dillard left The Dillards. They were backed up by, among others, Bernie Leadon, Chris Hillman, Sneaky...
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Jana Jae is a classically trained, award-winning country and bluegrass fiddler. She gained national fame by appearing on the nationally broadcast "Hee Haw" television show as part of Buck Owens's band in the 1970s. Prior to her work with Owens, she won the Ladies' Division National Fiddling...
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Ethel Merman was an American actress and singer. Known primarily for her powerful voice and roles in musical theatre, she has been called "the undisputed First Lady of the musical comedy stage." Among the many standards introduced by Merman in Broadway musicals are "I Got Rhythm", "Everything's...
Jody Brooks is an American country music singer. Born as Myrna Joy Miller, she was born in Phoenix, Arizona and raised in Oklahoma.-Career:...
Roger Dean Miller was an American singer, songwriter, musician and actor, best known for his honky tonk-influenced novelty songs...
Gary Gwyn Morris is an American country music artist who charted a string of countrypolitan-styled hit songs throughout the 1980s....
Willie Hugh Nelson is an American country music singer-songwriter, as well as an author, poet, actor, and activist. The critical success of the album Shotgun Willie , combined with the critical and commercial success of Red Headed Stranger and Stardust , made Nelson one of the most recognized...
Leslie William Nielsen, OC was a Canadian and naturalized American actor and comedian. Nielsen appeared in more than one hundred films and 1,500 television programs over the span of his career, portraying more than 220 characters...
Clara Ann Fowler , known by her professional name Patti Page, is an American singer, one of the best-known female artists in traditional pop music. She was the best-selling female artist of the 1950s, and has sold over 100 million records...
Dolly Rebecca Parton is an American singer-songwriter, author, multi-instrumentalist, actress and philanthropist, best known for her work in country music. Dolly Parton has appeared in movies like 9 to 5, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Steel Magnolias and Straight Talk...
Ray Price is an American country music singer, songwriter and guitarist. His wide-ranging baritone has often been praised as among the best male voices of country music...
Charley Frank Pride is an American country music singer. His smooth baritone voice was featured on thirty-nine number-one hits on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts. His greatest success came in the early- to mid-1970s, when he became the best-selling performer for RCA Records since Elvis...
Charles Rich was an American country music singer and musician. A Grammy Award winner, his eclectic-style of music was often hard to classify in a single genre, playing in the rockabilly, jazz, blues, country, and gospel genres.In the latter part of his life, Rich acquired the nickname The Silver...
Riders in the Sky,
Edward Thomas "Eddie" Rabbitt was an American singer-songwriter and musician. His career began as a songwriter in the late 1960s, springboarding to a recording career after composing hits such as "Kentucky Rain" for Elvis Presley in 1970 and "Pure Love" for Ronnie Milsap in 1974...
Jerry Reed Hubbard , known professionally as Jerry Reed, was an American country music singer, innovative guitarist, songwriter, and actor who appeared in more than a dozen films...
Granville "Oral" Roberts was an American Pentecostal televangelist and a Christian charismatic. He founded the Oral Roberts Evangelistic Association and Oral Roberts University....
Linda Ronstadt is an American popular music recording artist. She has earned eleven Grammy Awards, two Academy of Country Music awards, an Emmy Award, an ALMA Award, numerous United States and internationally certified gold, platinum and multiplatinum albums, in addition to Tony Award and Golden...
Kenneth Donald "Kenny" Rogers is an American singer-songwriter, photographer, record producer, actor, and entrepreneur...
Roy Rogers, born Leonard Franklin Slye , was an American singer and cowboy actor, one of the most heavily marketed and merchandised stars of his era, as well as being the namesake of the Roy Rogers Restaurants franchised chain...
Willard Herman Scott, Jr. is an American media personality and author best known for his television work on NBC's The Today Show and as the creator of the Ronald McDonald character.-Early years:...
Ollie Imogene Shepard , better known as Jean Shepard, is an American honky tonk singer-songwriter who was a pioneer for women in country music. Shepard released a total of 73 singles to the Hot Country Songs chart, one of which reached the #1 spot...
The Statler Brothers,
Ray Stevens is an American country music, pop singer-songwriter who has become known for his novelty songs.-Early career:...
George Harvey Strait is an American country music singer, actor, and music producer. Strait is referred to as the "King of Country," and critics call Strait a living legend. He is known for his unique style of western swing music, bar-room ballads, honky-tonk style, and fresh yet traditional...
Sweethearts of the Rodeo
Sweethearts of the Rodeo is an American country music duo composed of sisters Janis Oliver and Kristine Oliver . The duo recorded for Columbia Records between 1986 and 1991, releasing four albums and twelve singles for the label. In the 1990s, they also recorded two albums for Sugar Hill Records...
The Inspirations are a professional Southern gospel quartet from Bryson City, North Carolina.-Career:The quartet began in 1964 when Martin Cook, a teacher at Swain County High School, invited several young men to his home for evenings of singing. Later they began traveling around the area and...
The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band,
Lonnie Melvin Tillis , known professionally as Mel Tillis, is an American country music singer. Although he recorded songs since the late 1950s, his biggest success occurred in the 1970s, with a long list of Top 10 hits....
Pamela Yvonne "Pam" Tillis is an American country music singer-songwriter and actress. She is the daughter of country music singer Mel Tillis....
Randy Travis is an American country music singer and actor. Since 1985, he has recorded 20 studio albums and charted more than 30 singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts, 22 of which were number one hits...
