Remembering the “The Lawrence Welk Show”

AP Photo/Harold Matosian

The Lawrence Welk Show was a prime time show recorded live in Los Angeles from 1951-1955. The PBS station program featured bubbles as the show opened upon the face of its well-loved bandleader and maestro, Lawrence Welk, often with his accordion. ABC later picked up the show, and it was put into syndication. The Lawrence Welk Show first aired in 1955 on a Saturday night, which it would continue to air on for years to come, becoming a tradition for many homes across the united states.

Videos by Rare

The German-born Welk immigrated to the United States with his family and landed in North Dakota. At the age of 16, he asked for an accordion. He traveled the midwest performing with it and created the Welk Orchestra with his family. With the young accordionist, their first big gig was at the Trianon Ballroom in Chicago. They were featured in a few Hollywood films, and afterward, they hightailed it for Los Angeles. The Lawrence Welk Band booked the Aragon Ballroom on Venice beach. They stayed for four years playing champagne music. It wasn’t long before the band was playing on public television.

A Variety Show And It’s Stars

The variety show was one of the longest-running. From its conception in 1955, it ran for twenty-seven years. The show was filmed live in the Aragon ballroom. The musical show featured all kinds of music, but specifically in the form of big band, champagne music, jazz, polka pop, gospel, and jive. Initially, the show was named The Dodge Dancing Party, and Dodge sponsored it. A few other names considered were Lawrence Welk Presents Top Tunes and New Talents: The Lawrence Welk Plymouth Show. In 1960 it was renamed The Lawrence welk Show as it became popularly known.

Performers in the TV show included the Lawrence Welk Band. He assembled many musicians from the 1940’s jitterbug bands like Bob Ralston, Dick Dale, Bob Lido, and Larry Hooper. He often gave his band members solo musical numbers so the audience could get to know and love them. Aladdin Pallante was the show’s violinist. Aladdin often did skits with the musical family, the Lennon Sisters, or fellow violinists Bob Lido. Another fan favorite was Jimmy Roberts. or Gentlemen Jim. He stayed on from 1954-1982. He often sang with the  Champagne Lady, Alice Lon. Alice Lon was known as the show’s champagne lady; she replaced the prior one and won the spot in an audition.

The Lennon Sisters

The Lennon Sisters were another one of the show’s favorite act. Many young people watched the show with their parents for the young sisters. The Lennon Sisters included Janet, Kathy, Peggy, and Dianne. They left the show in 1968 to work with Jimmy Durante resents the Lennon Sisters. They worked with bigger acts like bob hope, Phyllis Diller, and jack benny.

Joe Feeney was an Irish tenor that joined in 1957; he often played with Bob Ralston on the organ. Jack Imel joined the Lawrence welk show after leaving the navy in 1957. He was a marimba player and a dancer. He acted in skits and tap routines with bobby burgess and sang with Mary Lou Metzger before becoming the show’s associate producer.

Guy and Ralna English, a husband and wife team, joined the show and were the most popular show members of the 70s. Today they are no longer married, but they still perform together. Others like Tom Netherton first appeared in special series like the 1973 Christmas show and continued to perform on the show in the future.

Watch: John Lennon Explains Why The Beatles Broke Up on “The Dick Cavett Show”

What do you think?

Woman Clings to Speeding Car After Couple Steals $10,000 Exotic Puppy

Kim Kardashian and Kanye West are Reportedly Getting a Divorce