Slim Pickens (1919-1983) was a character actor best known for scores of Western films, his spoof of same in Mel Brooks' Blazing Saddles, and his portrayal of bomb-riding Major T. J. "King" Kong in Dr. Strangelove, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.
From 1981 to 1983, Pickens was a regular on Hee Haw (the result of a guest appearance the previous season), hosting the "Slim's Bar-B-Q" segments which showcased assorted guest stars, musical or otherwise. In the October 24, 1981 show, Pickens interviewed Big Bird. He also encountered Oscar the Grouch and Bruno the Trashman on the December 12, 1981 broadcast.
Born Louis Burton Lindley, Jr., Pickens adopted his punning stage name during his early career as a rodeo clown. He shifted to films in the 1950s, playing the comedic sidekick to Rex Allen in nearly a dozen Westerns for Republic Pictures. His distinctive, "yee-haw"-ing drawl was a fixture of the genre, including Major Dundee (with Charlton Heston), the 1966 remake of Stagecoach (as driver Buck, originated by Andy Devine in the 1930s), assorted Disney efforts like Savage Sam, and Tom Horn (1980, with Steve McQueen).
When not in the saddle, Pickens appeared in such diverse fare as the WWII drama In Harm's Way, Otto Preminger's "head" film Skidoo, Steven Spielberg's comedy 1941, and John Landis' The Howling (as the sheriff). Inevitably, he guest starred at one time or another on nearly every major TV Western, including The Lone Ranger, Gunsmoke, Wagon Train, Bonanza, and Maverick, as well as Lassie, Night Gallery, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and The Love Boat. Regular or recurring TV assignments included Disney's The Swamp Fox (as one of Leslie Nielsen's renegades), The Outlaws, Custer, BJ and the Bear (as Sgt. Beauregarde Wiley), and The Nashville Palace (as the show's announcer).
- In the script for the unfinished Muppet video Campfire Songs, Pickens is listed as a possible voice model for Hoss the Horse, along with fellow Western actor Chill Wills and 1940s radio character Senator Claghorn.
- ↑ Hee Haw (a Titles & Air Dates Guide)
- ↑ "Tube Talk: Slim Pickens Joins 'Hee Haw' Cast." Buck, Jerry. The Associated Press. September 11, 1981