The Johnny Cash Show (TV series)

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The Johnny Cash Show
At San quentin 1969 2014-05-04 00-14.jpg
Johnny Cash in 1969
GenreMusic variety
StarringJohnny Cash
June Carter Cash
The Carter Family
Carl Perkins
The Statler Brothers
The Tennessee Three
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes58
Production company(s)Screen Gems
Original networkABC
Original releaseJune 7, 1969 (1969-06-07) –
March 31, 1971 (1971-03-31)

The Johnny Cash Show was an American television music variety show hosted by Johnny Cash. The Screen Gems 58-episode series ran from June 7, 1969 to March 31, 1971 on ABC; it was taped at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee. The show reached No. 17 in the Nielsen ratings in 1970.[1]

Cash opened each show, invariably preceding the first number with his customary "Hello, I'm Johnny Cash" greeting, and its regulars included members of his touring troupe, June Carter Cash (his wife) and the Carter Family, The Statler Brothers, Carl Perkins, and The Tennessee Three, with Australian-born musical director-arranger-conductor Bill Walker. The Statler Brothers performed brief comic interludes. An instrumental version of "Folsom Prison Blues" was used for the opening credits.

It featured many folk-country musicians, such as Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Linda Ronstadt, Kris Kristofferson, Mickey Newbury, Neil Young, Gordon Lightfoot, Merle Haggard, James Taylor and Tammy Wynette. It also featured other musicians such as jazz great Louis Armstrong, who died eight months after appearing on the show.[1]


Cash had been approached by ABC to host a television show after the major success of his two live prison albums, At Folsom Prison and At San Quentin.[2]The show started with an hour-long tryout offered by ABC as "a summer replacement for its Saturday night variety extravaganza The Hollywood Palace."[1] While Cash had a large degree of freedom, he "had to accept some compromises by hosting showbiz royalty like Bob Hope, George Gobel, Kirk Douglas, Burl Ives, Peggy Lee and Lorne Greene. They gave the show gravitas that satisfied both advertisers and the network".[1]


The show was recorded at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium, then home of the Grand Ole Opry.[1] The show was conceived by Bill Carruthers, who also served as executive producer and director for the first season. Stan Jacobson was also a producer on the show. Myles Harmon was the program executive for ABC Television. The first show featured Joni Mitchell, Cajun fiddler Doug Kershaw, Fannie Flagg as a comic, and Bob Dylan.

The show included a "Country Gold" segment which featured legends rarely or never seen on network TV such as Bill Monroe and his Blue Grass Boys. Author Rich Kienzle suggests that as well as providing entertainment, the show operated as a "Country Music 101".[1]

Cash persisted in the face of ABC "network anxieties" on several occasions. He refused to cut the word "stoned" from Kris Kristofferson's "Sunday Morning Coming Down", he stood by his Christian faith "despite network anxieties", and persisted in bringing on Pete Seeger whose anti-Vietnam War song on another network had "caused a firestorm".[1] He premiered his "Man in Black" song on an episode taped at Nashville's Vanderbilt University campus.

In 1970, Columbia Records released The Johnny Cash Show, a live album, as a tie-in with the TV series, though the record is not considered a soundtrack. The release is unusual as Columbia was affiliated with competing network CBS. Cash's version of Kris Kristofferson's "Sunday Morning Coming Down", included on the series, is included on the album and was released as a single, which was a major hit for Cash.

One unusual taping occurred in 1971. Cash began the program assuming it was a regular episode. Moments after Cash greeted the audience, June Carter Cash came on stage and said she had a special guest. Ralph Edwards then joined the two on stage; as the audience erupted in a standing ovation, Cash realized that it was actually a taping for an installment of This is Your Life honoring him.


The show was canceled in 1971 in response to the Prime Time Access Rule, which eliminated a half-hour of network prime time programming from all of the major networks' nightly schedules. Cash's show was one of many that had strong rural followings that were canceled across the networks in what came to be known as the "rural purge."


In 1976, CBS ran a revival of the show, Johnny Cash and Friends, as a replacement series for four weeks from August 29 to September 20, 1976.[3] The new show was taped at the newly constructed Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville.[4] Aside from musical performances, this series also featured a greater emphasis on comedy, with Steve Martin and Jim Varney appearing as regulars, and with June Carter Cash performing several comedy routines as "Aunt Polly" (reviving a character she had performed early in her career).

Following Johnny Cash and Friends, an annual Johnny Cash Christmas Special series was launched, starting in 1976, with specials airing almost every year until 1985.

