Thursday, August 31, 2006

Big Tiny Little

Today is the last day of August....and it also means it's Big Tiny Little's birthday today! Having been with Welk from it's national TV debut in 1955 to 1959, his way at the ivories has earned him millions of fans nationwide as well as memories.

Happy Birthday Tiny! Let's us all get down to that Birthday Cake Rag!


Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Picture Of The Day (8-30-06)

Pardon me's time for Dick Dale to take the Chattanooga Choo Choo with his three lovely companions in this 1977 salute to the Big Bands!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Just Working For Peanuts.....

From 1970, that's Jack Imel in the elephant costume playing drums to the tune of "Talk To The Animals" from the Academy Awards episode.

Has to be mighty stuffy inside that suit.....that's showbiz!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

The Sounds Of Summer 1967

This week's show is a delightful trip back to August 5, 1967....a Salute to Summer, which will be coming to a close. Here's our host Jo Ann Castle with a few photographs and memories ready to get this show started.

Jo Ann had a very busy show, she was featured in two numbers; "Minnie The Mermaid" with Larry Hooper and "Throughly Modern Millie" with both times has her playing the piano with such pizazz!

Dick Dale and his cast of Champagne folk singers sang "My True Carrie Love" which had an awesome beat to it. The orchestra did an outstanding job with instrumentals such as "Say It With Music" and "By The Light Of The Silvery Moon" in champagne style of course.

This show was a landmark episode, it was Cissy King's first teamed as Bobby Burgess' dancing partner and they gave the Welk fans a taste of what's to come with "Ma! He's Making Eyes At Me"...a great start to a great duo I must say. Another first was Lynn Anderson, the legendary country singer, making her Welk show debut with "If I Kiss You, Will You Go Away?" which was very nice. And there was Bob Ralston at the piano with a very listenable "When My Dreamboat Comes Home".

There's Natalie Nevins teaming up with Jimmy Roberts singing a medely of songs titled "Why Do I Love You?" and "Cuddle Up a Little Closer" each sung beautifully and pleasant.

Don't they make a nice couple?

We also had Aladdin and Bob Lido as policemen with an ode to Chicago singing "My Kind Of Town", it was hilarious that you had Aladdin expressing his allegiances to the White Sox and Lido with the Cubs....betcha which one is the happier Chicago baseball fan?

And so the show ends with Frank Scott leading the gang on the almighty harpischord with "Crusing Down The River", such sounds and excitement kinda makes me wish summer can go on forever.

Great show this week is the wrapup of the 2005-2006 Welk schedule. I won't be able to provide a rundown....I am off to attend a wedding in Philadelphia.

Stay safe, stay bubbly and keep a song in your heart!


Thursday, August 24, 2006

Picture Of The Day (8-24-06)

It's a regular jam session featuring Myron Floren at the accordian and Bob Ralston at the organ, nothing like a little champagne music on a Thursday....especially when the kids go back to school!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Mickey McMahan

Today by the way is August's first trumpet player's Mickey McMahan's birthday! From 1967 to 1982, this native of Phoenix, AZ has put the pizazz in the Welk orchestra's brass section by leading his mates with his superb artistry with the trumpet. He still on occasion performs live at night clubs and big bands around his Los Angeles home.

Lets give a toot and a toast for Mickey....HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

New York Show 1958

Last week's show was a repeat, it's a black & white New York show from 1958 with wraparounds hosted by Big Tiny Little...also this broadcast was also the only time the Welk Show aired from New York City itself, so without further's the Maestro to start things off!

The Lennon Sisters were big hits in their Big Apple showing, singing "Sugar Moon" since the show aired on August 2, 1958, it was Kathy Lennon's 15th birthday with everyone singing along wishing her birthday greetings! Champagne Lady Alice Lon was terrfic with her number "More Than You Know" plus great orchestral pieces such as "Row, Row, Row", "It Must Be True" and a medley of Stephen Foster songs got the New Yorkers dancing on bubbles.

Aladdin was busy singing "Volare" plus teamed up with Larry Hooper, Bob Lido, Big Tiny and Jack Martin for "Yakety Yak", one of my favorite 1950s rock songs made famous by The Coasters. The male chorus, including Bob Lido, all joined in for the Beer Barrell Polka which was fun, musical and hilarious. Larry Dean sang " On The Street Where You Live" and Maurice Pearson sang "Galway Bay" and both numbers were well done.

That was the show in a nutshell, Jimmy Roberts and Alice wrapped it all up with "Goodnight Ladies" with Larry Hooper making sure that everyone knew that "Dodge Had A Goodtime Too". It was a fun and nostalgic trip back to the heydays of the 1950s so take care til' next week!

I do believe on many PBS stations, they will air "Vacation Songs" from August 1967 with wraps by Jo Ann Castle, it's a repeat but lets watch it again!


