Saturday nights in the early 1970s divided America. At 7 p.m., families had to pick a side when Hee Haw went up against The Lawrence Welk Show. This was a time before DVRs so there was no compromise. If you were in a cursed family, you got stuck watching an old guy float his baton with stars of yesteryear singing extreme oldies. While you could imagine Hee Haw not being fun for kids who didn’t like country music, there were the Hee Haw Honeys including Barbi Benton from Playboy After Dark. The ladies of the corn wore outfits that Daisy Duke would consider revealing. The comedy on Hee Haw was rather uncomplicated and safe enough to repeat to your grandmother at a cook out. At that point, grandma wasn’t ready to delve into the humor of George Carlin. Hee Haw: Pfft! Your Were Gone is four episodes from the early seasons of the long running variety show.
The musical acts on the episodes are legendary to even the most casual of classic country fan. Episode #02 (1969) has Merle Haggard as the star. He performs “Mama Tried” and Branded Man. Episode #34 brings out Marty Robbins for “(I’m So) Afraid of Losing You Again” and “Don’t Worry.” Episode #70 allows Dolly Parton to dazzle with “Coat of Many Colors.” She joins Porter Wagoner for “The Right Combination.” Porter’s outfit must have pushed color TV back in the day. Episode #111 unites the superstar couple of George Jones and Tammy Wynette for “We’re Gonna Hold On.” All the episodes include Roy Clark and Buck Owens performing solo and joining together with the rest of the cast for mini-jam sessions.
The comedy is a big part of the show with Archie Campbell, Gordie Tapp and Don Harron in the lead on many sketches. Junior Samples, Grandpa Jones and Lulu Roman join in the fun too. For the most part, the jokes are far from cutting edge or original. It’s easy to imagine the Hee Haw writers room being covered in pages from Reader’s Digest’s “Laughter is the Best Medicine.” They were short sketches as found on Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In except less political and intellectual. “Pfft! You Were Gone!” recurring bit is rather biting as it mocks the concept of love and marriage as defined by American society. Tapp and Harron would give a tale of how their spouse didn’t get them and fled immediately. They swear they had a true love, but that doesn’t really exist. The routine always got a laugh with the raspberry topping the end line.
Even after all these years, Hee Haw is entertaining. The performances from icons are always worth absorbing. The “timeless” jokes are worth lifting so you can have something funny to tell grandma that won’t have her squirming like a Borat routine. Hee Haw: Pfft! You Were Gone! will remain with you for a while if only just the memory of Barbi’s outfits.
The video is a 1.33:1 full frame. The series was shot on standard definition video so there’s a little softness to the frame. But you’ll still see Barbie Benton’s outfits clear enough. The audio is Dolby Digital mono. Most of the musical performances are lip sync so they sound quite fine. The laugh track never overwhelms the jokes.
Aaron Tippin (2:25) reveals that he was a fan of the show so he was thrilled to be on the set.
Moe Bandy (2:52) talks about all the fun he had when he appeared on the show. He was tight with Roy Clark.
Time Life presents Hee Haw: Pfft! You Were Gone!. Starring: Roy Clark, Buck Owens, Junior Samples. Boxset Contents: 4 episodes on 2 DVDs. Released: June 13, 2017.
Tags: Dolly Parton, Hee Haw