By Tim Hollis
There has been a time while rural comedians drew so much in their humor from stories of farmers' daughters, hogs, hens, and hill nation excessive jinks. Lum and Abner and mum and dad Kettle will possibly not have toured fortunately lower than the "Redneck" marquee, yet they have been its precursors. In Ain't Knee-Slapper: Rural Comedy within the 20th Century, writer Tim Hollis strains the evolution of this vintage American kind of humor within the mass media, starting with the golden age of radio, while such comedians as Bob Burns, Judy Canova, and Lum and Abner stored listeners giggling. The publication then strikes into the films of the Thirties, Nineteen Forties, and Nineteen Fifties, while the proven radio stars loved moment careers at the silver display and have been joined by means of live-action renditions of the cartoon characters Li'l Abner and Snuffy Smith, besides the much-loved mom and dad Kettle sequence of flicks. Hollis explores such rural sitcoms because the genuine McCoys within the overdue Nineteen Fifties and from the Sixties, The Andy Griffith exhibit, The Beverly Hillbillies, eco-friendly Acres, Hee Haw, and so on. alongside the way in which, readers are taken on part journeys into the area of lively cartoons and tv ads that succeeded via a noticeably rural feel of enjoyable. whereas rural comedy fell out of trend and networks sacked exhibits within the early Seventies, the emergence of such hits because the Dukes of Hazzard introduced the style whooping again to the mainstream. Hollis concludes with a quick examine the present country of rural humor, which manifests itself in a extra suburban, redneck model of standup comedy. Tim Hollis is the writer of diverse books, together with hiya, girls and boys! America's neighborhood kid's television courses and (with Greg Ehrbar) Mouse Tracks: the tale of Walt Disney documents.
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Extra resources for Ain't That a Knee-Slapper: Rural Comedy in the Twentieth Century
Clem: Well, would yuh read it ta me? Other skits revolved around Clem’s relationship with his equally rustic girlfriend, Daisy June (played by Harriet Nelson, later of Ozzie and Harriet fame). Clem and Daisy June engaged in demented dialogue: Clem: Hey, Daisy June, kin I come inta your house? Daisy: Nope, not ’till you wipe yore shoes off. Clem: Well, I ain’t goin’ home to git ’em just fer that. As most entertainment buffs know, Clem and his bumbling adventures continued through the rest of Skelton’s radio career and well into his days on television.
Rural comedy never went completely out of style, however, and in our next chapter we shall see how the end of a depression, the duration of a world war, and the emergence of a modern postwar world affected those hicks from the sticks. - 35 - Chapter Two Radio Rules the Roost W hile it may seem that the airwaves were so crowded with rural comedy teams of the Lum and Abner, Eb and Zeb, and Si and Elmer tradition that you couldn’t stir ’em with a stick, the fact is that many other types of drawling, overall-clad, pigtailed comedians existed.
The first episode introduced Crandall as Si Perkins and William H. Reynolds as Elmer Peabody (yes, he shared Abner’s last name, which might not have been a coincidence), two old loafers who have grown tired of hanging around the general store in Punkinville and have taken a mail-order course in becoming private detectives. Their personalities were established immediately; whereas Eb and Zeb were virtual clones of each other, Si and Elmer were quite easy to tell apart (although Elmer shared Eb’s penchant for whistling Ss).