On-Air Highlights

Celebrating The Jimmy Dean Variety Show

Written by Fred Vigeant, Director of Programming and Promotions for TV and Radio | Jul 30, 2013 11:59 AM

Jimmy Dean, American singer, television host, actor and businessman, was the first to bring country music to the mainstream in the 1960s through his national television variety series. After nearly 50 years of being sealed off in the vaults and marking what would have been Jimmy Dean’s 85th birthday, episodes from the 1963-1966 “Jimmy Dean Show” are resurfacing for the first time in a PBS special on witf

Viewers will once again enjoy the early appearances of country stars like Chet Atkins, George Jones, Buck Owens, Johnny Cash, Minnie Pearl, Dottie West and so many more. Longtime friend, entertainer, actor and musician Roy Clark is the host, introducing the artists from the series with anecdotes, stories and laughter. No stranger to television, Clark, a 20-year veteran host of the series “Hee Haw,” made regular appearances on Dean’s show along with “Hee Haw” co-host Buck Owens. As Jimmy Dean once said of Clark, “Everybody loves him. When he walks out on stage with his bungling attitude as though he didn’t know what was going to happen next, the audience is immediately on his side. It’s like cheering for the underdog or the hometown boy.”

“The Jimmy Dean Show,” initially called “Country Style,” aired live in Washington, DC, starting in early 1957 before it was picked up by CBS nationally as a half-hour series under the name “The Morning Show.” Starting in September 1963, ABC carried three seasons of the live hour-long show featuring popular music artists and comics to round out its variety format, including the first television appearance by Jim Henson’s piano-playing Muppet, Rowlf the Dog. The series began in black and white, then moved into color in the fall season of 1965.

The Jimmy Dean Show - Country Classics is a compilation of some of these moments from the three-year broadcast run and features entertainment from some of the most renowned country music legends and comedians, including Eddy Arnold, Buck Owens, Chet Atkins, Johnny Cash, Minnie Pearl, Hank Williams Jr., Roger Miller, Jim Reeves, Dottie West and Ernest Tubb.

Join witf for The Jimmy Dean Show - Country Classics August 4 at 5:00pm and August 10 at 7:00pm.  PBS special programming on witf invites you to experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs; hear diverse viewpoints; and take front-row seats to world-class drama and performances. Your contribution is an important source of funding, making PBS programs on witf possible. PBS and witf offer all Americans from every walk of life the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and online content.Make an investment in public media in our community today!

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