The Foote Files: Remembering Earl Scruggs

By Ken Foote, CBS 11

We lost the legendary bluegrass musician Earl Scruggs this past Wednesday. He was 88 and passed away of natural causes.

My first memories of him were not of his extraordinary contribution to country and blue grass music, but as a regular guest star on the hit CBS series, “The Beverly Hillbillies”. Scruggs and his partner, Lester Flatt, played themselves but played the role of close friends to the Jed Clampett family. The duo wrote the theme song to the show, “The Ballad Of Jed Clampett”. If you grew up during that time, you most likely could sing the entire song for memory! The song also made the national hit parade in 1963.

Lester and Earl appeared regularly on the show until 1968. Lester’s TV wife was this blond bombshell, Joi Lansing, who also started in one of the first TV sex comedies, Love That Bob, with Bob Cummings. I think she was even prettier than Elly Mae Clampett, played by Donna Douglas (Lansing died of breast cancer in 1972 at the age of 43). They also had a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame because of their enormous contributions to American music and entertainment. In 1985, Lester was inducted into the Country Music Hall Of Fame. Their signature hit, “Foggy Mountain Breakdown” was selected in 2005 for the Library Of Congress’ National Recording Registry of works of unusual merit.

He was married to his wife Louise for 57 years, She passed away in 2006.

Nobody could play a banjo like Earl Scruggs. Thanks, Earl, for all you did for us.

See you next time.

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