Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Love Boat: 1977-1986...

A happy birthday greeting goes out to Gavin MacLeod...reaching 82. I usually don't pay attention to celebrity birthdays but I heard it was his birthday today and so I decided to make note of it. Why? Well, he was part of an ensemble cast on one of the classic television comedies of all-time plus he starred in another one of my favorite television programs. MacLeod portrayed Murray Slaughter in the 1970-1977 classic comedy, The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Prior to the role on Moore's sitcom he had a role in McHale's Navy as a character referred to as Happy Haines. On The Mary Tyler Moore Show, MacLeod's character was forever annoyed at Ted Knight's character, the often inept news reader Ted Baxter. The big reason stemmed from the fact that Murray wrote the news scripts for Ted's show...only to have Ted bungle his lines on a daily basis.

After Moore's program ended production in 1977 both Ed Asner and Gavin MacLeod starred in highly successful programs on into the 1980's. Asner, who had played Lou Grant on Moore's show for 7 years, starred as the same character in the dramatic Lou Grant series for five more years (1977-1982). MacLeod, on the other hand, landed the starring role on The Love Boat. In this series MacLeod portrayed Captain Merrill Stubing, a single father and captain of a cruise ship. The program featured a crew and loads of extra's in addition to guest stars each week. The program typically aired on Saturday nights on ABC-TV and was one of many programs airing on ABC that was associated with and, or, produced by Aaron Spelling and his associates. A companion series arrived in 1978 in the form of Fantasy Island. The weekly series was tested in 1977 via a made-for-TV movie and it became a series the following year...airing right after The Love Boat on Saturday nights. Fantasy Island starred Ricardo Montalban as Mr. Roarke and Herve Villechaize as Tattoo. Each program had a similar formula which consisted of special guests each week who often appeared in separate, unrelated story-lines that were ultimately tied together by episode's end.

The ship on The Love Boat served mostly as a backdrop as the crew and the Captain were rarely shown performing their duties. There were brief scenes in practically every episode showing Isaac the bartender, for example, serving drinks and cracking jokes with passengers but for the remainder of the episode he was often roaming around the ship mingling with the guests. The ship's doctor, Adam, occasionally shown his medical prowess but was much more interested in flirting with female passengers. The cruise director, Julie, was shown performing her tasks at the beginning and end of each voyage but like the other crew members she spent her time socializing.

It's long been something of a habit for some people to make fun of Charlie's Angels, The Love Boat, Fantasy Island, Dynasty, Hotel, and other programming associated with Aaron Spelling. The common criticism expressed is "escapist drivel" or "trash TV". Even today there's often some critic or blogger making fun of the celebrity guest star concept and making it sound as if every legendary actor and actress that guest starred on The Love Boat or Fantasy Island did so out of desperation in order to be in the spotlight again. How cynical can people be? The Love Boat, as well as Fantasy Island, are/were available on DVD. You can check Amazon and other on-line stores for DVD availability, obviously. I am not much of a watcher of television too much anymore unless it's a sports program or news and so I don't know if any of those programs are currently airing on TV Land or Nick-at-Nite. I saw some uploads of Fantasy Island on You Tube and they had a TV Land logo on the lower right side of the screen and so I know at one time it aired on that channel.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

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

This past Saturday, February 23, 2013 marked a little known anniversary in the life of the television series, Hee Haw. It was on a Saturday back on February 23, 1991...22 years ago to the day...that the series aired it's final first-run episode with it's rural decor. This was also, perhaps, the final time a lot of viewers seen the program as affiliate stations had been dropping the show during the previous couple of seasons and would continue to drop the program throughout the season. In a previous blog entry I remarked that I'd read where the show had reached a peak of affiliate stations during the mid 1980's (in the range of 220) but by the early 1990's the number of television stations airing the show had fell to a little more than 170...a drop of at least 50 stations within a 5 to 6 year time frame. A lot of factors played into that...there were more first-run syndicated programming hitting the air than in times past and some local stations were even creating their own programming rather than pay for outside shows to fill the local access time slots. There was a time when syndicated programs were considered inferior because they weren't a product of a network but my how times have changed. Since there have been many examples of successful syndicated programs lasting much longer than network programs there shouldn't be any inferiority directed toward syndicated programs. 

