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Time Life presents
The Hee Haw Collection: George Strait and The Statler Brothers (1983)

Victoria: George, I heard that before you became a singer you were a cattle rancher.
George: That's right, Victoria. I was in charge of about a thousand head of cattle, and believe me I taught every one of them to appreciate my singing.
Victoria: I bet that wasn't hard.
George: No. The hardest part was teaching 'em to applaud.

- Victoria Hallman, George Strait

Review By: Mark Zimmer   
Published: April 30, 2007

Stars: George Strait, The Statler Brothers, Roy Clark, Buck Owens
Other Stars: The Aldridge Sisters, The Stony Mountain Cloggers, Archie Campbell, Grandpa Jones, Minnie Pearl, Gordie Tapp, Gunilla Hutton, Junior Samples, Lisa Todd, Don Harron, Lulu Roman Smith, Gailard Sartain, Misty Rowe, Kenny Price, Marianne Gordon Rogers
Director: Bob Boatman

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nothing objectionable)
Run Time: 00h:47m:36s
Release Date: May 01, 2007
UPC: 610583341799
Genre: television

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
C+ B-CC+ D-

DVD Review

One of the most successful programs in syndication was that mixture of country music and cornpone humor beloved in rural areas, Hee Haw. Running for over twenty years, it was a repository of terrible, ancient jokes and hillbilly humor. But it was also a showcase for country and western music acts, and this episode (#83372 if you're collecting them all), originally aired on November 12, 1983, features two prominent stars.

George Strait only appeared once on the program, when he was still a fresh new artist rather than a mega-selling star with a multitude of hit singles. He performs two of his first big hits, Amarillo by Morning and A Fire I Can't Put Out, both from his second album. They're fine renditions and it's interesting to see him performing live early in his career. Strait also gets into the comedy with a pretty good attitude and acquits himself reasonably well—or at least he doesn't embarrass himself any more the regulars.

The Statler Brothers, on the other hand, were frequent guests, and they're in good form as they introduce Jimmy Fortune as the high voice in the group. They not only perform straight versions of Guilty and 1950s classic Oh Baby Mine, they also deliver a memorable four-part harmony rendition of the Hee Haw staple Pfft! You Were Gone. The Aldridge Sisters contribute the modestly amusing Sometimes Love is a Pain in the Heart, while Buck Owens and the Buckaroos perform There Must Be Something About Me That She Loves and Roy Clark and the Clark Family perform a rambunctious tune, Heel and Toe Polka. The music is wrapped up with the Gospel Quartet's rendition of Camping in Canaan's Land. The songs are plentiful, and even when they're not major hits, they're never less than enjoyable.

That's a good thing, because, as usual, the comedy isn't much, and over-reliant on cue cards (particularly deadly with Junior Samples, who seems to have difficulty reading as well as remembering lines) and the forced laughter that starts each transitional line. At least it keeps the pace fast, jumping from one sketch to another in the Laugh-In style. One of the most entertaining segments manages to be a blooper as the Statler Brothers repeatedly bungle the delivery of a four-part joke. And of course, there are leggy sexpots in scanty clothing to enjoy amidst the lame humor. It's hard to recommend this as a good value considering it's less than 48 minutes of programming; pairing this with another Statler Brothers episode would have made it more attractive and saved on shelf space. Twenty-plus years of Hee Haw could end up being quite a collection at one show per disc.

Rating for Style: C+
Rating for Substance: B-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: The original full frame picture was shot on videotape, and it shows. The picture is soft and lacking in detail through much of the running time, and there are even occasional mild droupouts. There is reasonably good color, though skin tones occasionally shift to greenish. Strait's finely striped shirt is a nightmare of aliasing, moiré, and shimmer. On the other hand, Buck Owens has an equally difficult to render shirt with silver threads that looks just fine. Edge enhancement is visible at times during the live performances, though it's not prominent during the comedy segments. It's a mixed bag but probably as good as this is likely to look.

Image Transfer Grade: C


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access

Audio Transfer Review: The mono English track is equally iffy, with substantial hiss throughout. There's good bass during the musical segments, though fiddles tend to be a shade shrill and rather lacking in natural timbre. Applause is mixed very high, making it nearly as obnoxious as the laugh track.

Audio Transfer Grade: C+


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 9 cues and remote access
Music/Song Access with 8 cues and remote access
Packaging: generic plastic keepcase
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: There are no extras. Chapter stops are placed for each song, rather than for commercial breaks, but the songs are the main attraction here anyway, so that's not a huge issue.

Extras Grade: D-


Final Comments

The music is more than toe-tapping, which helps make up for the corny humor of Kornfield Kounty. Alas, the show was videotaped, and thus there are limits to how good it can look, and there are no extras at all. But as the cover suggests, it's indeed a must for George Strait fans.


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