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Interesting Facts about ‘Hee Haw’ and Some of Its Biggest Stars

Rodolfo Vieira
Jun 21, 2020
04:00 P.M.
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"Hee Haw," the famous television show, was a massive success in its time. Though it was very much loved, some details about the show were kept from the public.

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The series is one of the few television programs that has left a lasting legacy in Hollywood after its debut on the CBS Television Network in 1969, having run for 28 years before ending in 1997.

It has been recognized for its incredible quality by the Country Music Hall of Fame, The Museum of Broadcast Communications, and The Museum of Television and Radio. Still, there are things fans might not know about it.

Country musicians Buck Owens and Roy Clark with fellow cast members of the TV show "Hee Haw" in 1969 | Photo: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Country musicians Buck Owens and Roy Clark with fellow cast members of the TV show "Hee Haw" in 1969 | Photo: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

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CREATED BY CANADIANS

Despite the portrayal of the humorous American lifestyle and the songs of the South, "Hee Haw" was created by Canadian writers Frank Peppiatt and John Aylesworth.

The duo found their inspiration to create a sketch comedy series after noticing how much success the then-popular variety show "Laugh-In" was achieving.

The Hagers, Don Rich, Lisa Todd, Jeanine Riley, Gordie Tapp, Junior Samples, Stringbean and Susan Ray, Lulu Roman, Archie Campbell and Grandpa Jones on "Hee Haw" in 1970 | Photo: Getty Images

The Hagers, Don Rich, Lisa Todd, Jeanine Riley, Gordie Tapp, Junior Samples, Stringbean and Susan Ray, Lulu Roman, Archie Campbell and Grandpa Jones on "Hee Haw" in 1970 | Photo: Getty Images

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ROY CLARK

Legendary singer Roy Clark co-hosted the NBC show "Swingin' Country," which ran for only a short time. This helped in recognizing his talents in a variety show setting.

The 85-year-old died at home after complications caused by pneumonia in 2018. H was known as a versatile artist capable of performing on stage and in front of the cameras.

US country musician Roy Clark (1933 - 2018) with his guitar in 1973 | Photo: Keystone/Getty Images

US country musician Roy Clark (1933 - 2018) with his guitar in 1973 | Photo: Keystone/Getty Images

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Harold Bradley, a fellow Hall of Famer, once described Clark as "honest." Bradley also praised his ability to shine and show his honesty while playing the guitar or singing.

Merle Haggard, Charley Pride, and Loretta Lynn were also part of the show in the first few episodes.

Clark also co-hosted "Hee Haw" with Buck Owens from the start of the series until his departure in 1986, and the two instantly had great chemistry.

Buck Owens on the left and Roy Clark on the right on "Hee Haw" in 1970 | Photo: CBS via Getty Images

Buck Owens on the left and Roy Clark on the right on "Hee Haw" in 1970 | Photo: CBS via Getty Images

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BUCK OWENS

Sadly Owens passed away back in 2006, at the age of 76, following a long and lucrative career in the music and entertainment industries. However, the Country Music Hall of Fame member was not a fan of the show.

Though a significant part of his fame could be credited to "Hee Haw," Owens heavily slammed the show in his book "Buck 'Em! The Autobiography of Buck Owens."

Buck Owens at the 24th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards at Disney Studio in Los Angeles, California | Photo: Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Buck Owens at the 24th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards at Disney Studio in Los Angeles, California | Photo: Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

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According to the singer, he only agreed to be a part of it due to the massive paycheck he was offered, adding that he couldn't turn it down for "just a few weeks of work twice a year."

He said that he kept selling himself out to that "donkey cartoon" and explained that his band, The Buckaroos, served as the house band while working on the series.

Buck Owens and Roy Clark performing in front of other cast members on the set of the television variety program 'Hee-Haw' in 1969 | Photo: CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images

Buck Owens and Roy Clark performing in front of other cast members on the set of the television variety program 'Hee-Haw' in 1969 | Photo: CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images

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LOVED BY THE KING

But while Owens didn't particularly enjoy the show, the King of Rock n' Roll Elvis Presley was a big fan of it and even wanted to make a guest appearance at one point.

His wish never came true, as he was never contacted by any of the producers. However, his father, Vernon Presley, appeared on the series and paid tribute to his beloved son.

Vernon Presley at the Philadelphia International Airport in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania | Photo: Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Vernon Presley at the Philadelphia International Airport in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania | Photo: Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

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THE WORK SCHEDULE

As hinted by Owens, the cast of "Hee Haw" only worked twice a year, and the reason behind this was connected to the different schedules and obligations of the cast and crew members.

The team would generally get together in Nashville, Tennessee, around June and October to film 13 episodes in a limited time frame, and everything worked like this for 25 seasons.

Jeanine Riley, Lisa Todd, Susan Ray and Stringbean; in front: Ray Clark, left, and Grandpa Jones on "Hee Haw" | Photo: Getty Images

Jeanine Riley, Lisa Todd, Susan Ray and Stringbean; in front: Ray Clark, left, and Grandpa Jones on "Hee Haw" | Photo: Getty Images

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LORETTA LYNN

Aside from Clark and Owens, other names such as Merle Haggard, Charley Pride, and Loretta Lynn were also part of the show in the first few episodes.

Lynn, who is regarded as one of the greatest of all times when it comes to country music, is currently 89 years old, but her spirit remains as young as ever as she just released her 50th studio album earlier this year.

Loretta Lynn on stage during Rodeo Austin at the Travis County Expo Center in Austin, Texas | Photo: Gary Miller/FilmMagic via Getty Images

Loretta Lynn on stage during Rodeo Austin at the Travis County Expo Center in Austin, Texas | Photo: Gary Miller/FilmMagic via Getty Images

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STILL KICKING

The 13-track album "Still Woman Enough" has the all-time classic "Coal Miner's Daughter" as its centerpiece, but fans will also find reinterpretations of "One's On the Way" and "You Ain't Woman Enough."

When asked what motivated her to release the album, Lynn said that singing and writing is just who she is and that doing it makes her feel "alive and happy."

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Lynn is a fantastic example of how someone can rise from poverty to become one of the most prominent superstars in the music industry, and, according to her, the secret is to never give up.

The country legend has no illusions and is well aware that not everyone who dreams of making it big in music will achieve that goal but believes it is worth trying. She said:

"You might be that special someone who's just got to keep working at it. When you stop dreaming, you stop living."

Clark and Owens never had to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, but Lynn seems to be holding on quite well, although she's been having a hard time being away from her family.

The 89-year-old explained that she has a big family, and the fact that they are not together is difficult, especially her grandchildren, whom she misses seeing running around all over the place.

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