Sunday, December 31, 2006

New Years' Eve: Have a great 2007

This is it....the last day of 2006, and what a year it was!

Here in the cyber champagne world, it has been a year of growth. Welk Musical has continue to grow, the launch of new webpages such as and of course earlier this year, the launch of this fine companion blog.

A big thank you to everyone who dropped in and helped make it a success!

Here's to the new year, may it be marked by peace, prosperity and good wishes for the musical family and yours!

Friday, December 29, 2006

Up Close and Personal

That's the way Jimmy Roberts likes to sing to the his most loyal fans....the ladies, and they love it of course!

Only two days left in 2006....have you made your New Year's resolutions yet?

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Picture of the day (12-27-06)

From the 1970 New Years Eve show, Gail Farrell and Mary Lou Metzger are learning a new instrument....the coconuts!

Sounds like something straight outta Gilligan's Island.....

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The Day After Christmas

How was your Christmas? For yours truly, the's been fun and very much seasonal.

I spent Christmas Day with my mother, father and younger sister which went very well....I got socks, new pairs of pants and a book about podcasting, something I'm gonna look more into and learn and a shiny new Stiletto, from the good folks of Sirius Satellite Radio!

Once I get the bugs worked out, and then some....I'm really gonna have some fun!

On Saturday, we did get Welk on local public's "America's Wonderland" hosted by Dick Dale. Kinda strange airing a non-holiday Welk show at this time but still, a very good show through and through.

I also spent the holidays sending out Christmas cards to members of the Musical Family, hopefully they got them and liked them, and that in a nutshell turned out to be a fine holiday season so far.

Just remember, only 364 shopping days left until Christmas 2007!

Also, happy Boxing Day to our British and Canadian friends and those living in the Commonwealth realms!


Saturday, December 23, 2006

Memories of Christmas Past

Here's Bobby Burgess and his daughter Becki from 1981,

....and here's Bob Lido with some really attractive reindeer.....

Sandi Griffiths with daughter Jenni with some holiday cheer....

...and here's a snowman come to life, thanks to Gail Farrell and Mary Lou Metzger

....and here's the Maestro with all of his musical family

wishing you and your loved ones a very Merry Christmas!


Friday, December 22, 2006

It's A Small World after all.....

And now, here's a Welk holiday treat....the dolls in the toy shop come to life and sing, sing, SING!


Thursday, December 21, 2006

Are You Ready For Christmas?

Just a few shopping days left....and make sure you have them all wrapped, like Andra Willis is doing.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Picture of the day (12-20-06)

Ho Ho Ho.....Christmas is only five days away, here's some of our dancers doing the Parade of the Toy Soldiers, a Welk Christmas Tradition!

That's Cissy King as Raggedy Ann, Bobby Burgess as Raggedy Andy, Arthur Duncan & Jack Imel as the toy soldiers and Mary Lou Metzger as the Jack In The Box

Monday, December 18, 2006

Ad Naseum during Christmas

As much as I enjoy the Christmas season, the one thing I don't like too much are the incessant holiday-themed commercials shown on television.

Especially those stupid commercials from Jared's Galleria of Jewelry.

Those particular spots run a common theme, woman brags that boyfriend/husband bought her a five thousand dollar rock from Jared, another woman (who cares only about expensive material things) gets mad at her boyfriend/husband (always comes off as dumb and clueless) that the rock came from Jared.

So the message they convey is if you don't buy your significant other an expensive, over-priced jewelery....she won't love you and you'll be shunned by society.

And that's supposed to be the true meaning of Christmas?

That's just an example of how bad commercials are...more examples include spots for Lexus (December to Remember), Radio Shack (please buy this expensive ipod) and Best Buy (ooo...the Wow Factor).

Lawrence Welk had the right idea when he and his musical family did commercials, they were effective, catchy, to the point and pleasant to Ralna doing a spot for Geritol, Mary Lou Metzger for Rose Milk or the Lennon Sisters below for Universal Appliances.
Too bad they don't make commercials like those anymore!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Christmas Reunion

Christmas is just a week away, and what better way to get ready for it this week with a Welk Christmas Reunion from 1985, this week's offering from our public television stations!