Charles Wilburn "Buck" Trent is an American country music instrumentalist. He invented the electric Banjo and also plays the five-string Banjo, Dobro, Steel Guitar, Mandolin, Electric Bass and Guitar.-Biography:...
James Travis Tritt is an American country music singer from Marietta, Georgia. He signed to Warner Bros. Records in 1989, releasing seven studio albums and a greatest hits package for the label between then and 1999. In the 2000s, he released two albums on Columbia Records and one for the defunct...
Ernest Dale Tubb , nicknamed the Texas Troubadour, was an American singer and songwriter and one of the pioneers of country music. His biggest career hit song, "Walking the Floor Over You" , marked the rise of the honky tonk style of music...
Conway Twitty , born Harold Lloyd Jenkins, was an American country music artist. He also had success in early rock and roll, R&B, and pop music. He held the record for the most number one singles of any act with 55 No. 1 Billboard country hits until George Strait broke the record in 2006...
Dottie West was an American country music singer and songwriter. Along with her friends and co-recording artists Patsy Cline and Loretta Lynn, she is considered one of the genre's most influential and groundbreaking female artists...
Boxcar Willie, born as Lecil Travis Martin was an American country music singer, who sang in the "old-time hobo" music style, complete with dirty face, overalls, and a floppy hat...
Don Williams , is an American country singer, songwriter and a 2010 inductee to the Country Music Hall of Fame. He grew up in Portland, Texas, and graduated in 1958 from Gregory-Portland High School. After seven years with the folk-pop group Pozo-Seco Singers, he began his solo career in 1971,...
Hank Williams Jr.,
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Henry "Henny" Youngman was a British-born American comedian and violinist famous for "one-liners", short, simple jokes usually delivered rapid-fire...
, along with several forgotten performers who were never in the music business long enough to succeed. Also, several clogging
Clogging is a type of folk dance with roots in traditional European dancing, early African-American dance, and traditional Cherokee dance in which the dancer's footwear is used musically by striking the heel, the toe, or both in unison against a floor or each other to create audible percussive...
groups frequently performed on the show, and occasionally the show featured child singers who would perform top country songs of the day.
In addition to hosts Buck Owens and Roy Clark, who would perform at least one song each week, other cast members--such as Gunilla Hutton and Misty Rowe--would occasionally perform a song on the show; and the show would almost always open with a song performed by the entire cast.
Elvis Aaron Presley was one of the most popular American singers of the 20th century. A cultural icon, he is widely known by the single name Elvis. He is often referred to as the "King of Rock and Roll" or simply "the King"....
was a fan of Hee Haw
and wanted to appear as a guest on the program in the 1970s, but his manager, Colonel Tom Parker
"Colonel" Thomas Andrew "Tom" Parker born Andreas Cornelis van Kuijk, was a Dutch-born entertainment impresario known best as the manager of Elvis Presley...
, would not allow him to do so. A similar situation occurred when Elvis' friend Johnny Cash asked Presley to appear on his show
The Johnny Cash Show was an American television music variety show hosted by Johnny Cash. The Screen Gems 58-episode series ran from June 7, 1969 to March 31, 1971 on ABC; it was taped at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee. The show reached No...
Sheb Wooley, one of the original cast members, wrote the show's theme song. After filming the initial 13 episodes, other professional demands caused him to leave the show, but he returned from time to time as a guest.
Loretta Lynn was the first guest star of Hee Haw
and made more guest appearances than any other artist. She also co-hosted the show more than any other guest co-host and therefore appears on more of the DVD releases for retail sale than any other guest star.
From 1990-1992, country superstar Garth Brooks appeared on the show four times. In 1992, producer Sam Lovullo tried unsuccessfully to get a hold of Brooks because he wanted him for the final show. Brooks surprised Lovullo by showing up last minute, ready to don his overalls and perform for the final episode.
had a short-lived spin-off
In media, a spin-off is a radio program, television program, video game, or any narrative work, derived from one or more already existing works, that focuses, in particular, in more detail on one aspect of that original work...
series, Hee Haw Honeys
, for the 1978-79 television season. The musical sitcom starred Kathie Lee Johnson (Gifford)
Kathie Lee Gifford is an American television host, singer, songwriter and actress, best known for her 15-year run on the talk show Live with Regis and Kathie Lee, which she co-hosted with Regis Philbin...
along with Hee Haw
regulars Misty Rowe, Gailard Sartain, Lulu Roman, and Kenny Price as a family who owned a truck stop
A truck stop is a commercial facility predicated on providing fuel, parking, and often food and other services to motorists and truck drivers...
restaurant (undoubtedly inspired by the Lulu's Truck Stop
skit on Hee Haw
). Guests on the series included several country music legends such as Loretta Lynn, Conway Twitty and the Oak Ridge Boys
The Oak Ridge Boys are an American country and gospel vocal quartet.The group was founded in the 1940s as the Oak Ridge Quartet. They became popular in southern gospel during the 1950s...
, among others, who would perform a couple of their hits of the day, sometimes asking the cast to join them.
continues to remain beloved and popular with its long-time fans and those who've discovered the program through DVD releases and its reruns on RFD-TV. In spite of the loving support of the series by its fans, the program had never been a favorite of television critics or members of the more high brow society. This particular fact was reinforced when TV Guide
TV Guide is a weekly American magazine with listings of TV shows.In addition to TV listings, the publication features television-related news, celebrity interviews, gossip and film reviews and crossword puzzles...
ranked the series number 10 on its 50 Worst Shows of All Time List in 2002...a full 10 years after the last first-run episode aired in May 1992.