In the meantime, after Hee Haw went out of production in February 1991 it didn't return with new episodes until January 1992 and it was this series of programs that ultimately led to it's cancellation. Technically, the new look had been unveiled in the late fall of 1991 during a press release but the new episodes didn't hit the air for another few months. The 1992 episodes marked the program's 24th season.

The rural look and country fashions, which had been a staple of the show since it's 1969 debut, was gone, and it had been replaced with an urban look and uptown fashions. Also, in 1991, almost all of the cast-members and back-up singers who had been part of the show for more than 10 years, in some cases 20, were let go in favor of newcomers. There were only a handful of longtime cast-members who survived the fall 1991 make-over. The urban version of Hee Haw lasted until May 1992. In the fall Hee Haw Silver debuted, a retrospective series celebrating the program's 25th season. Roy Clark hosted this series and Cathy Baker provided the sign-off remarks. This retrospective was on the air from the fall of 1992 through the fall of 1993. As mentioned in previous blog entries Hee Haw left the syndicated television market in the fall of 1993 and jumped to cable (The Nashville Network) several weeks later for a highly successful three and a half year stay. Reruns of Hee Haw usually aired at 10pm Eastern on Saturday nights following the The Statler Brothers Show. Later in it's run TNN moved the show from 10pm to 7pm Eastern, the show's time slot for decades when syndicated. Repeats of the series left the TNN airwaves in 1997 for a brief run on CMT and then it vanished from cable television not long afterward.

Time Life, the famed mail order company, began releasing DVD's of the program in 2004 to retail outlets after having first sold episodes on DVD via infomercials. The DVD's, typically featuring episodes from the mid '70s, would ultimately go on to collectively sell more than 1,000,000 copies by March 2006. That July, CMT aired the series for the first time in more than 9 years when it aired a weekend marathon of episodes during July 29th through the 30th. The series was handed a TV Land award in April of 2007. It was one of the programs honored during the telecast...sharing the spotlight with Hee Haw that night were tributes to Lucille Ball, Taxi, The Brady Bunch, and the mini-series, Roots. Given the sales successes of the Time Life DVD's and the success of the CMT weekend marathon in the TV Land award in the spring of shouldn't have come as no surprise that the program remained just as popular as ever. As I pointed out in earlier blog entries I've written, the only reason that I feel that Hee Haw's "ratings went down" in the early '90s is because the program was losing affiliates...the program was not necessarily losing it's viewers voluntarily (television markets were taking the show away from it's longtime viewers).

If a syndicated program isn't being shown in as many television markets as before it's pretty much common sense that this turn of events will have an impact on the ratings.

The ratings successes on TNN and CMT during the early to late '90s and the sales successes of the Time Life DVD's in the middle part of the 2000's specifically demonstrate that the program had held on to it's fan base and possibly acquired newer fans during it's rerun cycle on TNN and the exposure that the program received in the DVD marketplace. The following year, news surfaced that Hee Haw would become part of the RFD-TV line-up. Reruns of the show hit the airwaves on Sunday night at 8pm Eastern in the fall of 2008, with an encore the following Monday at 10am Eastern, and they have aired in those two time-slots ever since.

RFD-TV debuted in 2000 as a satellite channel. Years later it spread it's availability to cable television and is part of many cable outlets across the country. In my area we finally started receiving RFD-TV on our cable line-up in 2010 during the channel's 10th anniversary...meaning that I had missed the episodes of Hee Haw that were airing during 2008-2009 (episodes originally broadcast on CBS during the summer of 1969, episodes that aired on CBS during the 1969-1970 season when it was added to the schedule as a mid-season replacement series, and finally the episodes that aired during it's one full season on CBS during the 1970-1971 season).

As was the case with TNN, CMT, and the DVD sales for Time Life, the show's become wildly popular all over again on RFD-TV. The channel airs the program in chronological order. Once a season of reruns has aired on the channel it re-airs those reruns to fill the summer gap and in the fall a new season of reruns hits the air. The channel is in it's fifth season of Hee Haw reruns and since it airs the reruns in chronological order they're into season five of the series (1973-1974). In January of 2012 a special program saluting the show aired on RFD-TV. It was titled Salute to the Kornfield. The continued popularity of the show, some 40+ years after it's debut, no doubt helped inspire the salute. Social media also played a part...clips of the show on You Tube have collectively been watched by hundreds of thousands of people. Those clips are no doubt being seen by a majority of people who weren't even born when the show was a weekly television program and some probably have only heard of the show in passing...others remark that the program was watched religiously by their parents, grandparents, or great grandparents.

