The Corn Was Green

The Inside Story of Hee Haw


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About the Book

Reviled by critics but beloved by an extraordinarily faithful audience, Hee Haw was seen in over 15 million homes a week during the height of its popularity. Many years after going off the air, Hee Haw remains the longest running variety show of its type in television history, having aired for nearly 600 episodes during its decades-long run. This book tells the complete story of how one of America’s classic television programs was created by two Canadians in Beverly Hills.
Series co-creator John Aylesworth provides an intimate, behind-the-scenes look at some of Hee Haw’s best—and worst—moments, from the show’s shoestring beginnings in a tiny Nashville studio; to the “Great Country Massacre of 1971,” which saw the cancellation of Hee Haw, The Beverly Hillbillies, Green Acres, and several other “country shows” on CBS; to its unprecedented success in syndication. Richly illustrated with dozens of the author’s personal photographs and memorabilia, the book also includes one appendix providing a complete list of Hee Haw episodes from 1969 to 1992.

About the Author(s)

The late John Aylesworth was an award-winning television writer and producer, playwright, and author who was associated with the entertainment industry since the 1950s. In addition to co-creating Hee Haw, Aylesworth also received a Peabody Award for Frank Sinatra, A Man and His Music and created the longest running game show on Canadian television, Front Page Challenge. He lived in Palm Desert, California.

Bibliographic Details

John Aylesworth
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 248
Bibliographic Info: 120 photos, appendix, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2010
pISBN: 978-0-7864-3338-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vi

Preface      1

Prologue      3

Introduction: In the Beginning      5

1. Thank You, Jimmy Dean      11

2. How Hee Haw Was Hatched      15

3. A Power Breakfast      20

4. The Miracle      22

5. Nashville Bound      30

6. Strangers in a Strange Land      35

7. Bring in the Clowns      38

8. A Star Is Born      46

9. The Big Party      51

10. The Cornfield      55

11. The Cornfield—Part Two      57

12. Putting It All Together      59

13. Hee Haw Hits the Air      63

14. Surprise! We’re a Hit!      65

15. Here We Go Again      68

16. Hee Haw Rides Again      76

17. Here We Go Again, Again!      81

18. Junior Goes Hollywood      89

19. A Weekend As Big as Your Fist      93

20. “The Murder Game”      98

21. The Great CBS Country Massacre      103

22. Saving Our “Ass”      106

23. “New York State of Mind”      111

24. The Long Wait      117

25. Hee Haw Is Back!      120

26. Happy Days Are Here Again      122

27. Moonlighting      127

28. Hee Haw—The Next Six Years      130

29. John Henry Faulk      146

30. “Keep on Truckin’”      150

31. “The Big Event”—Hee Haw’s Tenth Anniversary Celebration      155

32. The “Hee Haw Theater”      163

33. The Hee Haw Honeys      167

34. Grady Nutt—“The Prime Minister of Humor”      171

35. Hee Haw—The Movie      179

36. The End of the Beginning      183

37. The Beginning of the End      188

38. The Nashville Palace      196

39. The Day the Chanting Stopped      199

Epilogue: Summing Up      205

The Creators of Hee Haw      209

Appendix: Hee Haw Episodes      213

Sources      229

Index      231

Book Reviews & Awards

“entertaining…engaging and funny account…amusing…extremely well-written”—Library Journal.