Renowned bandleader Lawrence Welk began his own variety series in 1955... and it has never stopped running. Each program was straightforward musical numbers from Welk's band (many of which had featured solos at one point or another), as well as vocal selections and dance numbers from the show's cast. Most of the introductions to the performances, read stiffy by Welk, were kept short. Many of the shows revolved around a certain theme (e.g., "The Music Man" or the Fourth of July), with appropriate songs and dance numbers. The most famous of the featured singers were the Lennon Sisters (Dianne, Janet, Kathy and Peggy), who were featured most every week for 13 years. At the end of each show, Welk would invite women from the audience on stage to dance with him as the theme, "Bubbles in the Wine" (and later, "Champagne Fanfare") played. The show enjoyed a 16-year network run on ABC, and later a succesful 11-year syndicated run. Just months after the original series ended, older shows (from ... Written by
Brian Rathjen <email@example.com>
I first saw this show in my grandparents' house in Binghamton, NY in the 1960s, and enjoyed The Lennon Sisters. This show was so fun to watch! When I got hooked on the show again in Texas in 1996, I took a liking to the peppery singer Bob Lido.
Perhaps the show seemed like old hat in 1974. However, when it ran on ABC from 1955 to 1971, it really reflected the tastes of much of Middle America, to which I belonged to. The 1960s did not just belong to the Flower Children; it belonged just as much to those who liked the performers on this show (as well as other shows, such as The F.B.I.). And I condemn no side; I am a Green Party type who likes this sort of show. I especially like the older episodes, and am fond of Alice Lon.
This show should be praised for preserving big band music at a time when it had fallen out of favor. And so many of the performers should be recognized for their efforts. I am sorry Bob Lido is gone, but at least Dick Dale, Anacani, Ken Delo and--yes--Joe Feeney are still around to provide great performances. I also enjoy Bobby Burgess, Mary Lou Metzger and the others as well, too.
May this show keep running on PBS for many years to come!!
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