Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween!

Just be sure all you Welkies have a safe and happy halloween season, may your costume be scary and creative and may their be more treats than tricks!

By the way, that's Ralna English dressed as a witch, Arthur Duncan as the clown, Ken Delo as the mummy and Mary Lou Metzger as the space cadet.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Jimmy Roberts

Today's Music Maker spotlight falls on our crooner from Kentucky, Jimmy Roberts....who was always a huge favorite of the ladies.

Born and raised in the Bluegrass State, Jimmy first joined the music makers in the early 1950s when they were headquartered at the Aragon Ballroom, and once the Welk family made it's national television debut in 1955, Jimmy became a household name.

His specality is in romantic songs, pop standards and religious hyms, but his most famous and most requested is "I Left My Heart In San Francisco", made famous by Tony Bennent. He was also very popular in romantic duet numbers with Norma Zimmer.

Jimmy was a mainstay of the show for every year it was on, and until his passing from bone cancer in 1999, continued to perform with the same dignity, warmth and professionalism that fans remember.

Jimmy was married twice, first to Jane who passed in 1976; and second to Vi until his passing, He also had two sons, Gary and Steven.


Saturday, October 28, 2006

Halloween 1978

Happy Halloween everyone, here is this week's very spooky episode; the Halloween show from October 28, 1978....exactly twenty-eight years ago, here is the Maestro to get things started.

It all begins with the orchestra playing, "That Old Black Magic" which was just a few of the great numbers by the band including "Full Moon and Empty Arms" and "The Stars Fell On Alabama" led by Mr. Welk's superb saxophone section.

Ken Delo shined his best on tonight's show, dressed as a sorcerer with great numbers like "Put On A Happy Face" and was happily assisted by Anacani with his experiments which usually resulted in many hilarious consequences.

The Aldridge Sisters and Otwell Twins, dressed as cowboys, sounded great with "Ghost Riders in the Sky", and there's Kathy Sullivan as a princess sung "In The Still of the Night". You had Jack Imel and Mary Lou Metzger singing about "Kids" and what's the matter with them today, as well as Guy & Ralna's rendition of "Old Devil Moon".

Dressed tastefully as witches, the trio of Gail, Sandi and Mary Lou sang the classic "This Old House" which was well complemented by Bob Ballard's choral arrangement of "Me and My Shadow". Joe Feeney sang "Hush-a-Bye" with Bob Ralston on the organ and you had Bobby & Cissy dance the devil away.

It was in all, a colorful and exciting episode....just like all the Welk Halloween shows.

This was one of the Mary Lou Metzger interview shows, and in the hot seat this week is Jack Imel, her dance partner and very entertaining colleague. He talked about and answered questions about growing up in Indiana, his stint in the Navy and his start on the Welk show. Jack also explained how his creative juices and energy got him the added title of Associate Producer of the show and how to this day, he still has ideas and fun playing role of entertainer and family man.

That's it for this week, Happy Halloween and make sure that when you go trick or treating.....make sure the candy is fresh and the apples are devoid of worms!


Thursday, October 26, 2006

Feeling a little bit down today?

Here's Gail, Sandi and Mary Lou to brighten up your workday, maybe this ray of sunshine will fend off the rain in St. Louis!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Barney Liddell

Here is trombonist Barney Liddell, a veteran of the Welk orchestra from 1948, playing one of his popular solos from 1973's Salute To Irving Berlin show.

The native of Gary, Indiana attended Notre Dame University, and played with several bands before joining the Maestro's band when they played several dates at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City. He was there when they moved out to Southern California and made the transistion to television in the 1950s.

In addition to playing trombone, Barney also was in charge of the band's instruments and luggage on the Welk band's concert tours...he was without a doubt one of the most valuable members of the musical family, but was alos one of the most kind-hearted fellows around according to Lawrence himself. Right up until his death in 2003, he continued to perform with several big band alumni bands and with the Music Makers as well.

Barney Liddell was without a doubt, a very fine trombonist from the big band era in the style of Tommy Dorsey.


Picture of the Day (10-25-06)

Jo Ann Castle and Myron Floren both doing a jam session with their accordians. Even in the black & white shows, their music always add a bit of color and sparkle to TV audiences.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Tanya Falan and Dick Dale

From the 1969 episode titled "Music Memories", two of our favorite music makers sharing a dance while mugging for the cameras.

They make a nice couple....eh?

Monday, October 23, 2006

Jimmy Roberts goes country

From 1971's Country & Western show, the Kentucky gentlemen Jimmy Roberts trades in his usual two piece suit for green buckskins and fringe to sing "It's No Secret (What God Can Do)."

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Concert In The Park

This week's episode is another late 1970s classic; Concert In The Park which orginally aired October 6, 1979 and Guy Hovis is your host for the wraparounds....so without any further delay, here comes that all-too-famliar champagne fanfare!

The gang gets things started with, "In The Good Old Summertime" and as you can see....half went with the lime green formal wear and the other half went with rainbow striped casualwear with roller skates!

I wonder which half got the better deal from costumer Rose Weiss?