Sunday, August 20, 2006

The Blogmeister's Excellent Weekend

This weekend was my 10th high school reunion (Sylvania Northview Class Of '96), and the past few days have been exciting.

Fellow Welkies, I may be a few days late with some blog entries and other important Welk stuff (like the rundown of this week's show), I'm gotta recover from the blast from my past and then some.

Thank goodness these reunions occur every ten years, unless we go straight to the 25th!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Annie Oakley? Nope its....

Gail Farrell with Ron Anderson and Mike Redman doing things the cowboy way....such as singing.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Picture Of The Day (8-16-06)

From 1976, Guy Hovis doing his impression of another very famous singer from his hometown of Tupelo, hound dog saluting another!

Of course today is August 16th....twenty nine years ago to this day in 1977, Elvis has left the buliding for the last time....which left everyone, including Welk fans all shooked up.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

How Joe Feeney Spent His Birthday....

Like any mild-mannered famous Irish tenor from a variety TV show would....dressed to the nines and singing with Natalie Nevins of course!

Happy 75th birthday Joe! May there be many more years of Danny Boy from the White Cliffs Of Dover just over Galway Bay.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Salute To Nashville 1977

This week's episode is a repeat one...Salute to Nashville from the year this webmaster was born, 1977...oops I think I just gave my age away.

Anyway, here's three wunnerful ladies here to introduce the Maestro and to get tonight's show started.

However, my local PBS station WGTE was still in pledge mode so I had to watch the show on the Bowling Green affliate WBGU.

It all started with gang transforming the Hollywood Palace, where the show and the 1976-77 season was taped, into a country farm singing "Take Me Home Country Roads", made famous by John Denver and made into West Virginia's "unofficial" state song. There were also terrific instrumentals by the band with "Gentle On My Mind" and "Wabash Cannonball". Tom Netherton had a terrific solo number with "Make The World Go Away" and Anacani, with help from the boys in the band, did a nice rendition of "Release Me".

And here's our country gal Ava Barber, who also hosted the show's wraparounds, singing one of her smash hits "Waiting At The End Of Your Run", notice that guitarists Richard Maloof and Neil Levang are looking really style!

Gail, Sandi & Mary Lou....the same ladies who opened the show above, did a really attractive number made famous by Roy Acuff titled "Oh Lonesome Me" and there's the Semonski Sisters, minus older sister Diane, singing "Sugartime". There was also one of my favorite numbers of the show, "Bonaparte's Retreat" sung by Tanya with Arthur Duncan dancing in the middle of the song....that was nice indeed!

Ken Delo was "Walkin' The Floor" over everyone, Dick Dale sang a little "Oh Shenandoah" and what country show wouldn't be complete without a square dance....only this time, it had a disco beat!

Now that's totally 70s! Let's see Donny & Marie top that!

It was a fun show, originally aired on April 30, 1977. The show served as Tanya Falan's swan song....she left after nine glorious years on the show plus it would be the last Welk show taped at the ABC facilites for two years....they would tape at CBS Television City from 1977 to 1979.

See you all next week....and don't forget to stay cool!


Friday, August 11, 2006

This Just In.....

Just found out on the internet that singer and legendary TV host Mike Douglas died early Friday at the age of 81. His syndicated talk show was really popular during the 1960s and 1970s, and he even had many of our Welk the Maestro himself and the Lennon Sisters just to name a few as guests on the show.

Read more about it by clicking on this story from the Akron-Beacon Journal.

Bob Havens

If there's ever the ideal role model for all jazz trombonists all over the world, Bob Havens of Quincy, Illinois has to be the best candidate.

As a member of the Welk orchestra from 1960 to 1982, his style of playing the trombone has won him a legion of fans thanks to the national television exposure of the Lawrence Welk Show and as an idol to many aspiring musicians. It also has led to many oppurtunities playing with Dixieland Jazz and Swing bands in New Orleans, Los Angeles and points in between.

He can also play the marimba, just like Welk castmate Jack Imel, which only serves to demonstrate has diverse musical talents.

Today, he lives in Buies Creek, North Carolina....and coming this November 2nd, he will be performing with fellow Welk alumni Ava Barber in concert at the campus of Campbell University, it's a great way to see his artistry in action!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Picture Of The Day (8-9-06)

From 1974, let's go Singin' and Dancin' In The Rain with Jack Imel, Mary Lou Metzger, Bobby Burgess, Cissy King and Arthur Duncan!

Is that really rain? There must be something strange in the skies these days.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Summer Sounds

This week's episode is a classic from the mid 1960s. I've seen this one before and it's good....Summer Sounds with wraparounds hosted by Peggy Lennon. A lot of you guys, like myself, didn't get to see it on your local PBS stations due to pledge breaks...however, as a public service, since I did see this episode before, I'll give you a rundown of the highlights.

