More on Paul Henning

An article on satirist Paul Henning (an expansion of thoughts that have appeared on this site) is available at National Review Online today.


7 thoughts on “More on Paul Henning

  1. For my money, only Dick Van Dyke’s Rob Petrie was funnier than Hank Kimball in that time period.

  2. Well, not funnier, exactly. More comical, maybe. Or more humorous, you might say. No, actually, I think the best way to describe it would be to say that Rob Petrie was of greater risibility. Or more risible. No, maybe it’s best to say he was more funny after all. Or funnier.—STK

  3. All 3 shows were among the best sitcoms of all time and GA was my favorite (and Hank was my favorite character) and while CBS deserves credit for putting them on the air in the first place, my adolescent anger at the “Tiffany Network” has never subsided for cancelling them when they were still funnier than just about anything else on tV. I was already angry at CBS for cancelling Gilligan’s Island. I don;t know if Green Acres is my all time favorite, it’s in the top 5.

    The most amazing thing about the BH is that when it was cancelled, something like 15 BH episodes were among the 100 most watched TV shows all time. A few years ago I saw a list of the top 50 Neilsen rated TV shows in history and every show was a special one time event (last episode of MASH, Super Bowls, Who Shot JR, Roots, Gone With The Wind first showing on TV, etc) except for a regular episode of the Beverly Hillbillies.

    A lot of critics sniff that the Henning shows were an example of how low brow our culture is. I think it is an indication of how much we like to laugh and be entertained.

  4. I was 10 and living on my family’s farm when the “rural” shows on CBS were canned (among them the spinoff Mayberry, RFD) and while I cannot remember all the shows that replaced them, I do recall one of them was “All in the Family.” It was a watershed – when common sense values from a previous season were now equated with buffoonery, from Jed to Archie.

    1971 was a year for statements to be made and images established. So is it a complete coinsidence that McGovern was the Democrat the party would turn to the year after the Henning shows were cancelled?

    I’ve made my home for most of my life in the rural parts of the nation, and while we have modernized (hey, I’m on the Internet, aren’t I?) I look at what passes for culture and cutting edge as determined by todays city dwellers and image makers I still ask…what the hell are you people thinking?

  5. Sam –

    I heard you on WIBC tonight. You sounded great. I started listening in the middle so I didn’t know it was you – but the topic was interesting so I kept listening and I kept on thinking I recognized the voice from somewhere…

  6. Thanks, Dale. Dave “the King” Wilson is a wonderful host and a delight to talk with. He almost made Yours Truly sound intelligent.—STK

  7. Poolguy: you’re absolutely right–the ratings for those shows were amazing; todays’ programs don’t reach even a large fraction of the audiences that watched the Henning shows (for a variety of reasons, of course).

    Bugsunset: What I find interesting about the move from the Henning shows to the Lear ones is that the Henning shows made comedy out of everybody and everything, whereas the Lear shows tended to have political points to make. Hence they tended to make fun of some characters and let others come off as better. I greatly prefer the Henning style, and in fact personally do not care for the Lear shows nor M*A*S*H (which I state here as my preference, not a critical judgment).

    I, too, enjoy and respect the rural values you applaud, while acknowledging their limitations as you do. Growing up in a dysfunctional environment in America’s second-largest city, watching syndicated reruns of THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW provided an oasis of sanity for me as a child. I mean that literally. I have great respect for the people who made that show, just as I do for Paul Henning and his brilliant colleagues. They’ve made my life a little more joyful.—STK

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