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 taped at WLAC-TV
(now WTVF) and Opryland USA 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 20 more years (though Owens departed in 1986).
The show was well known for its beautiful, voluptuous, scantily clad
women in stereotypical Southern farmer's daughter outfits and its campy
humor. Hee Haw was a quintessentially American show, which appealed to a
rural audience, and is virtually unknown outside of the United States.
Despite being one of the most successful syndicated television shows in
American history, many urbanites and those living in the suburbs of large
cities are and were unfamiliar with the show, while virtually everyone
living in rural America was and is familiar with Hee Haw.
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.
Original cast member David "Stringbean" Akeman was murdered
in 1973. Other cast members over the years included: Barbi Benton, Archie
Campbell, Don Harron (whose character, newscaster Charlie Farquharson,
later appeared on The Red Green Show), Hagger Twins, Gunilla Hutton (as
Nurse Goodbody) Grandpa Jones, George Lindsey (reprising his
"Goober" character from The Andy Griffith Show), Minnie Pearl,
Lulu Roman, Misty Rowe, Junior Samples, Gailard Sartain, Roni Stoneman,
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
- The Culhanes of Cornfield County (Segment on the crowded couch with
the hounds laying by them)
- Lulu's Truck Stop
- Junior Samples Used Car Sales (his phone number was BR 549)
- "Gloom, despair 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
- Grandpa and Minnie's Kitchen ("How-dee! Welcome to Grandpa and
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 artists
performing on the show include -- but are hardly limited to -- Roy Acuff,
Johnny Cash, Jesse Colter, Merle Haggard, Alan Jackson, 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.