Glen Campbell as Variety Show Host Puts Him in Exclusive Group
Millions are mourning the loss of Glen Campbell on August 8. An overview of his career shows a common bond with some other country stars as a variety TV show host.
From the 1950’s through the 1980’s the variety show was an effective way for musical acts to reach a nationwide audience. Surely you recall the boost that the Ed Sullivan Show gave to Elvis Presley and the Beatles leading up to and after their performances.
The difference here is that a group of country artists have the distinction of being the host of their own eponymous shows with Glen Campbell as part of this exclusive group. The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour coincided with his rise as a solo artist during 1969-1972 on CBS.
As far as the longest running series, the crown goes to The Porter Wagoner Show which aired in syndication from 1960-81 which of course helped launch the career of Dolly Parton.
Speaking of Miss Dolly, she hosted two shows, each lasting only one season. Dolly! launched in 1976 in syndication with Dolly hitting ABC’s airwaves in 1987.
Prior to Glen Campbell’s turn at the helm, some of country’s biggest names hosted their own shows. Eddy Arnold hosted shows as a summertime fill-in on the three major networks. The Ernest Tubb Show was in syndication for three years starting in 1965. Tennessee Ernie Ford hosted The Ford Show from 1956-61 on NBC. Mostly known as the Sausage King, Jimmy Dean hosted a couple different TV creations under The Jimmy Dean Show banner in the 1950’s and 60’s.
Johnny Cash was on the small screen during the same time period as Campbell on ABC. The Johnny Cash Show’s run lasted from 1969-71.
John Denver had his turn in 1973. The John Denver Show was aired on the BBC, but was a limited production of only six episodes.
Three talented sisters led by the eldest and most famous had a three-year turn on NBC from 1980-82. The show’s name even shined the spotlight on Barbara Mandrell and the Mandrell Sisters.
Near the end of the television variety show era, the Statler Brothers had a hugely successful run on TNN. Their Statler Brothers Show from 1991-98 reportedly attracted more people to that cable channel than any other program during that time.
Thoughts and prayers go out to the friends and loved ones of Glen Campbell upon his passing. He provided this world with some exquisite guitar licks, superb singing and just a morsel of moments on the small screen.