Hee Haw was a long-running television variety show hosted by Buck Owens and Roy Clark and featuring country music and humor with rural "Kornfield Kounty" as a backdrop. It was filmed in Nashville. The show's name was derived from the sound a donkey makes when it brays.
The show started on CBS as a summer 1969 replacement for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. It was dropped by CBS in 1971, along with fellow country shows The Beverly Hillbillies and Green Acres. It started airing in syndication, and continued in basically the same format for twenty more years (though Owens departed in 1986).
By 1991, a continued decline in its audience led to a dramatic change in setting, to a more urban location combined with more pop-oriented music. The new format lasted a single season, during which the show alienated many of its traditional viewers. In its final 1992 season, the now renamed Hee Haw Silver featured Clark hosting a mixture of classic clips and new footage.
After the show's syndication run ended, reruns aired on The Nashville Network until 1997.
Cast members over the years included Barbi Benton, Archie Campbell, Hagger Twins, Gunilla Hutton (as Nurse Goodbody) Grandpa Jones, George Lindsey (reprising his "Goober" character from The Andy Griffith Show), Minnie Pearl, Lulu Roman, Junior Samples, Gailard Sartain, and Gordie Tapp, among many others.
Recurring skits and segments
- "Where Are You Tonight?" (nonsense duet written by Campbell and Owens in the vein of "O Susana" and "Old Dan Tucker", for which a new stanza was written for each episode)
- "Hey Grandpa! What's for supper?"
- Minnie Pearl's schoolhouse
- Lulu's Truck Stop
- Junior Samples Used Car Sales (his phone number was BR 549)
- "Gloom, depair and agony on me/Deep dark depression, excessive misery/If it weren't for bad luck I'd have no luck at all/Gloom despair and agony on me"
- "Pickin' and Grinnin'" with Owens and Clark
- Hee Haw Gospel Quartet
- KORN-AM radio
The show's real legacy are the hundreds of performances of country music, bluegrass, gospel music, and other traditional styles. In addition to the regular performances by the hosts and cast members, guest arrtists performing on the show include Roy Acuff, Johnny Cash, Jesse Colter, Merle Haggard, Sonny James, Waylon Jennings, George Jones, Loretta Lynn, Barbara Mandrell, Roger Miller, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Ray Price, Charley Pride, Charlie Rich, Kenny Rogers, George Strait, Ernest Tubb, Conway Twitty, Tammy Wynette, Hank Williams Jr., and Faron Young, among others.
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