Wednesday, Jan 04 2012 02:21 PM

Buddy Alan Owens joins 'Hee Haw' reunion

BY JENNIFER SELF Californian lifestyles editor jself@bakersfield.com

 

When Buddy Alan Owens got a call awhile back about sitting in for his dad on a televised reunion of “Hee Haw,” he had to think twice before saying yes.

“It’s not the same without Buck there,” said Owens in a phone conversation Wednesday, referring to the shadow cast by his father, who co-hosted the series with Roy Clark for most of its 25-year run.

“But then Roy was there and they said, ‘No, we have to have you there to be a part of it,’ and it was really kind of a love-in. It was just very natural.”

Fans of the variety show, which both celebrated and spoofed rural America while providing a showcase for the top country performers of the day, are invited to go back to a simpler time when “Country’s Family Reunion Salute to the Kornfield” airs on RFD-TV this weekend. 

Along with Owens and Clark, other returning regulars include Bill Anderson, Charlie Farquharson, Ramona Jones, John Conlee, Lulu Roman, Charlie McCoy, Ricky Skaggs, Victoria Hallman, T. Graham Brown, Gordie Tapp, Johnny Lee, Barbi Benton, Larry Gatlin, Roni Stoneman, Moe Bandy, Gunilla Hutton, Jim Ed Brown, Jeff Smith and Gene Watson.

“Bill Anderson was the spearhead of this thing,” Owens said. “What they did was sat a bunch of rocking-chair-looking things around in a big circle, with 45 or 50 people sitting around, so it made it easy to talk. They’d tell a few stories about their best memories of ‘Hee Haw’ and what they’re doing now in life. 

“It was great seeing the girls re-enact some of the skits they did before. For a bunch of grandmas, they looked great.”

Though Owens sees some of his old “Hee Haw” buddies from time to time, he hadn’t seen Clark since the late 1980s. 

As for reports that his father and Clark weren’t always the genial buddies portrayed on the show, Owens said any flare-ups between the two were overblown.

“They definitely made amends before Buck died,” Owens said. 

“You’re dealing with a couple of pretty big egos, to be honest, and there may have been some moments when tempers were short, but they always kissed and made up.”

Warm memories of late cast members like Owens, Junior Samples, Stringbean and Grandpa Jones are highlights of the show, Owens said.

“You could see how much everybody loved and cared about everybody.”

The show airs at 5 p.m. Friday and 3 a.m. and 10 p.m. Saturday, according to schedule.rfdtv.com.

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