Sunday, May 28, 2006

Salute To The Armed Forces

The episode we got for this Memorial Day weekend was a repeat but a goodie...Salute to the Armed Forces hosted by Jack Imel. However, as the picture above's also a combination of a farm-Emmy awards-military show which makes for some surreal but fun viewing. The opening number by the gang is "How You're Gonna Keep' em Down On The Farm".
Here's Myron Floren doing his popular "Alley Cat" accordian number with a few of his hip cats. The show also had a dance number arrangement by Richard Maltby and great individual numbers such as Tanya's "Kiss Me Goodbye", pictured below in the Emmy Award salute portion of the show.
And now we come to the Armed Forces salute portion of the show, here's Jack and his Navy buddies singing "He's Every Inch A Sailor" plus other military favorites such as "This Is The Army Mr. Jones" and "You're A Grand Ol' Flag".
And now here's the cast in the closing number in full military uniform singing the songs of all branches of the military...the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard....a great salute to all our men and women serving to defend our country.
When this episode first aired in May 1968, I couldn't help to think that this particular program came at a time when the US was fighting over in Vietnam and the many anti-war protests. I take the position that Lawrence Welk felt about this show and two years later with "Thank You America" that it doesn't matter if you're a hawk or a dove, here is a great way to express thanks and gratitude for this great country and the oppurtunities it provides...and a deep heart full of thanks to all our military personnel serving our country's honor.

Stay safe week's show should be a great one! It's a new one called "Easy Listening".

Friday, May 26, 2006

Would you trust this man?

He claims that you can make music with these it possible?
According to ol' Professor Spoons....also known as singer, tap dancer, marimba player and "snake oil salesman" Jack can make music!

Memorial Day Greetings

Memorial Day weekend is coming upon us....just wanna wish all you Welk fans out there a safe and blessed weekend plus let's give my and our thanks to our men and women in uniform that have gave their lives defending our that we can all live free.


Thursday, May 25, 2006

Norman Bailey & Charlie Parlato

As Lawrence Welk would say...."A Couple Of Old Timers".

Here's two of the band's talented trumpet players Norman Bailey (the one wearing the glasses) and Charlie Parlato (the short one). Norm has been with the music makers from 1952 to 1973 by way of Worcester, MA (same hometown of sax player Russ Klein) and has the distinction of steering a young Johnny Zell towards the trumpet when he gave the young Johnny one of his horns...of course the rest is history.

Charlie, in addition to be a excellent trumpist, is also a terrific musical comic and vocalist. He's from Fredonia, NY and his own family is quite musical, his grandaughter Gretchen is an accomplished jazz vocalist in her own can learn more about Gretchen by clicking on to her official webpage.

American Idol

This may go a bit off-topic somewhat...but I did watch the finale of American Idol, I'm glad (inspite of some nay-sayers) that Taylor Hicks won.

I know for the big-wig music gurus, and these "so called" music experts and consultants say that he isn't the quote "marketable pop star" end quote....but he does have two things going for him...talent and personality, I would even bectha that Mr. Welk would love to have join his Musical Family in a heartbeat.

He may also be 29 years old....but he also has the youthful vigor and energy that would have been a huge asset to the maestro's show.

Let's hear it for both Soul Power and Champagne Power!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Picture of the day (5-24-06)

Jo Ann Castle and Myron Floren both in a accordian showdown at the O.K. Corral....which one shall win?

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Salute To The Big Bands 1980

Yesterday, I got to see "Salute To The Big Bands" from 1980 and here's my two cents worth....a pretty fine and well-done show.

The maestro kicked things off with "Chattanooga Choo Choo" featuring the band and the singers as shown in the picture there were fine musical performances by the music makers such as Johnny Zell, Skeets Herfurt and not one but TWO clarinet solos by Henry Cuesta, and like I always said....the boys in the band (other than Lawrence) were the real stars of the show, they give the Champagne Music that extra pop.

There were also some good numbers by Guy & Ralna with "Green Eyes", Ava Barber teaming up with Myron Floren for the polka induced "Just Because", and the Aldridge Sisters and Otwell Twins with the Frank Sinatra standard, "I'll Never Smile Again".

And then there's Mary Lou's interview with Elaine Balden...also known as Bobby Burgess' dance partner number three, that makes it three dancing partners in the last four weeks (Barbara Boylan - Southtown USA and Cissy King - Irving Berlin tribute)....and like the other interviews...this one was lively, pleasant and fun. Elaine talked mostly about how she teamed up with Bobby plus her family life...married to Welk show cameraman Jim Balden and her two daughters Alana and Skyla.

Next week is a repeat....1968's Salute To The Armed Forces, but it is also one of my favorite 1960s episodes!

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Andra Willis

Here's Andra Willis waiting for the evenin' train....trying to get the heck out of Flossmoor for some reason.

This talented singer from Danville, Virginia was with the Music Makers for just two seasons from 1967 to 1969...and on the show has done duets with Dick Dale along with a few solo numbers.

