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Oklahoma Horizon TV Show 1541

This week on Oklahoma Horizon, we look at the life and career of country music legend Roy Clark.
Oklahoma Horizon TV Show 1541

Oklahoma Horizon TV Show 1541

For more information visit these links:

Roy Clark

Northeast Technology Center - Roy Clark Music School

Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame

Jim Halsey

Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame

Tulsa Technology Center


Show Details

Show 1541: Oklahoma Horizon TV
Air Date: October 11, 2015



Rob McClendon: Here’s what’s coming up on your “Horizon.” To make it in today’s workplace, you need both hard and soft skills. Hard skills being those that help you actually do your profession, and soft, those are those skills that just help you get along. Today, we begin our show with a gentleman who is the perfect example of both. Roy Clark is known for his musical mastery of anything with a string, yet it is his way with others and his gentle charm that made him a star. Sit back and enjoy some picking and grinning because this is a show you don’t want to miss.

Male Announcer: “Oklahoma Horizon” is made possible by the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education.

Female Announcer: Oklahoma’s investment in CareerTech provides more than nationally recognized technology education and training. It produces solid financial returns for the state’s economic future. Oklahoma CareerTech, elevating our economy.

Male Announcer: And the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, helping good people grow good things. And now, from the CareerTech studios in Stillwater, here’s your host, Rob McClendon.

Rob McClendon: Hello, everyone. Thanks for joining us here on “Horizon.” Roy Clark may be best known for his work on the “Hee Haw” television show, but this long time Oklahoman is in fact a virtuoso with anything with strings and just as funny as you remember him. I was able to sit down with Clark in his Tulsa office to talk about his career and his love of music.

Rob McClendon: From his earliest days, Roy Clark knew the value of a smile.

Roy Clark: When I first noticed that people could laugh at different things I did and said, I was in grade school.

Rob: A country boy living in our nation’s capital, Roy and his dad spent many an evening playing local clubs.

Roy Clark: Every street corner had a club or something that had maybe two pieces of music. And the audience was there, because D.C. always had military bases and all these young people. They also had the young girls right out of high school working for the government, so every night was a Saturday night.

Rob: And Clark began to hone his musical talent.

Clark: Television and I was given birth about the same year. I did my first television show in 1947.

TV Show Announcer: He’s a sensational one-man show. So let’s put the lightning fingers of Roy Clark to work.


Rob: And with that laugh and sly smile, Clark’s music became laced with humor.

Clark: If you played guitar like I do, you have to have comedy.

Rob: And Roy Clark became a staple on early television.


Rob: Known for his charm as well as his music, a TV presence that CBS noticed when looking for a summer replacement for the “Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.”

Smothers Brothers: Sounds like some kind of nut—some ding-man going around talking to the trees. Hi there tree—just dropped by to talk to ya for a minute, you know I’m shy.

Sam Lovullo: We made a decision that maybe we ought to entertain a show that would be with music and quick-cut, one-liners like “Laugh-In.”

[Sock it to me, sock it to me, sock it to me.]

Rob: With more of a small town feel, and in the summer of ’69 “Hee-Haw” hit the air waves.


“Hee Haw” Announcer: Welcome to “Hee Haw,” starring Buck Owens and Roy Clark.


Lovullo: Roy could play comedy and sing. He was the first person that we went after when the creation of “Hee Haw” got started. Buck really made a contribution to “Hee Haw” because of his music and of course, his recording. He was a good setup man. So it worked. The combination of the two was just a beautiful relationship.

Clark: So that was the combination they wanted was Buck with his record sales and me with my jovial face.

Rob: And so began a 25-year run of a show often dismissed by critics, but loved by its 30 million weekly viewers.

[“Hee Haw” excerpt - Roy Clark: You know, they say he’s 94, never looked at a girl in his life, never smoked, took a drink or gambled. Junior Samples: Beats me why he wanted to live so long. Laughter].

Clark: When you did something you had to live with it. There was no stopping tape.

Rob: Oh, really.

Clark: We never rehearsed. Because then if they found out there was a stop button then we would be stopping all day long -- stopping the tape.

Rob: So what you saw was pretty much what they shot, bloopers and all.

[Clark: Junior, you know I do believe that, that Marvin Muffin Nuckles is the laziest one man that I personally have ever seen in my entire life. What do you think? Junior: I know it is, it is, and if he ever wakes up over twice a week he complains of in-snort-na-mun.]

