Recurring Sketches and Segments
Some of the most popular sketches and segments on Hee Haw included:
- "PFFT! You Was Gone!" : A comedic duet featured on the premiere episode and holds firm as one of the series' most famous and endearing sketches. In early seasons, the song was performed by Campbell and Tapp (both with solemn looks on their faces), in the vein of folk songs like "Oh! Susanna" and "Old Dan Tucker". In later seasons, Tapp would be increasingly replaced by that episode's guest singer, or another surprise celebrity (normally if it were a guest, his or her name would be included in the lyrics of the song before they would sing the refrain). Tapp, or whoever it was, would often stand with their back to the viewer while Campbell sang the new, humorous verse solo, holding a scythe. At the end of the verse, Campbell would nudge Tapp or the guest with his elbow as a form of slapstick timing, who would then spin around (Tapp would react as if awoken by the elbow) to join him on the chorus:
- "Where, oh where, are you tonight?
- Why did you leave me here all alone?
- I searched the world over, and I thought I'd found true love,
- You met another, and PFFT! You was gone!"
The "PFFT" would be done as "blowing a raspberry", and occasionally, they would break up into laughter after the "PFFT", unable to finish the song (Who got spat upon during the "PFFT" would change each show.) Following Campbell's death, whole groups and even women would be part of the refrain, with regular George Lindsay often singing the first verse. Occasionally, in the later years, Roni Stoneman (in her role as Ida Lee Nagger) would sometimes do the first verse. In some episodes, which had several major guest stars, the routine appeared several times in the show so that each guest would have the chance to be part of this tradition.
"Hee Haw" magazine (Vol. 1, No. 2, July 1970, A Charlton Publication) attributes this song to Susan Heather (a pseudonym used by Marian B. Yarneall), (c) 1952, 1965 by Mamy Music Corp out of Paoli, Pa. Later references show copyrights held by Gaylord Program Services, Inc. out of Nashville, TN, but this may be because Gaylord holds the copyrights for "Hee Haw." It appears that this song Phfft! you were gone, with lyrics and arrangement by Ms. Heather, was originally composed as a Gospel tune. Bob Newman recorded a hillbilly music version of this song on July 3, 1952 as the second single for his 45 record (Catalog #1131) mastered at King Records. Subsequently, this song was then reissued on his "The Kentucky Colonel" album in 1959. Mr. Newman is listed as a comedian, so it is probable that this version was the first parody of the original Gospel song. Later artists performing comical versions of this song included Archie Campbell on his Have A Laugh On Me album in 1966, and Buck Owens on his album Too Old To Cut The Mustard in 1972.
- KORN news : A newsbreak-esque skit in which Charlie Fahrquarson (Don Harron) would deliver the somewhat local news in his own inimitable way. KORN would become in the later years of the show, KORV. Harron would later resurrect the character on The Red Green Show.
- Lulu's Truck Stop : Lulu Roman owned this greasy spoon, where the food was usually pretty bad; Gailard Sartain was also in this skit as the chef Orville.
- Hee Haw Players : Cast members take on some of the Shakespeare classics, with some unexpected twists.
- Hee Haw Amateur Minute : A showcase of some of the worst talent of all. A cast member would play some yokel who would have some kind of bad talent, which would almost always end up with the audience booing it; throwing vegetables and the hook operator yanking said act forcibly off the stage. After the skit, five animated cartoon animals (a duck, a sheep, a pig, a chicken and a goat) would appear onscreen booing, as well.
- Samuel B. Sternwheeler : Gordie Tapp in a spoof of author Mark Twain giving off some homilies which undoubtedly made little or no sense whatsoever. After these recitations, he would most often be hit over the head with a rubber chicken, or in later years be given a bomb or something that would eventually explode.
- Stringbean's Letter From Home: Cast members would sit around a barn porch setting, listening to Stringbean read a letter that he receives from home. The letters often included stories delivered in punch line format.
- The Haystack : A male cast member and a woman (usually one of the Hee Haw Honeys ) talk about love issues while sitting at the haystack (the skits began with just the top of the haystack on camera and then panned down to reveal the couple).