Never a favorite among so-called 'hip' television critics and those who see themselves as urbane and sophisticated, Hee Haw nevertheless has kept a fiercely loyal fan base and it's continued airing on RFD-TV and it's exposure on You Tube and other social media outlets suggests that there will still be an audience for Hee Haw for generations to come and that's something everyone should be grinning about.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Guiding Light: 1937-2009...Part Nine

Uploaded in June of 2012 comes a You Tube clip of an episode of Guiding Light that originally aired on November 2, 1979. The clip, located below, starts off with a phone conversation between two of the greatest characters, Roger Thorpe and Alan Spaulding. Thorpe had been a character on the series since April 1971 while Spaulding and his family were part of a late '70s transitional period on the program where older characters and families that had been a focus since the '50s and '60s were slowly taking a backseat to newer families and characters. The German-immigrant Bauer family (Papa Frederich, Mama, Meta, Trudy, and Bill), originated on the series when it was broadcast on radio in 1948. Mama, however, died early on and so that left Frederich (who the children and friends alike called 'Papa') to move in with his son, Bill, and his wife, Bert. Trudy Bauer was written out by the early '50s. This left Papa, Meta, Bill, and Bert...those four characters became the focus all throughout the '50s and into the '60s with secondary characters and families providing additional story-lines. Meta, in fact, was the most popular Bauer family member from the late '40s through the mid '50s. Her misadventures and antics populated most of the earliest story-lines during that time period. On the show she went through many tragic plots and suffered through a series of ill-fated marriages before settling with a character named Bruce Banning, a doctor. This is who the character was married to when they left town in the early '70s. Meta, as mentioned, would remain on the series through the early '70s but by that time she had become a symbolic character rather than one that was featured in the on-going storyline. Bill and Bert Bauer's marriage and the fact that his father lived with them became the focal point in the mid '50s through the '60s.

Those families, specifically the Fletcher and Grant families, began to fade by the late '60s to where there were only a couple of characters left. When the focus of the series in the late '60s shifted from Bert and Bill Bauer to their two adult sons, lawyer Mike and doctor Ed, younger characters began to pop up and become part of the series. The two that spring to mind are Roger Thorpe and Holly Norris. The Norris family debuted in 1970 (Stanley, Barbara, Ken, Holly, and Andy) while Roger Thorpe and his father, Adam, arrived in 1971. Since the Bauer family had long been enormously popular and beloved by fans it was only natural for the Norris family and the Thorpe's to become enmeshed with the Bauer's.

The first bit of conflict between the Bauer and Norris families centered around Janet Mason, a woman that Ed Bauer had once had an affair with. Janet would marry newcomer Ken Norris but his insecurities and jealousies of Ed and any possible affection Janet may have for Ed made their marriage eventful. Adam Thorpe, in the meantime, worked for Stanley Norris' company. It's Stanley whose responsible for Holly and Roger meeting for the first time. Stanley, however, is later murdered...widow Barbara eventually falls for Adam Thorpe. Later in the series, Ken Norris attempts to murder Ed but shoots Ed in the hand, jeopardizing Ed's career as a surgeon. Ken, Janet, and their daughter eventually leave town and relocate to California. Holly, who has some sort of attraction to Roger, pines for him but he's involved with one of the last remaining Fletcher family members, Peggy. The two get married but it's short-lived. His affair with Holly leads to the marriage ending. Roger and Holly aren't free to marry though as she, in the meantime, married Ed Bauer during an intoxicated night in Las Vegas. She becomes pregnant, as a result of her brief affair with Roger, but she lies and convinces Ed that he's the baby's father. The baby is named Christina Bauer.

Adam and Barbara by this time have married. The Spaulding family arrive in town. Alan brings with him his wife, Elizabeth, and a son, Phillip. He also brings with him Spaulding Enterprises, the family business. Mike Bauer gets a job there as the company lawyer. Roger Thorpe as well as his father, Adam, are hired at the new company. Mike falls for Elizabeth. Adam doesn't last too long at the company but Roger becomes obsessed with being a success.

