Upfront, A ‘Man in Black’

(Above: Johnny Cash superimposed with a Vanderbilt University audience member. Source: YouTube screenshot)

On the eve of the most patriotic of American holidays, we’d like to honor music superstar Johnny Cash, a bastion of American patriotism whose 1969-1971 ABC variety series The Johnny Cash Show begins weekly summertime reruns this Sunday at 10 pm ET on GetTV.

A hallmark of Cash’s patriotism was his firm conviction that loving one’s country included protesting its injustices – from the treatment of prisoners and Native Americans to the many issues, especially the Vietnam War, that were inflaming young Americans during the show’s run nearly 50 years ago.

This was most evident in a special episode, “Johnny Cash on Campus.” Filmed live on the campus of Nashville’s Vanderbilt University and shown on February 17, 1971, the show’s highlights included appearances by Neil Young and James Taylor – and the very first performance of Cash’s soon-to-be signature song, “Man in Black.” As he notes, he wrote the song specifically for these students, who sit in awe and respond with a standing ovation. In the early 2000s, this episode came in at #37 on then music-centric VH1’s list of the 100 Greatest Video Moments in Rock History.

GetTV’s schedule for The Johnny Cash Show has been announced, except for a few dates in September. We implore the channel to add “Johnny Cash on Campus” to its roster, which already includes an all-gospel episode (with the Staples Singers, Mahalia Jackson and Billy Graham) that aired the week after “On Campus.” You can help too by letting @getTV know that #WeWantCashOnCampus! Here are more “On Campus” highlights:

And here’s GetTV’s schedule of The Johnny Cash Show for July and August:

7/8 – Creedence Clearwater Revival, Roy Orbison

7/15 – Loretta Lynn, Rick Nelson, Kris Kristofferson

7/22 – Merle Haggard, Anne Murray

7/29 – Ray Charles, Neil Diamond, Tammy Wynette

8/5 – Glen Campbell, Marty Robbins

8/12 – Joni Mitchell, The Monkees

8/19 – Stevie Wonder, Bill Monroe, Ian & Sylvia

8/26 – Derek & the Dominoes (featuring Eric Clapton) in their only known TV performance

You can receive GetTV with an antenna connected to your TV set. To locate your local station, visit GetTV’s “Get the Channel” page.

About Les Luchter

Les Luchter is a former managing editor of Multichannel News, editor-in-chief of Cable Marketing, and news editor of Broadcast Week.

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