Home TV by Decade TV Shows - 1980s Barbara Mandrell & The Mandrell Sisters

Barbara Mandrell & The Mandrell Sisters

1 9 8 0 – 1 9 8 2 (USA)

This NBC variety series hosted by Barbara Mandrell and her sisters Louise and Irlene had a distinct Country and Western flavour.

All three sang and played musical instruments: Barbara the banjo, steel guitar, piano and saxophone; Louise, the banjo and fiddle; and Irlene, the drums.

They engaged in a certain amount of tongue-in-cheek sibling rivalry, and throughout each telecast, there was byplay among the sisters, including comedy sketches describing their relationship over the years.

The main emphasis of the show was on music, though, and the sisters hosted guest appearances from stars like Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers, Marty Robbins, Tennessee Ernie Ford and Charley Pride.

A group of five life-size Krofft puppets called Truck Shackley and the Texas Critters served as the resident band (Sid and Marty Krofft produced the show).

At the peak of the variety show’s success, the show was drawing over 40 million viewers per week. In the days before cable, this number was extremely high so many were surprised to hear the show was cancelled after two seasons.

The show stopped filming, not on the network’s terms, but rather Barbara’s. She was still performing and creating music on top of the show and due to all the stress, she suffered from a vocal strain. Her doctor advised her to end the show.