Throughout the rest of the '70s (1977-1979) and into 1980 the story-line of Roger/Holly/Ed/Rita/Alan would be as complex and fascinating as one could imagine. An additional story-line of Alan/Elizabeth/Mike plus an Alan/Elizabeth/Jackie/Justin story successfully managed to cause the Alan Spaulding character to become one of the most popular in daytime television. A lot of that, also, had to do with the character's actor, Chris Bernau. Roger was portrayed by Michael Zaslow. He and Bernau originated the roles of Roger and Alan and it was in the late '70s time period where the two characters formed a short-lived alliance...neither trusted the other...and each was always attempting to outwit the other in anything they did.

So, this brings us to the clip. Aired originally in November 1979 it shows the interplay between the two characters and how those two characters played a part in the lives of Ed Bauer and his wife, Rita. By this time both Ed and Roger are aware of the true origins of Christina...even though Ed continues to act as the kid's father. This created tension for Rita, who felt that Ed's raising of Holly's daughter meant that he must have some lingering feelings for Holly. She ended up having an affair with Alan which continued after her divorce from Ed and Alan's future marriage to Hope (Mike Bauer's daughter). Roger, in the meantime, had married Holly (at last!) but he was extremely jealous over Ed's involvement in Christina's life and in what he saw as Holly's friendly attitude with Ed and the rest of the Bauer's. In his mind, the Bauer's were mortal enemies and it sickened him that his daughter was being raised by Ed. It became an obsession of his to reveal to his daughter that he was her biological father. Holly had raised Christina into thinking that Roger was just a 'family friend'. Keep in mind that Christina was written to be around 6 or 7 years old.

Roger eventually raped Holly. He had raped Rita in a previous story-line. Rita kept her rape a secret but Holly took Roger to court. This brought Ross Marler to town to defend Roger. The trial and it's aftermath, including Rita's admission of being raped by Roger, set off a chain reaction of events...leading Roger to flee the country and become a fugitive and it's during his run from the law that this clip originated. Alan was being blackmailed into funding Roger's escape.

I think I've probably confused many readers with that long introduction but I feel it necessary when setting up the history of the two characters.

Enjoy the show...

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Jerry Clower: 1926-1998...

I came across a recent upload of a commercial that Jerry Clower taped at some point in the latter half of his career.

Here's the commercial he did for Electric City. I have no idea of the year it was taped but you'll notice that it was meant to air during Christmas season. I assume it was taped in 1989 and the only reason I say that is because that was the year he issued a comedy album called Let There Be Light!

I only saw Jerry Clower in person once and that was an outdoor appearance at a local county fair in 1995. The comedy album out that year from Clower was Fishin', Frogs, Hogs, and Dogs...or as it's spelled on the CD cover, Fish'n, Frogs, Hawgs, and Dawgs. On the cover it shown an illustrated picture of Clower and the animals depicted in the CD's title. One of the other subjects depicted on the CD's cover is a fishing lure known as the Helicopter Lure. He and Roland Martin taped an infomercial for it in 1995 and it became a sensation that year in the sport of fishing. The stories were recorded during a concert he did in Renfro Valley, Kentucky.

The same year Clower had a supporting role in the Ray Stevens direct-to-video movie, Get Serious!. Clower played the part of Ray's manager, The Colonel. A picture of Ray as Gitarzan and Clower in his Colonel attire is seen in the last panel of the film strip on the back of the home video. This wasn't the first time Jerry and Ray teamed up. Earlier, in 1986, Ray released a comedy single titled "Southern Air". The writers are Brent Holmes and Stuart Dill. In the recording Ray plays the part of a nervous passenger while Jerry plays the pilot and Minnie Pearl is on hand as the flight's stewardess. The recording can be found on Ray's 1986 comedy album, Surely You Joust. During his career, Jerry Clower was part of three long-running programs. In 1973 he became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. The same year he became the co-host of a radio program called Country Crossroads whose other host was songwriter and Texas disc jockey, Bill Mack. The association with these two programs would last 25 years...ending in 1998, the year that Clower passed away. August 2013 will mark 15 years since his death at the age of 71 in 1998. He was born in September 1926 and was nearly a month shy of reaching 72. (September 28, 1926 - August 24, 1998). A third long running program was the weekly television show Nashville on the Road that aired in syndication. Jerry co-hosted this show with Jim Ed Brown from 1975 through 1981. Another element of his visibility were the various local television commercials that he taped. His image (on TV) and voice (on radio) became associated with numerous products. One of those commercials, of course, is embedded near the top of this blog entry. Obviously the biggest reason for his visibility were his comedy new release per year on MCA Records from 1971 through 1995 and then he emerged with a new one in 1997 and that was followed by what became his final project, Peaches and Possums, released in the late fall of 1998, a few months after his death. There wasn't a new album issued in 1996, his Silver Anniversary with MCA Records, and perhaps that was MCA's way of thanking him for 25 years of laughter and recordings by giving him "the year off" but that's just a guess. As mentioned, a new album hit the market in 1997 titled Live At Dollywood featuring an illustration of Clower wearing a Dolly Parton wig.

