Hee Haw TV Showcase for Country Music and Humor with Grandpa Jones

Hee Haw logo

Screenshot subject to fair use under US copyright law.Bing used for idnetifiaction and critical commentary
Screenshot subject to fair use under US copyright law.Bing used for idnetifiaction and critical commentary | Source

Becoming a fan

I’ll admit that I was not a fan of this show when it originally ran. I thought it was corny and demeaned “hillbillies.” I have come to the conclusion that the hillbillies themselves encouraged some of this stereotype because it sells. I have been watching reruns of the show and looking at other aspects of it. Yes, it is corny but I guess I’ve learned to like that. I have also learned a lot more about country music. Hee Haw showcased musicians such as Buck Owens, Roy Clark, Minnie Pearle and Grandpa Jones. The show had many other regulars and various county and western singers as guests.

The show was set in a fictional rural Kornfield Kounty. It was a summer replacement in 1969 for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. It ran from 1969-1971 and then had a 20-year-run in local syndication. It was dropped in 1971 because CBS executives thought that shows like this one along with The Beverly Hillbillies, Mayberry RFD, and Green Acres appealed to only a rural, older and less affluent audience. The reality was that the how was successful in all major markets, including New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.

The show was a take off of the Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-in and I personally was surprised to see Hee- Haw become more popular. It is currently being run on the RFD channel on Sundays.

Louis "grandpa Jones" it is reaonable to believe that this phot qualifies for fair use to identify the performer.
Louis "grandpa Jones" it is reaonable to believe that this phot qualifies for fair use to identify the performer. | Source

Canadians

For an American show it owes lot of creativity to Canada. Two of the three creators of the show were Canadians and comedy writers Frank Peppian and John Alysworth were also from Canada. Yongestreet Productions named after Yonge Street, which is a major Street in Toronto, produced it. Actually, it is no great surprise as many folk and country singers in America came in Canada. including Oscar brand, Joni Mitchell and Gordon Lightfoot.

When there was a decline in audience in 1991 and affiliate stations were dropping the show they tried to be more pop orientated to attract younger viewers. Another big mistake. They changed the scene from cornfields to city streets and shopping malls. The music became more po, but it only served to alienate its old audience.  In 1992 the series ended and went into syndication.

Buck Owens had left the show in 1986 leaving Roy Clark to carry the show with guest co-hosts.

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attribute picture to:http://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=User:CarlosManzanoPHOTOs&action=edit&redlink=1 | Source

New Show

In 1992 Roy Clark hosted the show called Hee Haw Silver hosting with some new material and classic clips. And ran during the 1992-1993 season as a commeration of their silver anniversary.

In 1993 the show had been on the air for21 years.

A sampling of the skits that I like

  • KORN news Charlie Fahquarson played by Don Harron would deliver the somewhat local news in his own inimitable way. He called Oprah Winfrey "Opry Windbag." Harron would later resurrect the character on The Red Green Show (from Wikipedia)
  • Samuel B. Sternwheeler Gordie Trapp spoofs Mark Twain giving homilies, which are usually nonsensical. He would then be hit over the head over given something that explodes in his face.
  • The Moonshiners Usually consists of two male cast members playing lethargic hillbillies and tell jokes while dozing on the floor near a bunch of jugs. There are scantily clad girls in the background. Beauregard the Wonders Dog a hound who is wondrously lethargic, I think, steals the scene.
  • Pickin’ and grinnin’ Buck Owens plays guitar and Roy Clark plays Banjo along with the whole cast. Sometimes a guest star would sit between them. They would play some music in a dueling style, tell jokes and recite one-liners.
  • Misty’s Bedtime Stories Misty Rowe a popular cast member is featured. Off stage grandpa Jones would whisper” and now it’s time for Misty’s bedtime stories” A lighted candle would be sitting on the night stand beside her bed and after she was through telling a bizarre story-sometimes a nursery rhyme rewritten, she would giggle, wink to the camera and blow out the candle.
  • Hey Grandpa! What’s for Supper These skits open with grandpa Jones cleaning a windowpane, however there is no glass in the window. The audience shouts “Hey, grandpa! What’s for supper?” He would usually describe a country style dinner such as chicken and biscuits smothered in rich gravy, and collard greens. Other times it might be a thawed out TV dinner.
  • Kornfield Kounty Operator service: Irene Mandrell is the Kornfield Kounty’s telephone operator. Who would answer phone calls from various residents who would eventually hang up in frustration. Then she would innocently say. “And they wonder why we operators turn gray!”
  • Little Yellow Chicken This was an animated chicken that mistook anything for an egg. It would sit on various items including a bomb. Other animated critters would appear throughout the show.

