When Barbara Mandrell and Her Sisters Came on TV We All Watched, Laughed and Loved the Country Music
OK, think back. No, maybe a little further back than that.
Remember when television had really great variety shows? Before the days of 'reality' shows that are, well, anything but real. I'm talking about legendary shows like 'The Smothers Brothers', 'Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour', and of course (for my money) the best of them all 'The Carol Burnett Show'. We only got three channel's back there in 'them thar old days', and yet there was always something good on, and maybe more importantly, something the whole family could enjoy.
It was in 1980 that we were introduced to 'Barbara Mandrell and The Mandrell Sisters'. Of course, millions of us already knew Barbara as a country music superstar, but perhaps many of us were less familiar with the 'sisters', Louise and Irlene.
The Mandrell's weren't shy about sharing their country music with their TV audience, as evidenced in the great video below. But they also didn't confine their guest's to the country music field. No, this was a variety show, with so much great comedy and guests ranging from Kenny Rogers to Tony Orlando to Andre crouch and anyone and everyone in-between.
The show lasted until 1982, which doesn't seem like a long run, but it was a huge hit. And it was because of her doctor's recommendation (vocal chord strain) that Barbara pulled the plug on the show.
So whatever happened to these talented ladies?
Well, Barbara is largely retired from here incredible Hall of Fame career at the age of 66 (by the way, Barbara is a Christmas Day baby, cool!). Louise (the dark haired sister for those that don't know) is 60, has appeared on shows with Lee Greenwood in the not too far past, also does some acting and stays active. And 59 year old Irlene, perhaps the best 'actor' of the trio because she is anything but the ditsy sister she often portrayed on the show, is a very talented and accomplished outdoors-woman, an expert hunter and has appeared often on outdoors type shows on television.
Don't you wish that some of these so called 'reality shows' would just up and disappear and be replaced by some great variety shows? OK ladies, Barbara, Louise, Irlene, are you listening?