Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Hee Haw: 1969-1992, Part Fifteen...

As RFD-TV continues to air Hee Haw on Sunday night at 8pm (with a repeat airing the following Monday at 10am), the series has progressed into the 1973-1974 season. Sunday night's episode, originally broadcast in early 1974, was the last episode of the 1973-1974 season. It starred Lester Flatt with sporadic appearances by the other guest, Hugh Hefner. In addition to Lester Flatt, the rest of the music was provided by the show's regulars: co-hosts Roy Clark and Buck Owens plus Gunilla Hutton, Buddy Alan, and a song from the Hager twins. Marty Stuart fans should get a kick out of seeing that particular episode because Marty's featured in Lester's band. At that time Marty was 15 years old! These performances of Lester Flatt, for those who want to view it, are on You Tube at the moment. Marty's vocalizations are featured in the "Bluebirds are Singing For Me" and he plays mandolin, as I mentioned, on that performance as well as the earlier performance, "Salty Dog". I've embedded the performance where Marty is heard singing...



Sandwiched between all of this were the sing-a-longs with the cast and the recurring comedy sketches. Archie Campbell, in a few sketches, wore a bunny suit while trading one-liners with Hugh Hefner. There was a storytelling segment with Tennessee Ernie Ford which I assume had been taped well in advance due to the fact that he wasn't mentioned as a guest in the opening. He appeared in this form of sketch in several other episodes, too. Stringbean usually appeared as the headliner of this storyteller sketch, which always began with him announcing that he'd just received a letter from home, but for a series of episodes in late '73 through early '74 Tennessee Ernie Ford headlined this newer segment. The 'letter from home' phrase was only used during the sketches that starred Stringbean. The reason for this is explained in the 1996 book, Life in the Kornfield: My 25 Years at Hee Haw, from Sam Lovullo and Mark Eliot.

In the early '80s Grady Nutt would headline a similar sketch where he'd tell humorous stories with a religious overtone. In each of these various storyteller sketches a small collection of cast-members would be seated down in front...sitting either on crates or on bales of hay while the storyteller was often seated on a larger hay bale, elevated from those who were hearing the story. Whenever Jerry Clower guest starred, his appearances were taped in this fashion, too.  

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