- Colonel Daddy's daughter : Marianne Gordon was the pampered southern belle daughter of her Colonel Daddy (Gordie Tapp). She would sit on the swing at her plantation home, and would speak about the generosity of her Daddy. In later installments Tapp's character would hardly be seen at all but was always referenced to by his spoiled daughter.
- The Moonshiners : Shown most frequently, were one or two of the male cast (playing a couple of lethargic hillbillies) who would lazily tell a joke while dozing on the floor near a bunch of moonshine jugs and Beauregard the Wonder Dog (Kingfish the Wonder Dog in earlier shows), with scantily dressed girls in the background.
- School Scenes : There were always school scenes during the show's run. At first, it was with Jennifer Bishop and Lulu Roman as the put-upon teachers, with most notably, Junior Samples and Roy Clark as the students. When Minnie Pearl joined the cast, they had a larger classroom scene with, at first, real children as the students, but would later return to the cast members playing children, with Minnie still as the teacher.
- The Culhanes : The adventures of the Culhane family, depicted as all they did was sit on an old-fashioned sofa in the parlor, which focused on Cousin Clem Culhane (Gordie Tapp); Cousin Junior Culhane (Junior Samples); Cousin Grandpa Culhane (Grandpa Jones); and Cousin Lulu Culhane (Lulu Roman) who would sit in deadpan character and comment, à la soap opera. After the death of Junior, his role was filled by cast-member Mike Snider in the role of Cousin Mike, of course.
- Pickin' and Grinnin' : Musical interludes with Owens (on guitar) and Clark (on banjo) and the entire cast. (Owens: "I'm a-Pickin' !" Clark: "And I'm a-Grinnin' !"), with the duo (and sometimes a guest star sitting between Buck and Roy) 'dueling' by playing guitar and banjo to the tune of "Cripple Creek", telling jokes and reciting one-liners. The sketch always ended with Roy's banjo solo, each time ending a different comical way. At first it was just Roy and Buck, and later on the entire cast joined in. By the time the entire cast joined in, the sketch was introduced by Cathy Baker.
- Samples Sales : Used car salesman role for Junior Samples, with Misty Rowe as his later assistant, in his guise as a magician called Junior the Great, would try to palm off a major 'clunker' and then hold up a sign to remind viewers that his phone number was "BR-549". It was changed to "BR-1Z1Z", in the show's later seasons. (At that time, local phone calls in virtually all of the US required dialing seven-digit numbers.) The reason for the change from BR-549 to BR-1Z1Z was during the 1980 season, Junior gave up the car lot and became a "consumer advocate" whose job was to save the public from dishonest people like himself. The next season he went back to the car lot gig but changed the number. (Hee Haw tapes were later sold using the "800" number 1-800-BR54949; also, the country music group BR5-49 adopted the number as the name of their band.)
- "Gloom, Despair and Agony On Me" : Another popular sketch usually performed by four male cast members (originally and usually Roy Clark; Gordie Tapp; Grandpa Jones and Archie Campbell) sitting around in hillbilly garb surrounded by moonshine jugs and looking overtly miserable. The song began with the chorus, which all of them sang with each one alternating (in lip-synch) a mournful howl after each of the first three lines. The chorus went:
- "Gloom, despair and agony on me-e!
- Deep dark depression, excessive misery-y!
- If it weren't for bad luck I'd have no luck at all!
- Gloom, despair and agony on me-e-e!"
Each of the quartet would sing one line of the verse- a different one for each performance, followed by each cast member reciting some humorous reason for his misery in spoken form, then (in the first several seasons) the quartet would reprise the chorus and end with all four sobbing in typical overstated manner. (In later seasons the female cast got their own version of the song, first just lip-synching the male vocals, but later getting their own feminized version complete with female howls of mourning.)
- The Gossip Girls : Musical pieces featuring various female members of the cast surrounding a washtub and clothes wringer singing:
- "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 song featured a new verse every episode. Misty Rowe, a mainstay member of the "Gossip Girls", would enhance the comedy of the sketch by singing her part of the verse out of tune (as a young child would do). In later years, the guys, in drag, would sometimes replace the girls in the skit, in retaliation for the girls singing "Gloom, Despair...".