I have all of his albums and a few of the compilation/best of releases, too, like Classic Clower Power. You can search the internet for a lot more information on his life and career...he had a rather lengthy association in the Agriculture and Chemical businesses prior to his entrance into the world of country comedy in 1971 (he was in his mid 40's at that point in time). A lot of his experiences as a boy growing up in the depression-era South were spoke of in his comedy stories as was his strong religious values, his experiences in the military during World War Two, his days playing football in college and his later career paths in Agriculture and as a salesman for the Mississippi Chemical Corporation. Almost all of his stories incorporated the antics of a family referred to as The Ledbetter's (two parents and nine children altogether!). The most popular members of the family were Uncle Versie, Marcel, Newgene, and Clovis even though at one time or another each of the siblings individually took center stage in at least comedy story. There was one story titled "Burning Building" from 1978 which featured ALL of the Ledbetter's as member's of a volunteer fire department and the chaos that ensues as a result. In later years he spoke of distant relatives, newcomers, and in-laws to the Ledbetter family in addition to the core line-up of 11.

In addition to those kinds of family-driven stories he also offered contemporary experiences touring the country, meeting celebrities, life in Yazoo City, Mississippi and his return to the area he grew up, Liberty, Mississippi, in the mid '90s.

The raccoon became something of a logo due to his breakthrough release in 1971 titled "A Coon Huntin' Story". On stage he'd most often appear in either a red, orange, brown, or blue dinner jacket with a face of a raccoon embroidered on his lapel. He also wore yellow suits but didn't wear them too often...he has a comical reason as to why he stopped wearing the yellow suit. Eventually he settled on just wearing a bright red suit since that was the color that he said most of his fans liked seeing him in the best. In addition to the raccoon and the Ledbetter's, hunting dogs were another consistent subject in a lot of his stories. In 1982 he issued an album titled Dogs I Have Known. The most popular hunting dog in his stories was a dog named Hi-Ball. He also spoke of a couple of other dogs named Brummie and Little Red. In a story that appears on the 1982 album he does an entertaining impression of a mean, aggressive and downright insane dog named "Ol' Blue" and the misadventures that happen when he's taken out into the woods on a hunting trip. His passion for the military was on full display in the 1985 album, An Officer and a Ledbetter. The album opened up in an unusual way in that we hear Clower speaking to a pilot. The routine is titled "Fox 12...Over...". Afterward the main part of the album begins.

There are two stretches of highway in Mississippi named in his honor. There is Jerry Clower Blvd. in Yazoo City, Mississippi and the Jerry Clower Highway near his birthplace of Liberty, Mississippi. It was in the mid '90s that he opened up an intimate museum, in his backyard, housing the various certificates, awards and music industry plaques he had received during his lifetime. He often appeared on Family Feud whenever the program did charity driven episodes featuring country music personalities. On some of his early to mid '80s albums he tells stories about his appearances on the game show.

Jerry Clower: 1926-1998.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Jumpin' Jack Doritos...

One of the things that I've been purchasing frequently when I stop inside a local U.D.F store is this Jumpin' Jack Doritos item. Usually whenever I walk down the potato chip and nacho aisle of any store I keep my eye open for any kind of 'new' flavor that I may want to try out. Like everyone else I, too, have certain flavors of chips/nachos that I won't even attempt to eat and then there are flavors that I'm more in favor of purchasing. Ironically, though, I have never spotted these pepper jack flavored Doritos in any of the local Wal*Mart stores. The only place I've seen them for sale is in a United Dairy Farmers location. Also, they're only available at that store in this smaller size. I haven't seen any family size bags of Jumpin' Jack Doritos, yet. I often buy pepper jack cheese anyway and so I knew when I saw this brand of Doritos that I'd more than likely love how they taste and I do. I've never been a fan of anything "super hot" or "super spicy" and so I've stayed away from products branded with the name Habanero and I stick with what I feel are less spicy offerings such as the original Doritos, the ranch flavored Doritos, the taco Doritos, or this current limited edition Jumpin' Jack Doritos.  

