- The Washington Times - Monday, April 8, 2002

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Walking through the Country Music Television offices, Brian Philips came upon some young staffers around a television set. A 30-year-old variety show with hideous 1970s fashions, deadpan comic Pat Paulsen and terrific music had them spellbound.
It was "The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour."
"We were editing a biography show about Glen, and they'd never seen anything like 'The Goodtime Hour,'" says Mr. Philips, senior vice president and general manager at the cable network. "That style of television is like a lost art."
Mr. Philips recognized an opportunity.
"The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour" will be rerun Tuesday nights at 10 on CMT, with new introductions by country singer Keith Urban.
"We're finding that the things that the marketing world would imagine would attract a large audience for CMT are not necessarily the things that are working," Mr. Philips says.
"Bluegrass is working for us, attracting young and old. Our Bill Monroe biography show did Garth Brooks numbers. A show pairing Kid Rock and Hank Williams Jr. got our best ratings ever."
A recent show on Mr. Campbell's life pulled in strong ratings from the coveted 18-to-49 demographic, Mr. Philips says. He is hoping the "Goodtime Hour" reruns continue that trend.
Many may not remember just how big a star Mr. Campbell was at his peak. He scored dozens of pop and country hits ("Gentle on My Mind" and "Rhinestone Cowboy" among them), co-starred with John Wayne in "True Grit" and had a weekly audience of about 50 million for the "Goodtime Hour" from 1969 to 1972.
"My career exploded all over the world from that show," says Mr. Campbell, now 65. "It was shown all over the world on the BBC. It ran in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Japan. I sold more records than ever when that hit."
Mr. Campbell was ideally suited to play host of a wide-ranging music program. Before scoring his own hits, he was a respected recording session guitarist in California, playing on records by Frank Sinatra, the Beach Boys, Elvis Presley and many others.
He also was a genuine country boy from Delight, Ark., who grew up revering country music legends such as Hank Williams.
As a result, he was comfortable sitting in with a stodgy pop vocal quartet such as the Vogues, singing and picking a bluegrass number such as "Rocky Top" or performing songs by the Beatles. He did all of that on the "Goodtime Hour."
"Glen really pushed to have country music on the show," Mr. Urban says. "The network wasn't that enthusiastic about it. Merle Haggard and Buck Owens and Johnny Cash many people didn't know about them before that."
Indeed, the "Goodtime Hour" was a rare national forum for country music that did not pander to hick stereotypes (such as "Hee Haw").
Mr. Campbell got his own show after successfully serving as host of a summer replacement show for the Smothers Brothers during summer 1968.
He purposely avoided the political humor that had gotten the brothers' show canceled.
"I just wanted to do a music show, with the whole realm of music from Ella Fitzgerald to rock bands like Cream to Kenny Rogers," Mr. Campbell says. "We had a lot of country, but we did every kind of music. The Monkees were on, and so was Johnny Cash."
"This show is such a milestone in pop culture and country music history," says Mr. Urban, who grew up in Australia as a Campbell fan. "The diversity is just amazing. Liberace, Neil Diamond and Linda Ronstadt are on one show. Then there's another with Stevie Wonder and Roger Miller. It's so cool."

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