"Hee Haw" a mixture of music and comedy skits was a staple of syndicated television for more than 20 years; originally, the show had aired on CBS, but was canceled in 1971 because the network thought it was "too rural." A majority of each week's "Hee Haw" shows included a series of skits, blackouts and corny jokes; however, the meat of series came from its music. Each week, two or three country music stars guested usually one or two of the guests being well-established, the others newer and up-and-coming stars as well as bluegrass, country gospel and other acts, singers and musicians popular with country audiences. During the final segment of each show, the Hee Haw Gospel Quartet (through the mid-1980s, usually co-hosts Owens and Clark, along with Kenny Price and Grandpa Jones) performed a gospel song. The shows were taped only a few weeks out of the year, usually weeks (and sometimes, months) in advance; that meant some of the short-lived "newer" acts had already lost their star power by the time the show they were featured in had aired. By the early 1990s, the show started to abandon its rural, barnyard set in favor of a nightclub setting, though popular "rural" settings were still used; that, plus the show's booking of newer pop-oriented country acts alienated more than a few longtime viewers, who believed "Hee Haw" should have maintained its traditional country focus. During the 1992-1993 season, Clark hosted a series which featured clips from classic "Hee Haw" shows, along with new footage. —Brian Rathjen <email@example.com>
Even though I'm not a big fan of country (the closest I will get to liking country is by listening to The Eagles or the Byrds), I have to hand it to this show. It managed to survive the infamous Rural Purge of 1971 and became a television institution. This show had to be one of the corniest (no pun intended) in the history of television and it in many ways it was a countryfied version of Laugh In. However, this show had a loyal following and it managed to show that Country music was still popular no matter how old Fred felt.
- Apr 28, 2003
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