(In earlier seasons, the "Gossip Girls" and "Gloom, Despair.." sketches would both end with a repeat of the song's chorus, but in later years that practice was eliminated.)
- "Hee Haw Salutes..." : Two or three times in each episode, Hee Haw would salute a selected town (or a guest star's hometown) and announce its population, which was sometimes altered for levity, at which point the entire cast would then 'pop up' from the cornfield, shouting "SAA-LUTE!!" (sometimes after the salute, Archie Campbell would pronounce the saluted town spelled backwards. Example: "Remember, 'Franklin' spelled backwards is 'Nil-knarf'.")
- The Fence : Two or three times during each show a cast member, standing in front of a high wooden fence, would tell a one liner joke. (Example: "I crossed an elephant with a gopher." Everybody in unison: "What'ja get?" "Some awfully big holes in the backyard.") Regardless of whether the joke teller was female or male, a portion of the fence would swing up and hit them on the rear end after the punch line was delivered.
- Archie's Barber Shop : Scenes with Archie Campbell, regular customer Roy Clark, and two or three other regulars sitting in the "waiting chairs" (on lesser occasions Junior Samples would be the one going into the barber's chair). Campbell would share comic dialog with Clark (Campbell's legendary "That's Good, That's Bad" routine immediately comes to mind) or tell one of his "backwards fairy tales" such as "Rindercella".
- Doc Campbell : This long-running skit featured Archie Campbell playing the part of a doctor who often gave out terrible advice and bizarre medical "facts". Patients would often be one of the show's cast-members. The skit is also remembered for cast-member Gunilla Hutton's role as the doctor's assistant, Nurse Good-Body. Sometimes the skits would feature only the doctor and his nurse...with Archie hollering "Nurse Goodbody! Nurse Goodbody! Get in HERE!" to which she'd come into the scene looking nervous.
- Justus O'Peace : This recurring skit featured Archie Campbell as a judge who wore what looked to be a bowler hat, a red undershirt, and suspenders sentencing people to long jail time for some of the most silly misdemeanor "crimes". Years later Archie's son, Phil Campbell, as well as Gordie Tapp appeared in a recurring skit about two police officers..the skit's name escapes me at the moment. They also did a courtroom skit with Dub Taylor as the judge and Gailord Sartain playing his "Cletus Biggs" character (see Biggs, Shy, & Stir).
- Professor Campbell : This recurring segment featured Archie Campbell dressed in a graduate's gown telling viewers the meaning of words, with a comic twist...sometimes wads of paper would fly into the scene as a way of punishing the bad joke that was told.
- Gordie's General Store : Gordie operating a general merchandise store. It was also a place where one of the cast would tell a comedic story. In later years the focus shifted from Kornfield Kounty residents stopping by to the comedic banter of Gordie and Gailord Sartain, who played the role of the incompetent Maynard, who often would send Gordie into fits of anger or agony by the skit's end.
- Misty's Bedtime Stories : This skit featured bedtime stories delivered by Misty Rowe, one of the more popular cast-members. Grandpa Jones would be heard off-camera whispering "And now it's time for Misty's bedtime stories". A lighted candle would be sitting on the night stand beside her bed and after she was through delivering one of her bizarre stories, sometimes a re-written nursery rhyme, she'd giggle, wink to the camera, and blow out the candle...end of skit.
- Empty Arms Hotel : Roy Clark as the head desk clerk at one of the few accommodations in all of Kornfield Kounty, who would pop up from behind the front desk after the bell was rung.
- Goober's Garage : George Lindsay was the star of this regular skit where he'd play his Andy Griffith role, often talking about cars and jalopies with whichever cast member that appeared in the skit that week. Sometimes non cast-member Jack Burns would appear in the skit as the city slicker/con-artist type trying to pull a fast one with Goober emerging more intelligent. For a period of time in the early 1980s cast-member Chase Randolph was in the skit and played a mechanic often being flirted with by a gang of women. The joke is that Chase was more interested in fixing up cars while Goober often offered to go out with the girls instead...only for the women to ignore his requests and look disgusted.
