My mom, my dad and me have just finished a wonderful Saturday night meal of slowly cooked pot roast, tender potatoes and carrots, as we sat around the kitchen table, with the evening news on the black and white Zenith.
We hurry through the clean up as we move into the living room and dad pulls out the on button on the RCA color console and sits back in his recliner, mom sits on the sofa and I spread out on the floor looking up at the screen waiting to hear that banjo sound and see the bright animation that guides us into the next hour of down-home country entertainment. If we were home on Saturday night, then at 7 p.m. we were sitting in front of an episode of “Hee Haw.”
Even after CBS chopped down every show on television with a tree in it or a stalk of corn with cancellation, thankfully, the producers of “Hee Haw” chose to take it into first run-syndication keeping it alive for more than 20 years.
The show allowed our family to see some of our country favorites sing their hits of the year with some old-time country comedy and some outstanding pickin’ and singin’ performed by an amazing cast of entertainers who for 25 years visited us in our homes across America. All the cast could take the corniest routines and bring them life.
As I grew up as a country performer myself, it was always my hope that I would become one of those who became part of the show’s long history with a guest appearance or even joining the cast.
I got my chance towards the end of the show’s run when I met with one of the producers and we discussed me joining the regular cast as they revamped the show for what would become its final season.
I returned to “In the Heat of the Night” for another season, and sadly “Hee Haw” came to a close and the opportunity did not materialize for me.
But it is safe to say, I learned to love those folks with each and every episode, they were like kin folks, so as my career paths crossed with Buck Owens, Roy Clark, Buck Trent, the Hagar Twins, Grandpa Jones, Minnie Pearl, Mike Snider, or Lulu Roman, I felt like I was among family who were also stars. And then there were those such as Stringbean, Junior Samples, and Archie Campbell that I knew from the stories of others entertainment friends close to them.
Many of the residents of Kornfield County return in January for a special series of new programs on Gabriel Communications’ ever-popular Country’s Family Reunion on RFD-TV airing on Saturdays. Check local listings for times or visit http://www.rfdtv.com.
Among the stars coming back for “Country’s Family Reunion Salute to the Kornfield,” are with Roy Clark, Buddy Alan (Owens) and Bill Anderson.
One of my favorites is Lulu Roman and she is back as part of the special trip down memory lane.
“It had been a number of years since many of us had seen each other and the reunion was joyous,” reflects Lulu Roman, regular HEE HAW cast member.
“Several of the cast were missing and it was a firm reminder that for some of us, it was quite possibly the last time we might see each other. It was a very special get together.”
Also appearing during the “Salute to the Kornfield” are Don Harron, Charlie Farquharson, Ramona Jones, John Conlee, Charlie McCoy, Ricky Skaggs, Victoria Hallman, T. Graham Brown, Gordie Tapp, Mike Snider, Johnny Lee, Barbi Benton, Larry Gatlin, Roni Stoneman, Moe Bandy, Gunilla Hutton, The Nashville Edition, The Whites, Jim Ed Brown, Jeff Smith, Gene Watson and Cathy Baker.