Friday, March 6, 2009

Hee-Haw: 1969-1992; Part Three

The actual 40th anniversary of this show begins in June...June 15th to be exact. It was on June 15, 1969 over CBS-TV that Hee-Haw went on the air for the first time. The show was an unexpected hit and it's initial season lasted from June 15, 1969 through September 1969. It went off the air and probably not many were thinking it would return again...but CBS ordered more episodes and these new episodes started airing in December 1969 and lasted until April 1970. The ratings were pretty high even still and the show returned in the fall of 1970 and would remain on the CBS network until July 1971. The last episode for CBS had aired in February 1971 but reruns continued through the summer months.

The show didn't go away after being dropped from CBS as we all know. It was picked up in syndication and from September 1971 through February 1991, the show aired uninterrupted, 20 straight years. After the February episode it went into it's rerun period and as I touched on in a previous entry the show didn't return in the fall...instead it returned in January 1992 and would run until May before going out of production for good. The guests on the first show of 1992 were Barbara Mandrell, Vern Gosdin, and Joe Diffie. A few weeks later Garth Brooks, Diamond Rio, and Trisha Yearwood were guests.

It's a testament to the show's popularity and longevity that virtually every country music singer made an appearance on this show...some made plenty of appearances as it was one of the few national programs spotlighting country music. Also, the various styles of country music were spotlighted front and center on this program, too. There were several episodes that celebrated country-pop in particular was an episode with Jerry Lee Lewis, another with Ray Charles. Celebrities outside of country music made appearances. There were episodes with Oral Roberts and his wife...even a few episodes with Billy Carter, brother of Jimmy Carter. There was an episode with Robin Leach who spoofed his LIFESTYLES program and went through Laverne and Ida Lee Nagger's dump. Doc Severensen made a guest did Ed McMahon. Johnny Bench made an appearance...Sonny Shroyer, the actor who portrayed Enos on "Dukes of Hazzard", made an appearance. Jonathan Winters was a cast-member of the show in the early 1980's...often appearing in group segments...but he didn't have any skits starring himself. Gailard Sartain's style was similar to Jonathan's.

After Archie's death, Gunilla continued playing the role of the Nurse in which female cast members would show up as patients and she'd dish out advice about men or one of the younger male cast members would be a patient who'd flirt with her, that sort of thing.

Hee-Haw: 1969-1992.


Dr Zibbs said...

Man you do know about HEe Haw.

ACcountryFan said...

Thanks for the comment.

I feel Hee-Haw was and still is a niche program. It's kind of like those reality TV shows that are all over TV now...programs that have their target audience and if someone isn't part of that audience they won't get the program's popularity or appeal.

I find Hee-Haw to be in that same category. I've often said that if you're a fan of Hee-Haw then you love it to death and are constantly defending it from those who've probably only seen 14 seconds of the show if that and they gladly give out "informed" opinions of the program based on brief exposure to the show.

However, if someone doesn't like the show at all, they'll hate it with a passion. I know people do not like the show but it's always a case of urban vs rural when it comes down to it because 95% of the negative commentary comes from people who can't stand country music, which was a big part of the show to begin with. I mean, the show's two hosts were major country music singers: Buck Owens and Roy Clark, and the cast was filled with country comic's, several of them legendary like Archie Campbell, Grandpa Jones, Minnie Pearl, George Lindsey, plus you had Canadian comic's Gordie Tapp and Don Harron.

The show had lots and lots of comical talent delivering intentional bad jokes. The show also had music talent and it irks me when people who've never seen the show, or, have only seen a few minutes of it, make those snooty better-than-you comments as if it's beneath them to watch the show.

There's nothing wrong with the show and there's nothing to be ashamed of to prevent one from saying they like the show. If viewers would take the opportunity to actually see the show and what it was all about they'd have a more informed opinion. The show wasn't all "big breasts and short shorts". There was lots of comedy, animation, country music, cloggers during the early 1980's, and even gospel sing-a-long segments.

One more rant about those who attack the show...those who give negative commentary about the show tend to evoke the superiority routine in which the one making the derogatory remark about the show puts him or herself up on a pedestal and anyone who actually likes the show are made fun of or called "stupid", "hicks", and other derogatory words to describe southern citizens. When there's a Hee-Haw debate on-line, like for example, You Tube, where people comment back and forth about a and see the anger and animosity that pours out from those who don't like the show. The ones who hate the show get vicious with their remarks and comments and as a result of the hostile feelings surrounding the program, the intolerance really shines through during those kinds of things. The fan of the show is typically trounced all over by the arrogance of the non-fan.

Anyway, I happen to be in the love the show to death category as you could tell.