Archie Campbell in 1977
November 7, 1914|
Bulls Gap, Tennessee
|Origin||Knoxville, Tennessee, USA|
|Died||August 29, 1987
|Occupations||Musician, Comedian, Actor|
Archie Campbell (November 7, 1914 – August 29, 1987) was an American writer and star of Hee Haw, a popular long-running country-flavored network television variety show. He was also a recording artist with several hits on the RCA label in the 1960s.
Campbell studied art at Mars Hill College in Mars Hill, North Carolina, after which he began a radio career at WNOX in Knoxville. After a year alongside Roy Acuff on their Mid-Day Merry-Go-Round, he relocated to WDOD in Chattanooga, where he stayed until joining the United States Navy in 1941. At the end of World War II, Campbell returned to WNOX. He left that station for rival WROL where he helped start Knoxville's first country music television show (on WROL-TV), Country Playhouse, that premiered in 1952 and ran until 1958.
At the close of that show, he moved to Nashville to replace Rod Brasfield on the nationally syndicated Prince Albert segment of the Grand Ole Opry. Shortly after, he signed a contract with RCA Victor and one of his early singles, "Trouble in the Amen Corner" reached the 1960 country music Top 25. After an unsuccessful stint with the Starday label, Campbell returned to RCA in 1966 and had three Top 30 singles: "The Men in My Little Girl's Life" (1966), "The Dark End of the Street" (1968), and "Tell It Like It Is" (1968). He was named "Comedian of the Year" in 1969 by the Country Music Association.
One of Campbell's 'signature' routines was to tell stories in "Spoonerism" form, with the first letters of words in some phrases intentionally switched for comic effect. The best-known of these stories was "RinderCella," his re-telling of the fairy tale "Cinderella," about the girl who "slopped her dripper" (dropped her slipper). Campbell once told the "RinderCella" story on an episode of the game show Juvenile Jury. At the conclusion of the story, host Jack Barry said "That's one of the funniest stories Carchie Ampbell tells." All of Campbell's spoonerism routines borrowed heavily from comedy routines performed by Colonel Stoopnagle on the radio show Stoopnagle and Budd in the 1930s. ("Colonel Stoopnagle" was the stage name of F. Chase Taylor, 1897-1950.)
Campbell also performed a routine with various partners generally known as "That's Bad/That's Good." Campbell would state a troublesome occurrence; when the partner would sympathize by saying, "Oh that's bad," Campbell would quickly counter, "No, that's good!", and then state a good result from the previous occurrence. When the partner would say, "Oh that's good!", Campbell would immediately counter with "No, that's bad!" and tell the new result, and so on.
In 1969 Campbell joined Hee Haw on CBS-TV as a chief writer and on-air talent. His regular characterizations included the Barber, in which he performed his Spoonerism stories and his "That's Bad/That's Good" routines; the Doctor as "Doctor Campbell" with Gunilla Hutton as "Nurse Goodbody"; and, "Justus O'Peace," his version of the classic "Judge" routine of Pigmeat Markham. One of his most well-known segments was the "Where Oh Where" song ("PFFT! You Was Gone") in which he would perform a short verse of original comedy followed by the standard "Where oh where are you tonight" chorus which would conclude with him and a singing partner, often Gordie Tapp, blowing a raspberry at one another or at the camera.
During his Hee Haw years Campbell also recorded several comedy-music albums such as Bull Session at Bull's Creek with Junior Samples and Archie Campbell (Elektra 1976). He frequently performed duets with singer Lorene Mann.
Later life and death
In 1984, Campbell hosted TNN's Yesteryear interview show. Campbell was an accomplished amateur golfer and built one of the earliest lighted golf courses in the United States. An avid painter, he also owned an art gallery and served on the school board in Knoxville, where he lived until he suffered a fatal heart attack in 1987. He is buried near the town of Powell, Tennessee.
Campbell's childhood home on Main Street in Bull's Gap has been preserved as a memorial, and has been expanded into a "tourism complex and museum" which hosts annual "Archie Campbell Days" each September.
Following Campbell's death, U.S. Highway 11E through Bulls Gap was renamed "Archie Campbell Highway" in his memory.
|1962||Make Friends with Archie Campbell||—||Starday|
|1966||Have a Laugh on Me||—||RCA|
|The Cockfight and Other Tall Tales||30|
|1967||Kids I Love 'Em||—|
|1968||Tell It Like It Is (with Lorene Mann)||45|
|Bull Session at Bulls Gap (with Junior Samples)||—||Chart|
|1970||The Best of Archie Campbell||—||RCA|
|1971||Didn't He Shine||—|
|1960||"Trouble in the Amen Corner"||24||Make Friends with Archie Campbell|
|"Don't Jump from the Bridge"||—||singles only|
|1965||"Rindercella"[Note 1]||—||Have a Laugh on Me|
|1966||"The Men in My Little Girl's Life"||16||Kids I Love 'Em|
|"Mommy's Little Angel"||—|
|"Life Gits Tee-Jus Don't It"||—||The Cockfight and Other Tall Tales|
|"We Never Get Hungry in Sunday"||—||Kids I Love 'Em|
|1968||"The Dark End of the Street" (with Lorene Mann)||24||Tell It Like It Is|
|"Tell It Like It Is" (with Lorene Mann)||31|
|"Warm and Tender Love" (with Lorene Mann)||57|
|1969||"My Special Prayer" (with Lorene Mann)||36|
|"Poor Daddy"||—||single only|
|"Pfft You Were Gone"||—||The Best of Archie Campbell|
|1970||"Walkin' on Fire"||—||single only|
|"Sports Common Taters" (with Junior Samples)||—||Bull Session at Bulls Gap|
|"It's So Wrong"||—||singles only|
|1971||"Get It at the General Store"||—|
|"Didn't He Shine"||—||Didn't He Shine|
|"As Soon as I Hang Up the Phone"||—||singles only|
|1972||"Carry Me Back"||—|
|"Light in the Window"||—|
|1973||"Freedom Ain't the Same as Bein' Free"||87|
|1974||"As Soon as I Hang Up the Phone" (with Minnie Pearl)||—|
|1976||"More or Less"||—|
|1977||"I Just Found This Hat"||—|
|1982||"Put the World Back Together"||—|
|1967||"Chet's Tune"||Some of Chet's Friends||38|
- CMT.com profile
- HeeHaw.com profile
- Archie Campbell at the Internet Movie Database
- Jones, Loyal (1998). "Archie Campbell". In The Encyclopedia of Country Music. Paul Kingsbury, Editor. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 75–6.