List of episodes[edit]

Season 1 (1969-1970)[edit]

32 episodes

# Airdate Code Title Overview
1 June 7, 1969 Episode 1 Guests:
2 June 14, 1969 Episode 2 Guests:
3 June 21, 1969 Episode 3 Guests:
4 July 5, 1969 Episode 4 Guests:
5 July 12, 1969 Episode 5 Guests:
6 July 19, 1969 Episode 6 Guests:
7 July 26, 1969 Episode 7 Guests:
8 August 2, 1969 Episode 8 Guests:
9 August 9, 1969 Episode 9 Guests:
10 August 16, 1969 Episode 10 Guests:
11 August 23, 1969 Episode 11 Guests:
12 August 30, 1969 Episode 12 Guests:
13 September 6, 1969 Episode 13 Guests:
14 September 20, 1969 Episode 14 Guests:
15 September 27, 1969 Episode 15 Guests:
16 January 21, 1970 Episode 16 Guests:
17 January 28, 1970 Episode 17 Guests:
18 February 4, 1970 Episode 18 Guests:
19 February 11, 1970 Episode 19 Guests:
20 February 18, 1970 Episode 20 Guests:
21 February 25, 1970 Episode 21 Guests:
22 March 4, 1970 Episode 22 Guests:

The Best of The Johnny Cash TV Show[edit]

A DVD set featuring 66 live performances from the show, called The Best of The Johnny Cash TV Show, was released in Region 1 on September 18, 2007. The DVD set was hosted by Kris Kristofferson and directed by Michael B. Borofsky, and was produced by Reverse Angle Productions for Sony Pictures Entertainment and Legacy Recordings, Sony Music Entertainment's catalog division. An accompanying CD, featuring selected numbers from the show (some of them not on the DVD set), was also released.

DVD track list[edit]


  1. Johnny Cash – Ring Of Fire
  2. Bob Dylan – I Threw It All Away
    • From season 1, episode 1, originally aired 7. June 1969.
  3. Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash – Girl From The North Country
    • From season 1, episode 1, originally aired 7. June 1969.
  4. Kris Kristofferson – Loving Her Was Easier (Than Anything I'll Ever Do Again)
  5. Louis Armstrong and Johnny Cash – Blue Yodel #9
    • From season 2, episode 6, originally aired 28. October 1970.
  6. Stevie Wonder – Heaven Help Us All
    • From season 2, episode 8, originally aired 11. November 1970.
  7. Creedence Clearwater Revival – Bad Moon Rising
    • From season 1, episode 15, originally aired 27. September 1969.
  8. Linda Ronstadt and Johnny Cash – I Will Never Marry
  9. George Jones – Medley (White Lightning with Johnny Cash, She Thinks I Still Care, Love Bug, The Race Is On)
  10. Johnny Cash – Hey Porter
  11. Waylon Jennings – Medley (Only Daddy That'll Walk The Line, The Singing Star's Queen, Brown Eyed Handsome Man)
  12. Tammy Wynette – Stand By Your Man
    • From season 2, episode 17, originally aired 28. January 1971.
  13. Marty Robbins – Medley (Big Iron, Running Gun, El Paso)
    • From season 1, episode 17, originally aired 28. January 1970.
  14. Johnny Cash – Come Along And Ride This Train
  15. Johnny Cash – As Long As The Grass Shall Grow
  16. Johnny Cash – Man In Black
  17. James Taylor – Sweet Baby James
    • From season 2, episode 20, originally aired 17. February 1971.
  18. Pete Seeger and Johnny Cash – Cripple Creek
  19. Pete Seeger and Johnny Cash – Worried Man Blues
  20. Johnny Cash – Sunday Morning Coming Down
  21. Johnny Cash – Old Time Religion
  22. Johnny Cash, The Carter Family, The Statler Brothers, Carl Perkins and The Tennessee Three – Daddy Sang Bass
  23. Mother Maybelle and The Carter Sisters – Wildwood Flower
  24. Neil Young – The Needle And The Damage Done
    • From season 2, episode 20, originally aired 17. February 1971.
  25. Johnny Cash and The Tennessee Three – Tennessee Flat Top Box
  26. Joni Mitchell and Johnny Cash – The Long Black Veil
    • From season 1, episode 6, originally aired 19. July 1969.
  27. Johnny Cash and The Tennessee Three with Carl Perkins – Big River


