Friday, March 5, 2010

Hee-Haw: 1969-1992, Part Five

Given that this is the fifth installment of my Hee-Haw blog it shouldn't come to nobody's surprise that I love the show! I can't really give an opinion of it's 24th season in 1992 because I've never really seen it but judging by things I've read through the years it wasn't what the doctor ordered...the overhaul of the show's image and the termination of long-running sketches and cast members...it was a mistake. The thing that made the show was it's look...as well as the corny jokes...also, the energetic banter among the cast and whatever guest stars were on the show that week. When the show debuted in 1969 it was met with a lot of harsh criticism not only from big city television critics but also music critics within country music. The country music industry was wanting to push the label of 'Country and Western' which sounded more marketable. Hee-Haw stood in sharp contrast to that marketing idea because of it's heavy use of haybales, farmer's daughter wardrobes, bib overalls and other rural imagery that pushed the 'Hillbilly' image that the country music big-wigs on Music Row were wanting to distance itself from. The enormous success of the show meant that the program would continue to air; and after it's cancellation by CBS in 1971, it went into first-run syndication and would remain a syndicated program for the rest of it's life-span.

Season One: June 15, 1969 - September 7, 1969
Season Two: December 17, 1969 - April 8, 1970
Season Three: September 15, 1970 - February 23, 1971
Season Four: September 18, 1971 - April 1, 1972
Season Five: September 16, 1972 - March 24, 1973
Season Six: September 15, 1973 - March 23, 1974
Season Seven: September 14, 1974 - March 8, 1975
Season Eight: September 17, 1975 - March 13, 1976
Season Nine: September 18, 1976 - March 26, 1977
Season Ten: September 17, 1977 - March 25, 1978
Season Eleven: September 16, 1978 - March 24, 1979
Season Twelve: September 15, 1979 - March 22, 1980
Season Thirteen: September 13, 1980 - March 21, 1981
Season Fourteen: September 12, 1981 - March 30, 1982
Season Fifteen: September 11, 1982 - March 19, 1983
Season Sixteen: September 17, 1983 - March 17, 1984
Season Seventeen: September 22, 1984 - March 16, 1985
Season Eighteen: September 21, 1985 - March 15, 1986
Season Nineteen: September 20, 1986 - March 28, 1987*
Season Twenty: September 19, 1987 - May 21, 1988**
Season Twenty-One: October 1, 1988 - May 20, 1989**
Season Twenty-Two: September 16, 1989 - March 24, 1990
Season Twenty-Three: September 15, 1990 - February 23, 1991***
Season Twenty-Four: January 4, 1992 - May 30, 1992^^
Season Twenty-Five: September 1992 - April 1993****

*-beginning with the 19th season, Roy Clark was joined each week by a different guest co-host.

**-There were no episodes that aired during the month of March during these production cycles. As a result, the season expanded further into the spring, to make up for the loss of air-dates.

^^-After the rural/backwoods version of the show was canceled in February 1991, the show went on a hiatus while producers/advertisers behind the scenes were plotting a new urban twist to the show. The new citified version of the show began in January 1992, the show's 24th season. The outcry from fans was so severe that the show went out of production in May upon the conclusion of it's 24th season.

***-Roy Clark became the solo host beginning with season 23.

****-This is the clip-filled season known as Hee-Haw Silver to commemorate the program's 25th season in syndication. After this clip-filled program wrapped up in the spring of 1993, reruns began to surface on The Nashville Network for a period of time.

A lot of the reruns that TNN aired were the late 1970's and early 1980's episodes. At one point in time TNN's Saturday night line-up was must-see television: Hee-Haw from 7-8pm; Opry Backstage from 8pm to 8:30pm; The Grand Ole Opry from 8:30pm-9pm; and the Statler Brothers show from 9pm-10pm.

After the reruns left TNN they began to air infrequently on CMT. There was never a serious effort on CMT's part to air the show and as a fan I felt insulted by the way CMT treated the program by not airing it on any consistent basis. TNN eventually ended it's run of country music oriented programming in 2000. It was renamed The National Network and consisted of reruns of mostly 1980's television programs. Later on the network was renamed again to Spike TV.

Hee-Haw currently airs Sunday nights at 8pm eastern on RFD-TV. The episode replays on Monday mornings at 10am eastern. The reruns that air are typically the earliest of episodes from 1969-1971. I've yet to see an episode on RFD-TV from the late '70s or the 1980's. I hope they start to air those episodes, too.

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