Here's the cast getting things started with "Ring Those Christmas Bells"

It's was the first time in three years that viewers at the time, got to see some of their favorite Welk stars, such as Joe Feeney who sang "O Holy Night" and Gail Farrell, Ron Anderson and Micheal Redman with "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" which is always nice to listen to this time of year.

There were plenty of other numbers to get you into that Christmas spirit, such as Jo Ann Castle's "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town", Ken Delo and Kathie Sullivan's duet of "White Christmas" and "Blue Christmas" featuring Ava Barber, who at the time was performing with her band Sweet Apple, the Otwell Twins, Jim Turner and the Aldridge Sisters.

Here's Guy & Ralna together again with the song, "Let There Be Peace On Earth" which is always a timely classic.

Anacani dazzled the audience with "Feliz Navidad" and Dick Dale teamed up with Sandi Griffiths for the every cute, "It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas" and there was the "Carol of the Bells" with Bobby Burgess and Eliane Niverson (Balden) doing the dancing and the cast providing the choral arrangements.

Put all that in there, along with some carols such as "Silent Night" and "Oh Come All Ye Faithful" and you got yourself a great holiday television event for the whole family!

The Maestro himself tells the viewers that a number of music makers are absent from the program; Mickey McMahan, who plays trumpet, was in Brazil at the time, Jack Imel was aboard a cruise ship entertaining the folks and Myron Floren was at New Braunfels, Texas performing at Wurstfest.

That's all for this week, stay safe and happy Christmas shoppin' folks!


Friday, December 15, 2006

Tom Netherton

If you happen to be a young man with a deep baritone singing voice, and featured on the Lawrence Welk show with legions of female fans, life has to be very rough....LOL.

Especially if you're Tom Netherton, member of the musical family from 1973 to 1981.

Growing up in Bloomington, Minnesota; Tom served in the Army during the Vietnam conflict, stationed in Panama. While there, he became a born-again Christian and having been torn between a career in music and religion, he followed the same path of another performer, Pat Boone and combined both.

It's been a very wise decision, from Welk and beyond, Tom has entertained millions with his exceptional singing voice and boysih good looks....pefroming both secular and religious concerts and appearing on stage with his acting skills, with such plays as Oklahoma!

And you can still see him work his charm, just check out his official webpage and check for his latest concert dates!

And yes girls, he's still the Maestro used to say.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Tennessee Bird Walk

It will be eight days before Winter officially commences, just where are the birds are going this year?

If you wanna know about some certain birds from the Volunteer State, listen to Guy & Ralna's rendition of a cute novelty song from 1970...and it's one of my favorites!


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Today the Free Press....tommorow the Blade!

Looks like alot more nice folks are taking notice of this blog these days.....

I got word that Welk Musical THE BLOG got some wunnerful reviews from one of my hometown newspapers, the Toledo Free Press, and that is totally cool!

It just proves that alot of folks are interested in my two cents plus Welk memories that come with it.

Here's the link with the review: TOLEDO FREE PRESS: BLOG IT!

Picture of the day (12-13-06)

Jack Imel, Arthur Duncan and Bobby Burgess getting ready for a dance-off, who will win?

And who will get served? You be the judge!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

By The Time I Get To Phoenix

Here's another vintage video treat for all you Ralna English fans. If you liked her when she sings, "How Great Thou Art", "Tangerine" or even "The Tennessee Bird Walk"'ll like her even more when she takes on this classic Glen Campbell hit from 1969, and it's one of the blogmeister's personal favorites as well!

And dig the mood lighting behind the orchestra, totally sixties!


Monday, December 11, 2006

Jerry Burke

If you ever wondered where the "sparkle" in the Champagne Music comes from, you can bet your bottom dollar that it must have come from the magic fingertips of pianist/organist Jerry Burke!

Born in Marshalltown, Iowa on July 26, 1911...he grew up in Aberdeen, South Dakota where he spent his early days learning the piano and the organ. Jerry was only 23 years old when he was hired by Lawrence Welk to play in his orchestra, which by then was doing one-nighters all over the Midwest and based out of radio station WNAX in Yankton, South Dakota.

