Tuesday, April 24, 2018

YouTube Theatre: Hee Haw's 10th anniversary special (1978)

When Hee Haw prepared to return for its 10th season, NBC, not CBS, stepped up to the plate to give the cast their first network episode in 7 years (CBS dumped the show after the 1970-1 season), as part of the anthology series, The Big Event. Series co-creator John Aylesworth is the announcer, and had those same duties on another series he & producing partner Frank Peppiatt sold to CBS, the Saturday morning series, The Harlem Globetrotters Popcorn Machine (1974-5). For a change, as Aylesworth introduces the cast, he also acknowledges their hometowns.

Format Films handled all the animated material, so, yes, they were still in business well after they stopped producing their own shows in the 60's.

Rating: A.


Mike Doran said...

On a hunch, I went to your Search box and found an entry from 2015, about a short-lived series from 1966 called The Man Who Never Was.
This was the series that ABC put Robert Lansing in, after a Western pilot he'd done went down in a production dispute.
Man Who ... had filmed a pilot in Europe, with a different actor in the lead; an attached sponsor disliked that actor, and so ABC salvaged the project by plugging Robert Lansing into the show (which didn't last, but that's another story ...).

What that story has to do with Hee-Haw:

The guy that Robert Lansing replaced in Man Who ... was a Canadian actor named Donald Harron, who was all over US TV in the '60s, in very dramatic roles (check out his IMDb list).

After losing Man Who Never Was, Don Harron returned to Canada, where he reinvented himself as a top comedian, creating the grizzled hayseed newscaster Charlie Farquharson - the character he brought to Hee-Haw at the behest of that show's Canadian-born producers, Peppiatt and Aylesworth.

When I was younger, I admit that I never made the connection between Donald Harron the dramatic actor from shows like The Fugitive, 12 O'Clock High, and Man From UNCLE (among many others) and Don Harron the scruffy Hee-Haw comic, but there you are - it's the same guy.

That's why they call it acting, I guess ...

hobbyfan said...

I will scope Harron's IMDB page---as well as Wikipedia, if he has one there. Thanks for the tip, Mike.