Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Cathy Baker, Hee Haw, and how they relate to the Hubble Space Telescope and other endangered species

I continue to get a steady stream of visitors who are doing search engine queries on Cathy Baker, Jimmy Riddle and Jackie Phelps, and other things Hee Haw related. To those visitors I say: Hi there! Thanks for stopping by. I'll tell you what I know about the things you're searching for, but in return, I ask a favor of you. Two favors, actually.

The first is simple. The Hubble Space Telescope is something near and dear to my heart, and as you may have heard, it's in trouble. But you can help. Please go to the Save The Hubble (.org) website and sign the petition. It will only take a minute, and you will help let our government know that the citizens of the U.S. aren't ready to write off the Hubble just yet.

The second is a little more difficult, so I'm leaving the hard work to someone else. Ever since I read Douglas Adams' great book Last Chance To See I have been very much in love with the Northern White Rhinoceros. (And the Kakapo, the Pink Pigeon, the Mauritius Kestrel, and a whole bunch of other animals. It's a great book.) But now the Northern White Rhino, which has been extremely endangered, is on the brink of extinction thanks to intensive poaching. Action is being taken to rescue and relocate what few specimens still survive in the wild, but the people doing these things need your help. Please go to Gareth's Another Chance To See website and see what you can do. Gareth has loads of links to conservation organizations and up-to-date articles on the status of many endangered species, including all of the animals covered in Douglas Adams' book.

Have you done these things? If you have, thank you. If you haven't, please do.

Now, regarding Cathy Baker and other things Hee Haw...

Here is the official Hee Haw website. It has information on the show, mini-bios of the cast members, and information on the DVD collection.

Here is Risa's Hee Haw website, with tons of links, cast information, and personal reflections. Here is the page about Cathy Baker, the cute-as-a-bug "That's All, Folks!" girl, and here is some great information on the eephin' and hambonin' (or eephing and hamboning, if you prefer to be formal) duet of Jimmy Riddle and Jackie Phelps.

Cathy Baker's bio indicates that she is now a painter (but a different sort of painter than she started out as in her Hee Haw career!) But I do not think that this Cathy Baker is the same as "our" Cathy Baker. Her age seems off, a lot. The Cathy Baker from Hee Haw was allegedly born between 1947 and 1950, which would have made her between 19 and 22 when the show premiered in 1969; this Cathy Baker talks about being 42 years old. Also, "our" Cathy Baker allegedly resides in Virginia, while this one lives in California.

I hope this helps. I am surprised at how many people are searching for information on this stuff. I guess the show left a bigger impression on us than I realized. If you have any information that you would like to share, please leave a comment or send me an email to the address listed in the upper right column of my main page. And thanks again for stopping by!


David Christian Newton said...

Cathy Baker...and more precisely..her mother used to baby-sit me back in 1952, We were the same age, both being born in 1947, although I think she was a few months older. The Bakers lived in downtown Edinburg, adjacent to Pan American College's campus where my father attended classes on Saturdays to finish his B.A.
Cathy's family was 110% Democrat, while my family was in the conservative wing of the Democrat Party....usally voting Republican in Presidential Elections. I remember this was important because the Bakers had a television, and we watched bits of the Republican National Convention in 1962.
My father's parents had been active in the fight against Cathy's grandfather's political machine in Hidalgo County, and it truly was among the most corrupt in the history of Hidalgo County. Much has been researched and written about the A.Y. Baker period and can be easily researched on the web. A.Y.Baker's political career ran from the late 1890's (County Sheriff) through to his death in early 1930's (County Judge, title of the CEO of the County in Texas), when a sudden heart problem did him in.
He and his machine were vile institutions and many of his lieutenants did prison time.
Cathy and I spent long mornings for a couple of semesters making mud pies, me learning to ride her bicycle, watching a bit of Howdy Doody,and running down to wave at the engineer switching cars (even passenger cars) with his snarling, hissing, growling steam locomotive. The Bakers lived two blocks from the Southern Pacific yards...just to the west.
She was pretty much a "city girl" while I was a farm boy. I was a bit surprized, for instance, that she could not speak Spanish. I had to because all of our workers came from Mexico while she had a bit more comfortable, if less interesting, life as an extreme upper-middle class urban dweller. We had no television, for instance, until 1957. They had all city facilities...our water came to our cistern from the irrigation canal.
Cathy Baker was very patient in trying to teach me to ride her bicycle....and I had some success after much investment of her time.
She was also summarily pleasant and "game" to do anything at the spur of the moment. The Bakers always treated me respectfully.
Thanks for your attention.

burg11 said...

Sorry you're a pompous ass; did you actually ever watch 'Hee-Haw'?
The simple, fun, entertaining show that poked fun at bumpkins??...
Your first sentence clues us in... and more precisely... lets us know that you are worried about yourself, instead of happy to have grown up with a cute girl who ended up on television.