Monday, June 15, 2009

An Anniversary "SA-LUTE!" to the folks of Kornfield Kounty

One of the most popular and longest running variety shows in the history of television made it's debut 40 years ago on this date.

HEE HAW was a television variety show, co-hosted by musicians Buck Owens and Roy Clark, featuring country music and humor with fictional, rural "Kornfield Kounty" as a backdrop.

HEE HAW, sort of a country version of Rowan and Martin's Laugh In, was unlike anything else on television – a variety show that embraced the rural lifestyle of the South with skits, curvaceous country girls and the corniest jokes around.

The highlight of HEE HAW was the musical performances that filled each episode, not only by co-hosts Buck Owens and Roy Clark, but an array of country music superstars and singers on the rise performing music that ranged from classic country to contemporary, and gospel to bluegrass.

Virtually every major country superstar appeared on Hee Haw at one time or another – Charley Pride, George Jones, Conway Twitty, Sonny James, Ernest Tubb, Charlie Rich, Ray Price, Hank Williams Jr., Johnny Cash, Roy Acuff, Barbara Mandrell, Dolly Parton, Tammy Wynette, Loretta Lynn, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, the Statler Brothers, Alabama, George Strait, Alan Jackson, Travis Tritt, Vince Gill ... and many more.

But not all the guests on the show were from country music. Frequently, there were singers from other genres who became popular with country audiences, plus actors and comedians appeared as well.

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