She also has done an uncanny impersonation of Granny from "The Beverly Hillbillies" as seen below in the "Salute To The Armed Forces" episode from 1968.

I wonder if Irene Ryan was watching?

Very little is know about her....especially after leaving the Welk show, heck...I don't even know when her birthday is. Maybe some of you Welkies may know some where....or maybe some of her fellow castmates may stumble in her and have an answer.


Friday, May 19, 2006

Picture of the day (5-19-06)

A typical scene from a flower shop....featuring employees of the week (and great singers too) Steve Smith & Tanya Falan (Welk-Roberts).

Bobby Burgess

Here's a shot of dancer Bobby Burgess from the New Years' Eve 1970 show....he must be excited because today (May 19th) can only mean one thing.

It's his birthday today! Let's wish him a very happy birthday today...and we'll tango our way to some ice cream and cake!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Picture of the day (5-17-06)

From the County Fair show in 1971, Joe Feeney and his Welk friends singing "Shine On Harvest Moon".

That can only mean that summer is upon us!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Bill Page and Orie Amodeo

Here are two of the finest musicians from the Welk orchestra circa 1964....Bill Page and Orie Amodeo from the reed section.

Bill was with the band from 1951 to 1965, he played the saxophone, clarinet and flute among his arsenal of music. He's a World War II veteran and in addition to the maestro...he's played for such diverse artists such as Barry Manilow (wonder if he played on the original sessions for "At The Copa?")

Orie of Mechanicsville, NY....was a Welk band member from 1945 to 1970, in addition to playing the sax, flute, piccolo and clarinet....he was also the band's official photographer and a mainstay of their recording sessions for labels Coral, Dot and Ranwood. He left to start his own Count Basie influenced band, The Orie J Orchestra, perhaps some of you have may have seen and heard them in person.

Orie sadly passed on in 1998, but his musical legacy is sure to live on among Welk fans!

Picture of the day

Your elected officials at work....paid for by your tax dollars

Frank Scott

Here's a nice picture of pianist/arranger Frank Scott (1921-1995) after playing a nice instrumental of "Georgia On My Mind" from the Southern Show which aired a few weeks back.

Frank, of course, was with the Welk orchestra from 1956 to 1969 and has been very talented playing the piano, the harpischord and a terrific musical arranger. I always thought that the years he was on, especially during the 1960s, was when the music makers sounded their very best....and that's saying alot considering that all throughout the years, the Welk orchestra made such sweet music this side of heaven.

I would not be suprised if fellow pianists Jo Ann Castle, Bob Ralston, Bob Smale and Gail Farrell were inspired by Frank's artistry to shape their own keyboard talents.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Happy Birthday Natalie Nevins

Today is the fifteenth....just wanna wish Natalie Nevins a very happy birthday today!

Although she was on the show for a brief time (1965 to 1969), her talents as a vocalist plus her musical abilites with the flute and keen comedic timing made her a beloved fan favorite.

Let us all wish her well with warm greetings on her very special day!

Salute to Irving Berlin

Here's a nice shot of Mr. Welk dancing with Cissy King from last Saturday's Irving Berlin episode.

Speaking of that episode, originally aired in the spring of 1973....the Maestro and his musical family pays an hour-long tribute to the Great American Songwriter Irving Berlin, whom at that time would turn 85 on May 11th. It was a fun episode, Guy & Ralna with a nice rendition of "Easter Parade"...I assume that in '73....Easter Sunday was not too far away.

A bunch of Berlin standards were sung....the show opened with "There's No Business Like Show Business", "Say It Isn't So" sung by Tanya, "I Got My Love To Keep Me Warm" by the orchestra and "Lets Go Face The Music And Dance" danced by Cissy and Bobby just to name a few....and of course, the big finale with Norma Zimmer and the chorus singing "God Bless America".

In Mary Lou Metzger's interview segment, she talked to Cissy King and it was a lively and fun chat....very reflective of Cissy's personality. She mostly touched up on how she started dancing at age three, competing in ballroom dance competitions, how she got started on the Welk show and her activities afterwards such as being a choreographer for the Six Flags stage shows and her involvement in teaching up and comers to dance.

I was suprised that there was no mention of her involvement in the Broadway play "Always Patsy", that would have been an exciting topic to cover, but I guess they were short on time.


Jamie Corey

Any of you Welk fans remember Jamie Corey?

Featured here from the 1977 episode titled "Springtime", Jamie who is from Indianapolis....spent just one season on the show (1976-77), she just had one solo number, and I think this is the one....she sang "I Got Rhythm". She was also part of Welk's "Youth Oppurtunity Training Program" getting her formal training down at the Welk resort in Escondido.

Now in super cool blog format!

- Howdy Welkies,

This is a brand new feature I decided to add to Welk Musical official webmaster's blog. I will add my thoughts and two cents to this section that pertains to the Maestro himself and the Musical Family.

I will also add random photos and other fun stuff...and you guys can send feedback as well, its another super cool way to communicate with you the fans!

LET THE BLOGFEST BEGIN in Ah-One and Ah-Two......