Lovullo: It was down to a science, that I would get the guest artist first, get all their music out of the way. Then the next one in line would be Buck Owens, get his music out of the way. Then I would bring in everybody for comedy. Roy would be there now when we would do the comedy because the very first thing that when we did comedy was picking and grinning with Buck. And once we got through with picking and grinning, Buck would go home. And it would be comedy with Roy and with the rest of the people, and at the back end I would do Roy’s music. So that’s the way I would, you know, finish -- this style of this production.

Rob: So twice a year the entire crew would gather in Nashville to record enough shows for the season – giving Clark a chance to tour and audiences the opportunity to see that behind those comedic chops was an extraordinary musician.

[Roy Clark playing music]

Rob: Clark was at the height of his popularity, appearing on a variety of TV shows.

Clark: I didn’t know you were country, Donny.

Donny Osmond: Are you kidding? Listen to this. [sings out of key: In the deep purple pond, near the sleepy garden walls.] Good, huh?

Clark: Well, it does bring tears to your eyes.

Marie Osmond: Mine, too.

Rob: But it was as a guest star on “The Odd Couple” in 1971 that Clark’s picking outshone his grinning -- letting America see the musical talent behind that smile.


Rob: A talent that crossed cultures and transcended Cold War hostilities.

Rob: You played in the Soviet Union, truly at the height of the Cold War, when there were definite tensions between our two countries.

Clark: It seemed like the thing to do. Everybody was saying, “You can’t do it. It is impossible. There is too many things in the way.” But we had the Voice of America, and they opened up the airwaves to them, which they had been blocked. And so they were talking about us coming and made it really exciting. I couldn’t wait to see us coming.

Rob: So what was it like to play to this crowd? How did they react?

Clark: Just like a rock and roll audience. Oh, boy, they would get down and they would gyrate and do what they thought Elvis Presley did. And, oh, it was special.

Rob: A connection Clark makes with his audience and most everyone he meets.

Clark: Comedy will really soothe a lot of hard places in your life if you can laugh at it.

Rob: Will comedy improve a couple of missed notes here and there?

Clark: Oh, yeah. Yeah, when you, uh, somebody said, “What do you do if you make a mistake?” I said, “I laugh.” They said, “You’re always laughing.” I said, “I told ya.”

Rob: Now, Clark has called Tulsa, Oklahoma, home for going on 40 years, and while his touring schedule is a little bit lighter these days, you can still catch an occasional conversation with Roy Clark on stage. Now, when we return, we meet the man behind the music.

Male Announcer: You’re watching “Oklahoma Horizon,” featuring some of the good things that are happening in the great state of Oklahoma.

Rob McClendon: You may not know the name Jim Halsey, but ask any country singer and they probably will. Known as The Starmaker, Halsey has guided the careers of too many country artists to name, but here is just a few: Roy Clark, Waylon Jennings, Reba McEntire, Dwight Yoakum and the Oak Ridge Boys. Now, I visited with Halsey in his office in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and what I found was a virtual history lesson in the evolution of country music.

Rob McClendon: I have to ask, in this country, why do you think the critics are sometimes hard on country music, yet the Americans absolutely love it?

Jim Halsey: Well, I think maybe the critics like to be critical. And they found that people over the years maybe haven’t appreciated the depths and soul of country music of what’s really there. They’re beginning to do that now. And it’s hard to differentiate between country music and pop music and even rock music in today’s world.

Rob: And the artists now cross over.

Halsey: Right, so, well our company was one that helped them cross over. Because we started with Roy Clark and with Hank Thompson playing venues they didn’t expect country music to be. And all of a sudden people like it. And here is Roy Clark with his masterful guitar playing. I mean you know he is one of the 50 top guitar players of all time. In Rolling Stone, he was like number 37 of the top 50 all-time guitar players. So people all of a sudden realized, hey, I like that. And so we started early on in my career with our company and go places country music had never been before. And a lot of that was overseas, international. And we started in 1952 with Hank Thompson making international tours to Asia, to Japan, to Okinawa, Australia, to New Zealand. And then we decided to take country music to Europe, and we did. And we were the first to take country music to, on concert tours and festivals, to the United Kingdom, to other countries, Scandinavian countries, Germany, France, Spain, Italy.

Rob: How was country music accepted in Europe?

Halsey: Fantastic! We had already gone to the Soviet Union in 1976. That was the first country music show, country music artist ever to play the Soviet Union -- that was Roy Clark and the Oak Ridge Boys. And it set a whole new tone for art and music and diplomacy within the Soviet Union. They were there for 21 days and did 21 sold-out concerts. But it was groundbreaking for country music, because it opened up the doors of Eastern Europe. There were 17 satellite countries that belonged to that Soviet block. And eventually we played all of them.

