On This Day: Johnny Cash Makes Guest Appearance on ‘The Ford Show’ in 1960

by Halle Ames
(Photo Credit: Robin Jones/ Getty Images)

On this day 61 years ago, the Man in Black, otherwise known as Johnny Cash, made a guest appearance on The Ford Show.

Johnny Cash wasn’t the only notable name who made a guest appearance, however. He was joined by country artists Homer & Jethro on the NBC TV The Ford Show, presented by Tennessee Ernie Ford.

Homer & Jethro and The Ford Show

Homer & Jethro weren’t your typical country artists, although. Henry D. “Homer” Haynes and Kenneth C. “Jethro” Burns were popular from the 1940s until the 60s on radio and television for their humorous and satirical remakes of popular songs. 

It seems to have worked out for the duo, who were also known as the Thinking Man’s Hillbillies. Furthermore, Homer & Jethro received a Grammy Award in 1959 and are members of the Country Music Hall of Fame.

The Ford Show featuring Tennessee Ernie Ford was an American staple on Thursday nights from October 4, 1956, to June 29, 1961, for a total of 121 episodes. Despite backlash from the studio producers and executives, Ford closed all but 18 of the shows with a hymn or other spiritual song, which ironically became one of the most popular segments on the show. 

Johnny Cash

Numerous stars made their way onto The Ford Show stage, with the first two being Greer Garson and Reginald Gardiner. When the program featured Johnny Cash in 1960, he wasn’t the household name we know him as today. He was still an up-and-coming star.

June Carter also was a guest on the show in October of 1957. She and Johnny Cash didn’t get married until 1968. However, Cash toured with the Carter family in the early 1960s, which included Mother Maybelle’s daughters, Anita, June, and Helen. June Carter admitted later that she had a crush on Cash at the time. 

“Now we’ve got a treat for all you young folks here at the fair,” Ernie Ford excitedly announces to his audience. “This good-looking feller is just about the top recording artist in his field. He’s so popular, folks are buying anything with his name on it with a hole in the middle. Let’s give a great big welcome to Johnny Cash!”

The Man in Black, sporting his typical black suit, performed “Big River” and his 1958 hit “Don’t Take Your Guns to Town” on The Ford Show

Watch the exclusive TEF Enterprises memory clip, uploaded in 2007, below! You won’t want to miss out on this amazing Cash performance.