Featuring country music and comedy with the fictional rural Kornfield Kounty as a backdrop, “Hee Haw” started as an American television variety show in the 1960s. It was forty-nine years ago, on June 15, 1969, to be exact, when Hee Haw made its premiere on CBS.
Roy Clark and Buck Owens hosted the show, which presented many periodic parodies and outlines. Hee Haw also welcomed guest artists often appearing in them along with the cast members. Hee Haw’s cast included the Hee Haw Honeys, a group of good-looking, somewhat inadequately dressed women. The series regulars were Irene Mandrell, Minnie Pearl, George Lindsey, LuLu Roman and Lindsey Thompson, among others.
Inspired by Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In, Hee Haw focused on the country life and music, set in the pretend Kornfield Kounty. The humorous cast and variety show was taped in Nashville, first downtown and then at the Opryland USA theme park. Hee Haw also featured musical performances, which were the only parts of the show that were taped live. Both guest performers and regular cast members, usually included one song at the start of the show from the entire cast, did the musical parts.
The First Show
Hee Haw first aired on CBS on June 5, 1969. It extended until 1971, shadowed by twenty years in local syndication. At the height of its popularity, the show was a feature in over fifteen million homes. Throughout the 70s and 80s, Hee Haw was to American television what Paul Harvey was to radio. It was a reliable voice in the stream of popular culture. It talks about the current trends and delivers content that complements the time.
When Hee Haw went off the air, replays commenced almost instantly. In the years since nothing has ever taken its place. It has created wonderful music in the country. With its traditional roots and mainstream appeal, Hee Haw stands as a visionary example of what American country music has become.
Would you want to witness this television show once again? Because we would.
buck owens, Hee Haw, roy clark
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