Here we have Charlie Parlato as a trash collector trying to break bread with Jo Ann Castle in "Go Ahead Charlie" with backing vocals by The Blenders. We also hear from Jo Ann with her at the piano playing "Frankie and Johnny" with accompaning guitar work by both Buddy Merrill and Neil Levang. Jimmy Roberts also did double duty on the show, first with a great solo in "Red River Valley" and then teamed up with Natalie Nevins in a duet of "Til There Was You". And of course, there was the spiffy work of the orchestra with great instrumentals such as "Up A Lazy River" and "Everbody's Somebody's Fool".

We also heard from Larry Hooper with his ever popular "Minnie The Mermaid" plus Aladdin and Bob Lido did their job "Paddlin' Madeline Home" with "Madeline" played by Jo Ann Castle. And what episode would not be complete without Bobby Burgess and Barbara Boylan dancing to the Going Home Waltz.

The Lennon Sisters were quite busy, here with Dick Dale singing "Marianne" and were featured in such pleasant numbers such as "Tumbling Tumbleweed" and providing backing vocals for Joe Feeney in a rather upbeat version of "Goodnight Irene" which was orginally written and sung by the legendary musician Leadbelly.

It was a pleasant show, Peggy Lennon did a good job hosting...and we Welk fans enjoyed watching her in action. Just remember as the summer continues on...don't forget to stay cool and keep a song in your heart!


No Welk This Week....It's Pledge Time Again

Found out tonight that there was no Welk in my area was time again for my local PBS station WGTE to run a mini-pledge a-thon, one of the programs was My Music, The Best Of Fifties Pop. The good news was that's the show that had our Mary Lou Metzger co-hosting...

Nice picture eh? I did hear that the featured Welk episode this week was Summer Sounds from 1966...I'll have a review up shortly.

Sad news here in Champagne Land, I found out online that Maxine Grey, who was Lawrence Welk's original Champagne Lady from the mid 1930s passed on less than a month ago, she was 92.

You can read more about it from an article courtesy of the Honolulu Star Bulletin, just CLICK HERE FOR THE OBITUARY


Friday, August 04, 2006

A Pair Of Fantastic Flutists

Straight from the reed section, Dave Edwards and Bob Davis getting the weekend started with some sweet sounds from their flutes.

Dig those mustard colored jackets, you don't see them anymore!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The Birthday Kids

Today, August 2nd is a very pretty busy day for Welk birthdays. One of our Lennon Sisters, Kathy, celebrates her special day today...

....and it's also the Otwell Twins, David and Roger, birthday as well.

Let us wish both kids a very Happy Birthday, save some ice cream and cake for us fans!


Picture Of The Day (8-2-06)

Two lovebirds from Mardi Gras, Kathy Lennon and Steve Smith share a romantic dance. It's from the 1967 "Salute To The South" episode.

Also, today is Kathy Lennon's birthday, time to celebrate!



Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Sandi Griffiths

Today we celebrate the birthday of our favorite redhead from the world of Lawrence Welk...the lovely and talented Sandi Griffiths!

Born in the Greater Los Angeles area (actually the San Fernando Valley) as Sandi Jensen....she's one of five children to parents Mary & Garth Jensen. Sandi got her start as a singer when at age five appeared on Art Linketter's "House Party" program, and then as a teenager enrolled in Brigham Young University where she met fellow student Sally Flynn in the school's Program Bureau entertainment department. The two became friends, and singing partners throughout school and other points along the way before joining Lawrence Welk's show in 1968, and as one would say....the rest in history.
From 1968 to 1980, Sandi was an integral part of the show....singing with Sally and later with Gail Farrell and Mary Lou Metzger to form "The Trio" of Sandi, Gail and Mary Lou, which mesmerized viewers (mostly guys) with sweet three part harmonies just like fellow all girl trios like the Andrews & McGuire Sisters and the Supremes. She also had a few solo numbers as well....her most popular was her rendition of the Perry Como song, "And I Love You So".

Sandi married her college sweetheart Brent Griffiths in January 1969, they have since been the parents of seven children and numerous grandchildren. While husband Brent runs a succesful local carpet business....Sandi has completed her Bachelors Degree from BYU and is currently working on her Masters from the same school. Both are also avid travelers, globe hopping around the world to such locales such as South America, Austraila, Ireland, France and the South Pacific just to name a few. If you ever have the time, check out BYU Radio on the 'net...check the day's programming schedule and take a can listen to Sandi singing one of her songs quite often, it's worth the stream.

Happy Birthday Sandi.....we Welk fans look forward to many more years of your sweet harmonies and sweet personality!