Thursday, February 7, 2013

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

Yesterday an interesting behind-the-scenes clip about Hee Haw was uploaded onto You Tube. The clip comes from a news program from 1979 and so it's a report conducted when Hee Haw was still in production. There are a few glitches in the video but it doesn't take away from the priceless footage of seeing a typical taping session from the television studio that the show taped their programs in through 1980. You'll notice how small the studio is and you'll also see the show's producer give a brief run down on how the show is put together, in batches, and edited together to comprise 13 episodes. Typically there were 13 episodes put together in the late spring/summer and another 13 in the fall to make up a 26 episode television season.

This station promo below was uploaded in 2010 but I decided to embed it here, too. I may have embedded this back then but it's been nearly 3 years ago! From the sound of the promo it appears that Hee Haw was just starting to air for the first time on that station. The clip is from some point in the early to mid '80s. I assume the station aired the show on a delayed basis considering the official airtime for new episodes was 6pm locally in Nashville, Tennessee each Saturday evening and on this channel it aired at 4:30pm on Saturdays. In my area it most often aired throughout much of the 1980's at 7pm on Saturday and then it moved to the afternoons in the early 1990's.

Monday, February 4, 2013

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

Good Monday morning...I caught the latest episode of Hee Haw this morning on RFD-TV. It originally aired on the channel Sunday night at 8pm but I caught the re-airing this morning at 10am. The guests were Ernest Borgnine and it featured George Lindsey as a guest as well as Lulu Roman. Lindsey had been a recurring cast member since 1972, often appearing in the Goober character made famous on The Andy Griffith Show, and on this week's episode he appeared as Goober in a brief sketch with Gordie Tapp. The show aired for the very first time on September 14, 1974. It was the first episode of the 1974-1975 season. As many readers of this blog series are aware, RFD-TV airs the show in chronological order, and then it goes into a repeat cycle before the next season of shows air. As a result, RFD-TV is airing episodes that have never been broadcast since that point in time. In the 1990's The Nashville Network aired repeats of the show and there were a lot of mid '70s episodes shown but even more were from the early to mid '80s.

As far as the music goes for this episode we had Buck Owens performing the comical "It's a Monster's Holiday"; The Hager Twins sang a song titled "Cherry Pie", at least that's what I assume the title is since it was repeated frequently; Roy Clark performed "Honeymoon Feeling"; Ernest Borgnine, in a group sing-a-long, performed "I'm Looking Over a Four Leaf Clover"; Buck also performed "Pure Love". George Lindsey sang a novelty titled "I Like Ugly Girls", featuring Roni Stoneman in her Ida Lee characterization. There was a banjo performance featuring Roy Clark, Buck Trent, Grandpa Jones, Roni Stoneman, and Bobby Thompson. Earlier there was a brief performance featuring Buck Trent on the banjo and Roy Clark playing the fiddle. Lulu Roman closed the show singing a gospel song.

In the comical sketch department we had Roy Clark as western hero, Randolph Roy. In this sketch we saw George Lindsey and Gailard Sartain cast as villains of a western town. Archie Campbell played the bartender, Gordie Tapp portrayed his philosophical character, while Ernest Borgnine played the bar's piano player. Borgnine's character was shot and died in a comically elaborate fashion...causing Lindsey to look into the camera and make reference to Borgnine's award winning reputation. Also on hand were the Gossip Girls sketch plus Lulu's Truck Stop; Grandpa and Minnie's Kitchen; The Naggers; Pickin' and Grinnin'; Justice O'Peace; Archie's Barber Shop; The Moonshiner's; Pffft! You Was Gone!; Minnie's School House; Doc Campbell; Gloom, Despair, and Agony; Gordie, as a city slicker, attempting to mock and tease Goober; plus there were the usual silent sight gags and animated characters popping up on screen. Empty Arms Hotel had an appearance as did Junior's Used Cars and the sketch with Minnie and her quilt. Kenny Price was featured as a train station clerk, a role he'd play with much more frequency in later years.

One of the things that was a bit out of the ordinary is the opening sketch with Roy and Ernest Borgnine. It played prior to the show's official opening. It featured the two on the Moonshiner's set, concluding with a line from Borgnine referring to his guest appearance on the show, and then the familiar opening was underway.