Rob: So eventually country music may have helped change history.

Halsey: We think so, and a lot of -- when Roy came back from that 1976 tour, we got, we received a letter from every senator and every congressman in Congress at that time saying what a magnificent event that was and they thought diplomatically that helped things. Things were very difficult then. We went there and everybody in the Soviet Union thought America was going to bomb them at any moment, and it was very difficult, but Roy and the Oak Ridge Boys won those people over because you know being from Oklahoma and Tennessee, the Oak Ridge Boys are from Tennessee, they were just people to them. They treated them like people, and people treated us like people. And it was, on a person-to-person basis that kind of diplomacy works.

Rob: Now, I have my entire conversation with Mr. Halsey streaming on our website at And let me tell you, it is some true insight into what it takes to be in the music business.

Female Announcer: Still to come on “Oklahoma Horizon,” local lessons from some of the industry’s best, but first, Oklahoma’s Music Hall of Fame.

Rob McClendon: Well, Oklahomans have always had a rich and profound impact on our country’s musical culture. And on an annual basis, Oklahoma’s Music Hall of Fame has been honoring the world’s most notable talents whose gifts and musical styles are as breathtaking and diverse as the Oklahoma landscape. Our Andy Barth attended this year’s event and has the story of two of their latest inductees.

Andy Barth: Well, the TV show “Hee Haw” is an American classic from the family friendly humor to the music played by world class musicians. And one of those talents was inducted into Oklahoma's Music Hall of Fame during a night of foot stomping music.

Andy Barth: She’s known for playing the blue fiddle on one of America’s favorite shows.

[Fiddle music].

Andy: Now, Jana Jae is an inductee into Oklahoma’s Music Hall of Fame.

Announcer: And I present to you, Ms. Jana Jae [applause].

Jana Jae: Such an honor to have a great partner to do the presenting for this wonderful occasion where I’m honored.

Jana Jae: I’ll tell you it is really exciting. You don’t think about it ahead of time but when it happens it’s just amazing.

Andy: It was a night full of music, and Jae says this honor is one of a kind.

Jae: I feel humbled and honored and excited, thrilled.

Andy: And Jae wasn’t the only person honored at the music filled event. Sherman Halsey was a renowned filmmaker and artist manager. Halsey passed away in 2013 and was posthumously presented with the Governor’s Award for his work in the industry.

Announcer: On behalf of Gov. Fallin and the state of Oklahoma, I would like to present the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame Governor’s Award to the family of Sherman Halsey.

Andy: Jim Halsey is Sherman’s father.

Jim Halsey: Well, it means a lot to me personally because I guess from an early age as a little child growing up I recognized his genius.

[Song lyrics: I want to drink that shot of whiskey. I want to smoke that cigarette.]

Andy: Halsey directed countless music videos for country music’s top artists. Yet his father says Sherman didn’t realize the extent of his talent.

Halsey: He never saw himself as a genius. But he had the eye, he had the ear and he had the ingenuity to think of different ways to present things on film.

Andy: And for Jae, sharing the stage with Oklahoma musicians is humbling.

Jae: This is tall cotton. Oklahoma is full of fabulous musicians, and I am honored to be a part of this.

Andy: It was a night of music and awards, honoring the best in Oklahoma music.

Andy: Other Oklahoma musicians honored at the event were Tom Paxton, Tom Skinner, Otto Gray and his Oklahoma Cowboys and the Apache Tribe of Oklahoma.

Rob: Thank you so much, Andy. Now, if you’d like to learn more about the music video industry, I visited with Sherman’s father, Jim Halsey, about his son’s impact on that industry and that’s streaming on our website. Just go to and look under our value added section. Now, when we return, we’ll tell you how you can learn from some country music greats at the Roy Clark Music School.

Rob McClendon: Want to share something you’ve seen here today? Well, all of our episodes are streaming on our YouTube channel at OklahomaHorizonTV, or you can subscribe to our weekly free podcast on iTunes.

Rob McClendon: Well, if you’d like to learn from some of country music’s best, the Roy Clark Music School at Northeast Technology Center in Claremore is offering adult education classes that run the gamut of the music business. As J.D. Rosman shows us, it is an educational experience that looks to be a whole lot of fun.

[Jana Jae playing the fiddle.]