By the time the music makers made their ABC network debut in 1955, Jerry at 44 years of age was already the "grandpappy" of the music makers. He was a master at the Hammond organ and the Novachord, and released several solo albums of his work. In 1959, he became the first member of the twenty-five year club, which in later years would include Barney Liddell, Orie Amodeo, Myron Floren and Dick Dale.

He passed away from cancer on Feburary 13, 1965...having spent 31 years in the orchestra, but what a bubbly and sparkly ride it was!


Saturday, December 09, 2006

Saturday Night in Toledo, Ohio....

.....and it is still pledge time for my local PBS stations, WGTE and WBGU.

WGTE aired "Precious Memories" again this evening, and while it's a very good show....that's two straight weeks! Could they have at least shown "Milestones and Memories" or even "God Bless America" for crying out loud?

They also aired My Music: The Best of Fifties (and Sixties) Pop: Part Two, and I felt that Mary Lou Metzger's co-hosting appearances second time around was very very short...she only appeared in ONE co-host segment (introducing the DeCastro Sisters...whom I never heard of) and two seperate pledge pitches when it came time for everyone to call in.

Still, even though her on-camera time was limited, Mary Lou is lookin' fine....hello nurse.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Happy Birthday Ken Delo!

Today is Ken Delo's birthday, he's very special not because he can sing, dance and make people laugh...but for the webmaster, he hails from Detroit, just sixty miles north from my hometown of Toledo!

Ken, in addition to all those talents, is also a terrfic magician, hypnotist and author....remember "The Frozen Horror?"

He's also an icon down in Australia, appearing on TV down under with Jonathon Daly as the team of 'Delo and Daly". He also had the good luck of meeting tap dancer Arthur Duncan there whom many years later in 1969, Arthur recommened to the Maestro about Ken being on his show.

It was a very solid move, he became a member of the musical family and the fans, especially the ladies in the audience, loved it!

His children, Kimberly and Kevin, have been on the show as well and have many of the musical talents inherited from their famous dad.

You can find more about Ken and then some at his official webpage.

Happy Birthday Ken.....AH-HA!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Meet The Band

Here's another gem from the early days of the Welk show, we get to meet the Maestro's band as the music makers introduce themselves!


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Picture of the day (12-6-06)

Something nice for the Christmas season, Janet Lennon and Aladdin playing daughter and father as they great ready to celebrate the holidays.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Deep down....It's Norma Zimmer

Here's another vintage commercial featuring one of our Welk stars, this one is Champagne Lady Norma Zimmer for Deep Down arthritis cream.


Monday, December 04, 2006

Bob Smale

To get your Mondays going well, and a good start to a new week....let Bob Smale work his magic fingers at the piano.

Born and raised in Oakland, CA (also known as Raider Nation), Smale graduated from Fremont High School and worked with the Mary Kay Trio before joining the Welk Orchestra in 1969. He's an accomplished arranger as well and has provided piano background for Tom Netherton, Ralna English and Jimmy Roberts just to name a few.

But when teamed with fellow pianist and Bob (Ralston that is), they bring back memories of the twin pianists made famous by Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians!

Now that's music to my ears!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

When you go mail your Christmas cards....

Just don't forget to get some stamps! Also, be sure they are the right ones....LOL

Yesterday, we got "Precious Memories" in my viewing no regular Welk which was scheduled to be "Hooray For Hollywood".

It's Pledge Time again....when public television needs cool cabbage to keep our champagne on the tube, and I'm doing my part.

I also took the time to create a new webpage, it's Welk and right now it's still being put together but I do have some great stuff up on the picture below to enter the webpage!


Friday, December 01, 2006

Birthday Girls Dee Dee and Sherry

Today is the first of December, and we have duo birthdays in the Musical Family to celebrate!

Dianne "Dee Dee" Lennon, of the Lennon Sisters

and Sherry Aldridge of the Aldridge Sisters!

Now that's a great way to start of December!

Happy Birthday Dee Dee and Sher...may you have many more


Thursday, November 30, 2006

Have you taken your Geritol today?

Here's a real treat, an actual Geritol commercial from the late 1970s featuring Ralna English followed by the Maestro himself!

And yes, they still make that stuff....check out their website.


Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Picture of the day (11-29-06)

From 1969, the audience is out on the dance floor with that Champagne Music playing oh so freely....and if you notice the girl in pink to your left, that's Gail Farrell!

This is her first season on the show, and she's getting acquainted with the fans of the Welk show....and the best is yet to come!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


Calcutta, as Welk fans know, became the Welk Orchestra's first very big hit single which reached Number One on the music charts in 1961. It has a really great beat that everyone can dance to!

From 1964, here's the Maestro, with a rare early appearance by George Cates, in the recording studio ready to record the song.


Monday, November 27, 2006

Dance those Monday morning blues away!

And let Arthur Duncan show you how! He's even got Lawrence interested in learning a new step or two.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

This Colorful World

This week, the good folks from public television land gave us "This Colorful World" straight from the Land of Champagne and Polkas. Let's just say it is a colorful show; here's the opening number, "There's a Rainbow on my Shoulder".

Originally aired on January 25, 1975; Sandi Griffiths and her family hosted the wraparounds. She talked mainly about her kids and her husband Brent's carpet business, I wonder what's the name of the company? It's time for me to put a new carpet in my house.

Anyway, back to the show; there were plenty of colorful numbers such as Norma Zimmer's "My Sweet Little Alice Blue Gown" and Tom Netherton's "Blue Velvet". Clay Hart did a terrfic job with his acoustic rendition of "Little Green Apples" and Tanya Falan dazzled the studio audience with "Mountain Greenery".

The orchestra instrumentals were terrfic, such as "Deep Purple" and "That Old Black Magic" which was always one of my favorite pieces. As always, one can't get enough of the group when the girls got together for "Scarlet Ribbons" with Sandi on lead vocals, Larry Hooper leading Gail, Sandi and Mary Lou for "When the Red, Red Robin comes Bob, Bob, Bobbin' Along" and an exciting "Blue Skies" with Bob Havens on trombone with the girls providing vocals.

Anacani sang "The Moon Was Yellow" and while she sung it well....I always thought the moon was more grayish in color. And of course, Arthur Duncan dancing to "Golden Slippers" in which he actually wore golden slippers!

It was a colorful show filled with a tapestry of clothes made possible by costume guru Rose Weiss, and the songs in the show accented the colors perfectly!

That's all for this week, next PBS station will go into pledge mode while some may get "Hooray for Hollywood", hope you have a chance to polish off the rest of that Thansgiving Turkey and keep a song in your heart.


Friday, November 24, 2006

Johnny Zell

It's the day after Thanksgiving, which means today is Black Friday; However, it's also a day of celebration....Johnny Zell's birthday!

Our fearless trumpet guru hails from Fort Benning, GA but as a kid, lived in Los Angeles. Although he tried to audition for the Welk orchestra when he was just 15 and got turned down due to his age, it didn't deter him from pursuing a career in music, in fact he was motivated more than ever.

After high school; he was drafted by the Army where he got to play for the NORAD Commanders band and THAT's where he got a second chance to audition for the Maestro, thanks in part to being a guest star. Impressed; Lawrence gave him a job in the band upon completing his military service, that was in 1968 and of course the rest was history.

Today, Johnny and his wife Laura lives in Oregon and continues to perform his artistry with the trumpet, and thanks to his official webpage....teaches aspiring musicians to play the trumpet online!

Happy Birthday Johnny! May your birthday be "A String of Pearls!"


Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Turkey Day!

I hope everyone is having a wunnerful Thanksgiving, although the football was left to be desired so far....the food and the family were great! I can still feel taste that turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing and pumpkin pie....they are still rumbling in my stomach.

Hope you all had ideal Turkey Day weather, it is foggy as London pea soup here in Toledo. Tommorow is Black Friday, where Christmas Shopping officially begins....I choose to wait til' later to start my shopping.

Keep a song in your heart......Later

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The Gift from the Aldridge Sisters

Welk fans everywhere! For this Christmas season, you can own this lovely holiday CD by the Aldridge Sisters with the Billy Andrusco Trio, it's "The Gift" which will make a great gift for your loved ones!

CLICK HERE for more information, and have a Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

Name That Tune

This is from an early 1960s episode of the Welk show, here's the Maestro getting things started.

