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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Myron Floren filled for an absent Welk. The following week, Welk publicly thanked Floren for the fine job he did and made an off-hand comment about retirement. This led to a flood of letters from the public. Weeks later Welk brought up the topic and explained that it was a joking comment and assured the audience that he had no plans to retire simply because he loved what he was doing. See more »
When the show is shown in syndication on PBS, it contains color presentation clips filmed and hosted by surviving members of the Welk musical family. This is presumably done to pad the show out to the length it would be with commercial breaks. See more »
I used to be forced to watch this show every saturday night or else go to my room and read. My mother just had to see Lawrence'a Walk'a and his'a Cham'apayne'a Band'a. I always wondered why he talked so weird, turns out his folks were from Germany or some place so he picked up their accent. I couldn't stand the show back in the 50's, but now wish I could see some of the old re-runs. Welk had some good musicians and dancers, and they always put on a very professional show. However, I could not stand Joe Feeney, the Irish tenor. He was most assuredly not wunnerful'a, wunnerful'a.
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