- "Hee-Haw's All-Jug Band" : A musical segment, featuring most of the female cast members, singing a comical song, in which the punch line differed each week. Regular, Lulu Roman, "played" moonshine jugs (by which, she would blow air over the spout, creating a "humming sound"), which partially explains the segment's title (as well as the fact that "jugs" is a dysphemism for breasts). Minnie Pearl introduced the segment each week, loudly announcing, "We're gonna play now!"; at the end of the song, she would similarly conclude "We're through playin' now!"
- "Hey Grandpa! What's for supper?" : Grandpa Jones is cleaning a window pane (with no glass in it) and recites a dinner menu in poetic verse. Often, he would describe a delicious, country-style meal (e.g., chicken and biscuits smothered in rich gravy, and collard greens), and the audience would reply approvingly, "yum-m yum-m!"; although sometimes he would serve a less than spectacular meal (thawed out TV dinners), to which the cast would reply, "yuck!" One notable run-through of the routine had Grandpa saying "Ah ain't got nuthin' !", which would be the only time he ever got booed during this routine.
- JerryRalphRVBobBeavis : This is a skit that appeared mostly in the 1980s and it featured Gailord Sartain as the owner of a small store/flea market attempting to sell junk. The skit would start with a hand-held camera zooming up to the front door and the door being flung open to reveal the fast-talking salesman standing behind the counter surrounded by the junk he was trying to sell. The character was a clown...with red cheeks and wild clown hair...and the running joke was his attempts of becoming a big singing star and in every skit just as he was preparing to pull out a guitar and start to sing, the camera would zoom out and the door swing shut.
- Biggs, Shy, & Stir : This featured Gailord Sartain as "Cletus Biggs of Biggs, Shy, & Stir - Kornfield Kounty's most honorable law firm - where our motto is, 'When in doubt, sue!'" He would advertise the week's "special" such as "Sue Your Parents Week" or "Sue Your Teacher Week", etc. He always closed by saying, "Remember, we're in the alley behind the courthouse above the pool hall!"
- The Cornfield : Vignettes patterned after Laugh-In's "Joke Wall," with cast members and guest stars 'popping up' to tell jokes and one-liners. Until his death, "Stringbean" played the field's 'scarecrow,' delivering one-liners before being shouted down by the 'crow' on his shoulder; after his 1973 murder, he was not replaced, and the 'scarecrow' simply was seen in the field as a memorial. On occasion, personalities from TV stations that carried Hee Haw would appear in this segment with Owens or Clark.
- The Naggers : Routines with Gordie Tapp and Roni Stoneman as LaVern and Ida Lee Nagger, a backwoods bickering couple, inspired in part by the radio comedy The Bickersons. Kenny Price made occasional appearances (starting in 1974) as their son Elrod; and Wendy Suits of the show's background singing group, The Nashville Edition, would sometimes play Ida Lee's equally nagging mother.
- Kornfield Kounty Operator Service : Irlene Mandrell as Kornfield Kounty's telephone operator (similar to Lily Tomlin's more famous character, Ernestine Tomlin) would answer phone calls from various Kornfield Kounty residents, who would eventually hang up in various degrees of frustration, causing the Operator to often say, innocently, "And they wonder why we telephone operators turn gray!"
- Grinder's Switch Gazzette : This skit featured Minnie Pearl as a newspaper worker who often insisted that her mute secretary, Miss Honeydew, take down an "important" news item which was always nonsense.
- About 200 Years Ago : This skit which ran during 1975-76 (to coincide with the Bicentennial Year 1976) was a parody of CBS' "Bicentennial Minutes"; in it, Grandpa Jones would deliver a fractured historical "fact" about the Revolutionary era.
- Hee Haw Honky Tonk : When the Urban Cowboy craze was in full swing, Hee Haw had its honky tonk, where all the cast would throw out their one liners. The Honky Tonk was replete with its mechanical bull; and often showed Ida Lee Nagger (Roni Stoneman) chasing men with a net. This was patterned after the Party on Laugh-In.
- Kurl Up and Dye : This is a skit from its later years which featured several of the cast-members in a beauty parlor where they'd gossip..from time to time Gailord Sartain would appear in drag as one of the fussy women.