  1. Johnny Cash – I Walk The Line
  2. June Carter Cash – A Good Man
  3. Derek and the Dominos – It's Too Late
    • From season 2, episode 14, originally aired 6. January 1971.
  4. Derek and the Dominos with Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins – Matchbox
  5. Charley Pride – Able Bodied Man
  6. Chorus & Johnny Cash – Country Gold Intro
  7. Bill Monroe And His Blue Grass Boys – Blue Moon Of Kentucky
    • From season 2, episode 8, originally aired 11. November 1970.
  8. Loretta Lynn – I Know How
    • From season 1, episode 30, originally aired 29. April 1970.
  9. Jerry Lee Lewis – Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On
  10. Johnny Cash – Ride This Train
  11. Johnny Cash – America The Beautiful
  12. Johnny Cash – This Land Is Your Land
  13. The Everly Brothers with Ike Everly and Johnny and Tommy Cash – That Silver Haired Daddy Of Mine
  14. Ray Charles – Ring Of Fire
  15. Johnny Cash – A Boy Named Sue
  16. Conway Twitty – Hello Darlin'
  17. Mother Maybelle Carter – Black Mountain Rag
  18. Tony Joe White and Johnny Cash – Polk Salad Annie
  19. Glen Campbell – Wichita Lineman
    • From season 2, episode 10, originally aired 25. November 1970.
  20. Neil Diamond – Cracklin' Rosie
  21. Ray Price – For The Good Times
  22. Roy Orbison – Cryin'
    • From season 1, episode 15, originally aired 27. September 1969.
  23. Roy Orbison and Johnny Cash – Pretty Woman
    • From season 1, episode 15, originally aired 27. September 1969.
  24. Johnny Cash – Wanted Man
  25. Chet Atkins and Johnny Cash – Recuerdo De La Alhambra
  26. Chet Atkins – Medley (Back Home in Indiana, Country Gentleman, Mister Sandman, Wildwood Flower, Freight Train)
    • From season 1, episode 30, originally aired 29. April 1970.
  27. June Carter Cash with Homer And Jethro – Baby, It's Cold Outside
  28. Merle Haggard – No Hard Times
  29. Merle Haggard and Johnny Cash – Sing Me Back Home
  30. Carl Perkins – Blue Suede Shoes
    • From season 2, episode 16, originally aired 21. January 1971.
  31. Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, The Carter Family and The Statler Brothers – The Old Account Was Settled Long Ago
  32. Roy Clark – Medley (In The Summertime, 12th Street Rag)
    • From season 1, episode 6, originally aired 19. July 1969.
  33. The Statler Brothers – Flowers On The Wall
  34. Johnny Cash – Working Man Blues
  35. Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash – Jackson
  36. Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash – Turn Around
  37. Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash – I Love You Because
  38. Hank Williams Jr. – Medley (You Win Again, Cold Cold Heart, I Can't Help It If I'm Still In Love With You, Half As Much)
  39. Johnny Cash – A Wonderful Time Up There

CD track list[edit]

  1. Johnny Cash – I Walk the Line
  2. Johnny Cash – Flesh and Blood
  3. Tammy Wynette – Stand by Your Man
  4. George Jones – She Thinks I Still Care / Love Bug / The Race Is On
  5. Johnny Cash – I've Been Everywhere
  6. Bobby Bare – Detroit City
  7. Ray Charles – Ring of Fire
  8. Derek and the Dominoes – It's Too Late
  9. Kris Kristofferson – Loving Her Was Easier (Than Anything I'll Ever Do Again)
  10. Roy Orbison – Only the Lonely / Oh, Pretty Woman
  11. Johnny Cash with The Carter Family and The Statler Brothers – Belshazzar
  12. Waylon Jennings – Brown Eyed Handsome Man
  13. Johnny Cash and Joni Mitchell – Girl From the North Country
  14. James Taylor – Fire and Rain
  15. Johnny Cash, The Carter Family, The Statler Brothers, Carl Perkins and The Tennessee Three – Daddy Sang Bass
  16. Johnny Cash – Closing Monologue – I Walk the Line (reprise)

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Kienzle, Rich (2007) "Notes for The Best of the Johnny Cash TV Show" DVD Boxed Set (Reverse Angle Productions)
  2. ^
    • Cash, Johnny; Carr, Patrick (1997). Cash: The Autobiography (1st ed.). New York, NY: Harper San Francisco. p. 58. ISBN 0-06-072753-5.
  3. ^ "The Johnny Cash Show".
  4. ^ "Johnny Cash series ready". Ocala Star-Banner TV Week. August 27, 1976. p. 39.