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 »
This show doesn't get the respect it deserves...sure it is known for it's tacky wardrobe and watered-down musical numbers critics say, but compared to the tripe on television today, the show is a gem. I have meet several members of Lawrence's musical family in recent live shows, and they are perhaps the most friendly, down to earth entertainers you'll ever meet...and that is something you rarely see today! Also, if you're into pop culture history, watching the show can teach you something....and learn about music too!
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