- Fit as a Fiddle : This skit ran in the 1980s to coincide with the aerobic dancing craze of that period. The skit featured several of the female cast members delivering one-liner jokes while aerobic dancing.
- Slim Picken's Bar-B-Q : Slim would have his friends over at a barbecue at his home, where a musical guest would perform. The segment would always open up spoofing Burma-Shave road signs as some of the Hee-Haw cast were seen piled on a truck driving down the road to Slim's Bar-B-Q whose guests often complained about the food to which Slim would counter with something like "I may not have prime meat at this picnic but I do have prime entertainment..." and then he'd bring out the entertainment.
- The Post Office : Minnie Pearl and Grandpa Jones ran the post office who often dealt with (mostly) unhappy customers.
- The Quilt : Minnie Pearl gave romantic advice to several of the Hee Haw Honeys while making a quilt.
- Knock Knock : Buck Owens told a knock-knock joke to an unsuspecting cast member.
- The Little Yellow Chicken : An animated little yellow chicken who would always mistake anything and everything for an egg. The chicken would sit on items, such as a ringside bell; a man's bald head; a billiard ball; a football; a golf ball, and even a bomb, with various disastrous results. The little chicken was produced by Format Films.
- Animated Critters : Interspersed within the show, besides the above mentioned chicken, were various applauding or laughing animated farm animals; a kickline composed of pigs; a pack of dogs that would chase an extremely bad joke teller; three sultry pigs that twirled their necklaces; a square dancing female pig and a male donkey; a pair of chickens dancing, with one of them falling flat on its face; the ubiquitous Hee Haw Donkey, who would say "Wouldn't that dunk your hat in the creek?" among other quips; and a pig (from the kickline) that would sneak up on a musical guest (or a cast member, mostly Roy Clark) and kiss him on the cheek among others. Sometimes, certain animals would carry appropriate signs with some kind of quip (e.g. Hee Haw Donkey holding a sign that would say, "I'm looking for a "She-Haw!" or in later years, "Let us Bray!"; a pig from the kickline holding a sign which would say, "oink!"; "Down with Ham and Eggs!"; or "Please DON'T Bring Home the Bacon!"; or a cow coming into the scene and opening a sign that would say something like "Stop Beefing!" or "I married a Bum Steer"). The animation was produced by Format Films.
Guest stars often participated in some of the skits (mostly the PFFT! You Was Gone skit); however, this did not occur until later seasons.
While the meat of the segments were comedy-based, there were several serious, music-based segments, including:
- The Million Dollar Band : This was a jam-session segment, airing from 1980 through 1988, composed of legendary Nashville musicians Chet Atkins, Boots Randolph, Roy Clark, Floyd Cramer, Charlie McCoy, Danny Davis, Jethro Burns, and Johnny Gimble.
- A singer-songwriter segment, where one of the guest performers for the week would sing one of his popular hits. Then, he would introduce a song he/she wrote and was made popular by another artist.
- The Hee Haw Gospel Quartet: Almost always closed the show's last segment. Clark, Owens, Grandpa Jones, and Kenny Price would sing a gospel hymn. Several of their performances were released as recordings. Joe Babcock took over as lead singer after Owens left the show. Ray Burdette sang bass after the death of Kenny Price, but the quartet was not featured as often then. However, the show usually closed with a gospel song—if not by the Quartet, then by the entire cast.
At the end of the show...hosts Clark and Owens, backed by the entire cast, sang the song:
- "We loved the time we spent with you,
- To share a song and a laugh or two,
- May your pleasures be many, your troubles be few..."
And ended with Owens and Clark saying:
- "So long everybody! We'll see you next week on...HEE-HAW!! " (The closing song would be replaced in the early 1980s)
- The closing song was changed to this:
- "So long, we sure had a good time! So long, gee, the company was fine! Singin' and a dancin', Laughin' and a prancin', Adios, farewell, goodbye, good luck, so long...HEE-HAW!! "
- And after the closing credits, cast member Cathy Baker would utter her trademark sign-off line, "THAT'S all!" (preceded from the mid-1980s to 1992 by "This has been a Gaylord Production from Opryland Studios!"
Read more about this topic: Hee Haw
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