Can any of you guess who is the artist and what song it is? Just listen carefully and figure it out before the number ends.


Picture of the day (11-22-06)

Here's Bobby Burgess and Elaine Balden painting the old town red with a few dance moves....just a little putting on the ritz.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Bobby Burgess & Barbara Boylan dance!

You'll remember the classic sitcom "My Three Sons." It was produced by Don Fedderson, who also produced the Welk show, but also it's iconic theme song was performed by the music makers!

Here's Bobby Burgess and Barbara Boylan from April 1961 dancing to that theme song with Frank Scott at the harpischord. Aladdin will now introduce the number.


The Sights Of Autumn

It's everywhere....even on the band's outfits! Love that bright orange jackets and pants! With Myron Floren at the accordian and Bob Smale at the keyboard, they make great music for any season.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Forever Blowing Bubbles in Eastlake Part Two: Electric Boogaloo

I told you the time would come....and it's today!

My pictures and concert write-up for the 2006 Forever Blowing Bubbles concert in Eastlake, OH is now up and running on the motherpage, just click on the link below to view them!


Saturday, November 18, 2006

America, The Melting Pot

Today has been fun, the Bucks beat Michigan 42-39 to play for college football's national championship, and this week's Welk episode is a classic! It's America the Melting Pot which first aired November 18, 1972...exactly 34 years ago today! Here's the cast with the opening number, "What's More American?"

This show had Clay Hart & Sally Flynn host the wraparounds, along with Sadie the Wonderdog...and they take us on a tour of our diverse country on this week of Thanksgiving. There were plenty of diverse numbers in the show, such as Myron Floren's "Lady of Spain" as well as Cissy & Bobby dancing to the Hungarian Csardas. Also, we had Sandi & Sally singing one of my favorite tunes, "Chason De Amor"

Buddy Merrill, with help from the orchestra, demonstrated his guitar skills with "April in Portugal" and later assisted Clay with the "Walting Matilda", both were nice and pleasant sounding. Bud also paired up with his guitar pickin' partner in crime Neil Levang with Estrellia, which was backed up nicely with Bob Lido at the maracas, Bob Ralston at the harpischord and Cissy & Bobby's fine dancing. Neil also went to town later in the show with violinist Harry Hyams with "My Yiddish Mama"

And for a taste of ol' Italy...there's Tanya leading the gang at a Roman cafe with "That's Amore" and proving she more than just Italian, she also played a German barmaid a few numbers later with Dick Dale singing "Du, Du Liegst Mir Im Herzen"...whatever that means, plus there was a real fun number with Cissy & Bobby, Jack Imel and Mary Lou Metzger with "Loch Lomond".

Do they take the high road or the low road? Any way is fine by me!

That's this week's show in a week, we go globe-trotting again with "This Colorful World".

Have a happy Thanksgiving everyone....and to all U of Michigan fans out there, there's always next year!


OSU v Michigan

The Game To End All College Football Games is today, and here in the state of Ohio....this one is a doozy.

This blogmeister's prediction? OHIO STATE 34, MICHIGAN 24 - GO BUCKS!

I wonder if Mr. Welk ever rooted for the Buckeyes or Wolverines? Or perhaps if any of the musical family have followed this rivarly? It would be great to know!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Norman Bailey

If there was ever the standard-bearer of excellent trumpet players from the Welk orchestra, Norman Bailey would fit the bill!

The native of Worcester, Massachusetts; Norm's first long term engagement with a big band was with the Freddy Martin Orchestra where music fans everywhere got to hear him in action. Later he moved out to Southern California where in 1952, he joined the Welk band and that is where "Iron Lips" really made a name for himself.

Some of his most popular numbers on the show include "Sugar Blues" and "Hot Lips". One of his proteges include fellow music maker Johnny Zell.

The father of two daughters; one of them, Janice, made several guest appearances on the show where she displayed her talents as a singer. He was also good friends with the Lennon Sisters and their family, and until he left in 1973, was truly a professional and reliable music maker for all.

He passed on July 11, 1984 aged 71; thankfully, we all have reruns of the show where his memory lives to this day.