Updated Wed, Jul 17, 2013 4:34 pm
– Episodes From Popular 1960s Television Show Not Seen in Fifty Years Showcase Early Appearances of Country Music Greats –
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. THE JIMMY DEAN SHOW – COUNTRY CLASSICS is part of special programming premiering on PBS stations beginning in August.
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.
About Jimmy Dean
Jimmy Dean was born in Olton, Texas, on August 10, 1928. During his career as a country star, he had #1 hits like “Big Bad John,” which won a Grammy® Award and sold more than one million copies. Dean moved into the national television host role of “The Jimmy Dean Show,” presenting country entertainers of the day, and then into acting, including his best-known role as Willard Whyte in the 1971 James Bond movie Diamonds Are Forever.
In 1969, Jimmy and brother Don founded the successful Jimmy Dean Sausage Company, which today continues under the Sara Lee Corporation. In 1976, Dean’s tribute to his mother and to mothers everywhere was the million-selling “I.O.U.,” which quickly became a Top 10 country hit. Prior to his death, he was nominated for the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2010, although he was formally inducted posthumously. Dean was a father of three children — Garry, Connie and Robert — with his first wife, Mary Sue Dean, and grandfather to two granddaughters. He died June 13, 2010 of natural causes, survived by second wife, Donna.
About Roy Clark
In the 70s, Roy Clark symbolized country music in the U.S. and abroad. Between guest-hosting for Johnny Carson on “The Tonight Show” and performing to packed houses in the Soviet Union on a tour that sold out all 18 concerts, he used his musical talent and entertaining personality to bring country music into homes across the world. As one of the hosts of TV’s “Hee Haw” (Buck Owens was the other) for more than 20 years, Clark picked and sang and offered country corn to 30 million people weekly. He is first and foremost an entertainer, drawing crowds at venues as different as Las Vegas, Atlantic City and the Opry. His middle-of-the-road approach filled a national void, with Clark offering country that was harder-edged than Kenny Rogers but softer and more accessible than Waylon Jennings. Among his numerous vocal hits are “Yesterday, When I Was Young” and “Thank God and Greyhound.” Instrumentally, he has won awards for both guitar and banjo. Clark landed spots on “The Tonight Show” and the sitcom “The Beverly Hillbillies,” where he played both Cousin Roy and Big Mama Halsey and co-starred on the silver screen with Mel Tillis in the comedy Uphill All the Way.
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