Remember When ‘Hee Haw’ Made Its Television Debut?
Nobody could have predicted the cultural impact that Hee Haw would have when the show premiered on June 15, 1969. The intentionally corny country music and humor show would run for nearly a quarter of a century and help introduce country music to mainstream American audiences from coast to coast.
Hee Haw debuted on CBS, where it ran until 1971 before striking a deal to run in first-run syndication from 1972-1993.
Set in the fictional rural farming community of Kornfield Kounty, the show was conceived as a rural takeoff on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In. It featured a series of set sketches that relied on groan-worthy cornpone humor and scantily clad "Hee Haw Honeys" to carry the bulk of the program, which also featured live performances from many of country music's most successful artists.
According to IMDb, Season 1, Ep. 1 of Hee Haw featured Loretta Lynn and Charley Pride as the musical guests alongside special guest Minnie Pearl, and it also introduced the audience to the main cast of the show, including hosts Buck Owens and Roy Clark, the Hager twins, Grandpa Jones, Junior Samples, Stringbean Akeman, Jennifer Bishop, Lulu Roman and more.
Hee Haw went on to become a rite of passage for almost every major star in country music over the ensuing two-and-a-half decades, and it became successful not only in the rural South and Midwest, but also in major urban markets, helping to pioneer country music on television as a successful format.