Mar 7, 2013

The Hager Twins: Picking and Grinning


What can you say about twin brothers who grew up in Chicago but claimed to be cowboys?

Who were discovered working at Disneyland, and signed on by "pickin' and grinnin'" Buck Owens to 16 years of the hayseed "family values" variety show Hee-Haw (1969-1985).  Yet posed nude (and coyly hidden) in Playgirl in 1973?










(But not to worry; fully clothed, their tight cowboy jeans left nothing to the imagination.)








Who released singles like "Gotta Get to Oklahoma (Cause California's Getting to Me)" and an album entitled Motherhood, Apple Pie, and the Flag,  yet had a fast-paced, self-deprecating comedy routine, like a country-western Sonny and Cher?  In glittery, rhinestone-enlaced costumes, like country-western Liberaces?

Who sang mournful songs about cheating girlfriends and absent wives, but never married and were never seen with women?  They lived close together through all of their lives (except for a 3 1/2 year separation), and died eight months apart in 2008 and 2009.

Not many gay kids looked to Hee-Haw for role models.  But maybe they should have.

In addition to Hee-Haw, Jim and Jon starred in the tv movie Twin Detectives (1976), about twin detectives, and on a 1978 episode of The Bionic Woman, as evil twin clones from another planet.

The handsome, photogenic duo spent the last twenty years of their lives appearing at county fairs, nostalgia events, and the annual Twins Day Festival in Twinsburg, Ohio.  Singing, riffing, and signing autographs for their thousands of devoted fans.