Thursday, May 2, 2013

Classic TV: The Johnny Cash Show (1969)

What started as a summer replacement for The Hollywood Palace in June 1969 managed to hang around for 2 years (3 seasons), one of what seemed to be an infinite number of variety shows on the air in those days. The Johnny Cash Show may have ended a wee bit too soon, cancelled by ABC in 1971 (doing their own rural purge, if you will), but it remains a classic.

The show was taped in Nashville, and attracted not only other country stars, but pop & rock acts, such as Creedence Clearwater Revival, Gordon Lightfoot, and, in the series opener, Bob Dylan. Cash, you'll recall, crossed over between the pop & country charts early in his career, much like his peers, Carl Perkins, Elvis Presley, and Jerry Lee Lewis. Cash, "The Man in Black", was joined onstage by wife June and the Statler Brothers. If you've seen infomercial clips of Cash leading June and the Statlers in performing "Daddy Sang Bass", those clips come from this episode:

Edit, 12/12/20: Sony & ViacomCBS have put in copyright claims, so the episode was deleted. In its place is the aforementioned "Daddy Sang Bass":


Co-executive producer Bill Carruthers would later try his hand at producing game shows. His production company co-produced the series with Screen Gems, and Sony, at last check, retains the rights. A "Best of" package is available on DVD, and it's doubtful, due to rights & clearances issues, that full episodes will see the light of day on DVD.

Rating: A.

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