I have been out of town for the past week in New Mexico speaking at a conference. I do like to travel. It’s fun and I enjoy the rest stops and all the trinkets and silly things that people always tend to buy. I love the open road on the highway and finally I take pleasure in coming home. So last night after a long trip on the road, it was great to be home. I was tired and actually quite beat. I sat in my recliner, turned on the TV, and there it was, in front of my eyes, in living color something I have not seen in years and years, and it got me thinking…
Hee Haw was a show my mother and father watched from the very first day it began in 1969 to the very last day it aired in 1993. It was the country version of Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-in, only filled with a bit of twang and music. Watching Hee Haw was like a family gathering. My father never missed it. He was a real disciple of Buck Owens and Roy Clark who hosted this show for twenty years.
I myself, who was not a country music fan, caught myself begrudgingly watching as I loved variety shows as a kid. I have to admit, there were times when I laughed at these country bumpkins from this TV fictional rural area known as “Kornfield Kounty”. Yes indeed there were some fairly funny skits. I think my favorite was the Gossip Girls. They sang a song that went like this;
“Now, we’re not ones to go ’round spreadin’ rumors
Why, really we’re just not the gossipy kind
No, you’ll never hear one of us repeating gossip
So you’d better be sure and listen close the first time!”
The girls would then start to gossip. For me it was funny because it described the very thing that surrounded me. Gossip is just what you did in those days, and I think I learned what gossip was at a very young age, so of course this skit made me laugh.
Variety shows in those days showcased regular skits. I enjoyed many of the skits of Hee Haw which included, The Moonshiners, Empty Arms Hotel, Colonel Daddy’s Daughter, The Cornfield, The Haystack, The Culhanes, Doc Campbell, Justus O’Peace, Misty’s Bedtime Stories and actually the list goes on for quite some time. There was a plethora of skits and guest stars.
Hee Haw attracted hundreds of celebrity guests from virtually every segment of the entertainment industry and not just country music. You never knew who would end up on the show, which made it even more fun to watch. In all reality, some of the regulars were a real hoot to watch. Minnie Pearl, Archie Campbell, George Lindsey (Goober) Alvin “Junior” Samples, David “Stringbean” Akeman, Barbi Benton, John Henry Faulk, Gordie Tapp, Grandpa Jones, Jeannine Riley, Grady Nutt all contributed humor to this one time number one show.
The show had a skit called Hee Haw Salutes where they would salute a selected town. So today, after seeing Hee Haw for the first time in probably 20 years, I salute Hee Haw with fond memories and a kind heart.