On the Vital Importance of Minnie Pearl

Originally posted in 2012

I’d like to go out on a limb and say that life without Minnie Pearl is not worth living, but I’m decades too late. But you know what I mean. I miss the world of human beings, who actually came from real places and lived in a real culture, who weren’t just sort of living collages of products, catch-phrases and marketing slogans (unless you count “Howdeeeeeee!!!” as a marketing slogan). Pearl (Sarah Ophelia Colley Cannon, born in Centerville, Tennessee on this day in 1912) came along too late for vaudeville, but she was just in time for the Grand Ole Opry and Hee Haw. She began performing the character (based on a woman she met in real life) in 1939, and first got to do her schtick at the Grand Ole Opry the following year. She joined the cast of Hee Haw in 1969, and was a staple on television until 1991, when she got a stroke that prevented her from performing any longer. She passed away in 1996,

To find out more about varietry entertainment, incljuding TV variety like Hee Hawconsult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famousavailable at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.

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