J.D. Rosman: Whether it’s a hobby or a future career, fiddlin’ with Jana Jae can’t be beat. Past “Hee Haw” TV star and world-class fiddler, now wanting to give back to her fans that gave her so much.

Jana Jae: Fiddling is a tradition that’s handed down from generation to generation, from person to person.

J.D.: A family love passed down to her.

Jae: We lived with grandmother and granddaddy for a while, and every night we would jam and play those old time fiddle tunes.

J.D.: And student Charlene Smith jumped at the chance to fiddle with the best.

Charlene Smith: She’s committed to continuing and fostering our American musical heritage, and she’s just interested in helping any fiddler be the best they can be.

J.D.: And the school that started it all. Instructor Ray Bingham.

Ray Bingham: Roy Clark is an icon obviously. There’s no, no comparison – never been a better entertainer in the world.

J.D.: Tucked away in Claremore, Oklahoma, you’ll find the Roy Clark School of Music, offering a variety of courses ranging from piano and fiddle to music management and business, a school infusing passion in its teachers.

Bingham: It has made all of us instructors really want to do well. And we don’t want anyone to come up here and leave disappointed, so we really do our very best.

J.D.: And teachers like Daniel McBride take music beyond the basics.

Daniel McBride: Music is feeling. That’s what it is. It makes you happy. It makes you sad. It can make you angry.

J.D.: A design that is unique to each musician.

Jae: So you can have music, sheet music, there’s lots of music out there now, but you’ve got to have kind of a style to go with it. Because you can’t play “Boiling Cabbage’ like Mozart, you know. It just doesn’t work.

J.D.: Playing with attitude, not wanting to stop.

Jae: Nobody wants to go home. We all want to stay.

J.D.: Passing musical talent and skills down from one generation to the next, all while fiddlin’ the night away.

Rob: Now, if you’d like to see all of their adult education musical offerings, we have a link to their website, just head to and look for it under this story.

Rob McClendon: You can keep up with us throughout the week. Just head to where you can see more of any of our stories, read our reporters’ behind the scenes blogs, see what others are saying about us on Twitter and face the facts with our regular updates. So reach out and touch us anywhere at anytime.

Rob McClendon: Well, few realize what it takes to make their favorite song pitch perfect. Our Courtney Maye visited a CareerTech program in Tulsa that teaches high school students the art of sound.

Courtney: Hands-on learning with musical instruments, video and audio helps students at Tulsa Technology Center leave career-ready.

Max Miller: I could set up live shows from what I’m learning. I could, I could work in TV or movies. There’s a lot of different options that I could kind of go with.

Courtney: Max Miller is a student in the broadcast sound engineering program and says he will finish prepared for a job in music, broadcast or production.

Miller: There’s job readiness training in there as well, to be ready to be hired once you get out in the industry.

Courtney: The program lasts one year – training students to produce audio and video projects. Instructor Walt Bowers says students will leave the program with more preparation than their competitors.

Walt Bowers: We try to give what would be a five-, six-year head start. Things we wish we would’ve known our first years as we were trying to hit industry.

Courtney: And co-instructor Michael Haggard says he is lucky to be able to use music as a teaching avenue.

Michael Haggard: We use, you know, our musical talents as a vehicle to learn the production side. If they’re coming in wanting to learn to be behind the camera or the man behind the console or the woman behind the console, that’s really what we teach, and there’s a lot of art to that. We just get to play with some really cool toys along the way.

Haggard: I have my kids at home, and then I have my kids here. And when they do something, I’m, I’m right there, “Hey, that’s my, that’s my student.”


Rob: Well, students in the program have access to 15 studios filled with professional production equipment – helping them hit the right note when out trying to get a job.

Rob McClendon: So how much is an education worth? How about a great teacher that changes your life? Next time on “Oklahoma Horizon,” we look at the value of education.

Frank Lucas: Had I not had an ag teacher like Mr. Kirk, I would not have maximized my opportunities. I wouldn’t have understood the opportunities that I had as an FFA member.

Rob: Changing lives in the classroom, on Oklahoma’s show for the heartland, “Oklahoma Horizon.”

Rob McClendon: Well, that is going to wrap us up for today, but you can see more of any of our stories on our website at; follow us throughout the week on Twitter at OKHorizonTV; or, just become a “Horizon” fan on Facebook. I’m Rob McClendon. Thanks for including us in your day. Hope to see you back here next week.

Male Announcer: Thank you for watching “Oklahoma Horizon.”