The show had numerous country stars such as Minnie Pearl. It had country music, bluegrass, gospel and other traditional styles.

I am sorry I missed out on it in earlier day or more to the point did not appreciate it for both humor and music.

© 2010 Don A. Hoglund

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Comments 16 comments

eovery profile image

eovery 6 years ago from MIddle of the Boondocks of Iowa

When I was young, this was a must see.

Keep on hubbng!


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Thanks for stopping by and commenting.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

I did not watch much of Hee Haw but did like The Beverly Hillbillies. The nice thing about all of these shows is that they will live forever in the land of syndication.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

The fact that I like this show now sort of shows how my taste in music has grown or decline by some peoples standards. Beverly Hillbillies was one of those can't miss shows for some. I only had an old TV in a rural town without very good reception so I didn't watch it originally. But What I saw was well acted with good jokes poking fun at the materialistic society.

Thanks for commenting.


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 6 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY

I didn't watch this show when it first came out. I was quite young then and had no interest in country music. It has rarely (if ever) been shown in syndication where I live, so I'm not too familiar with it. I do remember the infamous network purge that eliminated any show with a tree or a southern accent in it.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Thanks for the comment. I get it on the

RFD channel which is mostly about farm stuff. I don't know if that channel is available to you or not,


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

There are other shows I did not watch during their original runs but find them humorous in re-runs. Cheers is one that also spun off some other successful shows.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

I agree. I was never a big fan of Cheers but I think my wife and daughter were. Thanks for commenting.


KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

KoffeeKlatch Gals 6 years ago from Sunny Florida

I loved Hee Haw [ it was always good for a laugh. The music was great and I liked the characters. I think my favorite skit or segment was "Hey, Grandpa! What's for supper?'


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Thanks for commenting. My attitudes changed over the years so I have just gotten to like it in recent years.


datahound profile image

datahound 5 years ago from USA

I did watch Hee Haw a lot. I think Roy Clark is one great multi instrumentalist and Buck Owens carved out his own niche in country music called the Bakersfield sound. Listen to some early Dwight Yokum to hear his influence.

On the Hillbillie thing you got it right. It sold! My father in law studied medicine at Vanderbuilt and rented a room at a home that Minnie Pearl owned. She would fix all the med students food on Sat. then put on the Hat with the price tag and off to entertain at the Opry. She was a college graduate and far from a hillbilly. Another example was Homer and Jethro. Jethro (Ken Burns was his real name) was an accomplished jazz musician from Chicago but did the comedy country routine because it sold. He was also Chet Atkin's brother in law.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

I agree with what you say. I first got interested in Buck Owens when he did a duet with Dwight Yokum "The Streets of Bakersfield."

Thanks for your additional insights.


Truckstop Sally profile image

Truckstop Sally 5 years ago

Thanks for your hub and a walk down memory lane. I have not seen Hew Haw on re-runs, but I will look for it now. I think I remember a segment in the Kornfield -- always a pretty girl in "Daisy Dukes" . . .


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

They are being run on the RFD channel if you get that.Thanks for reading and commenting.


pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 20 months ago from sunny Florida

Hee Haw was a fun show to watch...the characters were amusing every time I tuned in (which was not too often as I am not too much on tv; do not even have it now)....but if I were to be entertained that was a show to do it.

You filled in a lot of the info I did not know about the producers and 'characters.' thanks for sharing

Angels are on the way to you this evening ps


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 20 months ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

I was not very much of a fan of country music at the time this show was originally broadcast and did not watch it. Later on my taste in music changed somewhat and I realized I was missing some great talents. Many of them are straight from the show "Grand Old Opry." Thanks for reading and commenting.

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