Anyway, there were plenty of memorable numbers, such as the Aldridge Sisters and Otwell Twins' rendition of "Southern Nights" in which Shelia and Sherry Aldridge looked very pretty and David and Roger were very handsome. You also had newcomer Jim Turner with an acoustic "Through the Night" and great orchestral numbers by the band with "On Moonlight Bay", "Our Director" and "The Way We Were".....all sounded great by the boys in the band

There was also a fine number titled, "If You Love Me, Let Me Know" by Gail Farrell and her band of fellows featuring Larry Hooper, Dick Dale, Charlie Paralato and Kenny Trimble...all had such a great blend of music, vocals and harmony. Arthur Duncan danced his feet out with "Breezing Along With The Breeze" and Tom Netherton had a nice solo with "Till' There Was You", featuring Bob Ralston at the piano.

Mary Lou Mention and Jack Imel made sure they were noticed with "Mention My Name...." with a nice assist by Ken Delo. Speaking of Kenny Boy, he was quite busy tonight sharing a dance with Kathie Sullivan in her number "Goodnight My Someone" and led the chorus in the show's closing number, "And The Band Played On."

All in all, it was another fine show this week from the Welk folks.

When this show fired aired, they were back at the ABC Studios on Prospect and Talmadge after a three year hiatus and the audience had alot of fun. As you can see....they had a chance to dance with the Champagne Music Makers to a Dixieland Jazz version of "And The Band Played On" which was exciting....makes me wish I was old enough to be there when that show was taped.

Keep a song in your heart....and always keep having your band playing on to victory, just ask the fellows from the Michigan State Spartans football team!


Friday, October 20, 2006

Blenders....The Next Generation?

Could be.....but it would be one of Southern heritage. Jim Turner of Knoxville, TN, David & Roger Otwell of Tulia, TX and Guy Hovis of Tupelo, MS without a doubt make those harmonies sound great!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Ron Anderson

Today is Ron Anderson's birthday, you all know him as one third of the mixed trio of Gail, Ron and Michael and of course is Gail Farrell's husband.

Born and raised in San Francisco, Ron attended Bethany College and was a choir director at a local church before heading for Hollywood where he honed his singing skills and made numerous guest appearances on TV shows. But it was in 1977 where he met Gail at an actors workshop that led his path to being on the Welk show three years later. He's the father of four; sons Johnathan and Grant from a previous marriage and twins Erin and Lauren with Gail and although he still likes to sing, he works full time for Countrywide Home Loans.

Happy Birthday Ron! Always put on a happy face and stay wunnerful!

Picture of the Day (10-18-06)

From 1966, three talented flutists from the Welk orchestra....Bob Davis, Orie Amodeo and Natalie Nevins.

These guys and their talent are simply wunnerful, wunnerful!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Welk stars say Go Bucks!

From the 1970 New Years Eve show, Bob Lido and his Hotsy Totsy Boys are playing a happy tune....probably because that the Ohio State Buckeyes are the Number One college football team in the country so far.

Of course, this blogmeister is from Toledo....and all my fellow Buckeye Welk fans feel the same way!


Monday, October 16, 2006

Welk Musical Family has made a succesful Test Pattern!

A hearty afternoon to all my fellow Welkies out there. It's been about six months or so since I launched my companion blog for Welk Musical Family.com...and I am happy to tell you all that the major media has taken notice and like what they have seen!

We got a nice mention on MSNBC's Test Pattern composed by Gael Fashingbauer Cooper....it's great stuff. Just click on the link below and scroll down.


And thanks for everyone who has visited and commented here at Welk Musical Family....I could have not done it without you!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Musical Masterpieces

This week's episode is Musical Masterpieces from October 18, 1975, here's Bob Ralston at the piano playing "Rhapsody In Blue" to get things started!

Lawrence Welk really has one heckuva show in store this Saturday, all classic songs done in contemporary style (CHAMPAGNE!). Bobby and Cissy dance to the "Breeze and I " while Tom Netherton sings about his Stranger in Paradise. Anacani here, sings about the Mexican town of Guadalajara.

Guy & Ralna sings their ever popular Anniversary Song and later we are treated to Sandi, Gail and Mary Lou's Baubles, Bangles and Beads (just excatly what in Sam's Hill is a 'bauble' anyway?)

Dick Dale and Ava Barber sings "On Top of Old Smokey" but sadly, it is not the meatball version....("I lost my poor meatball, when somebody sneezed"). There was Carmen's Boogie played by the orchestra....second week in a row I heard that number and the Semonski Sisters singing Perry Como's ever popular "Hot Diggity"

A very fine program indeed....watch for Ken Delo and Tanya Falan doing a duet of "Glow Worm", and here's the maestro having a Kodak moment with Jimmy Roberts handling the Polaroid.

Mary Lou's guest this week in the hot seat is Johnny Zell, our fine trumpet player. He talks about his first attempt joining the Welk band while still a youngster, his early days with Freddy Martin plus his stint in the Army playing with the NORAD band with fellow and future music makers Dave Edwards and Richard Maloof.

Did you also know that Johnny is a fan of the rock group Steely Dan? Or that he teaches trumpet online, just check out JOHNNY ZELL AND FAMILY here in cyberspace.

That's all folks....keep a song in your heart and your baubles all in one place!


Saturday, October 14, 2006

A Bicycle Built For Two

Norma Zimmer and Jimmy Roberts behind her, going out on a nice quiet bicycle ride.....on the FREEWAYS OF LOS ANGELES!

Kids, don't ever consider doing this....these are trained professionals.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Richard Maloof.....a hairy musical journey in pictures

If you ever wondered where the Lawrence Welk orchestra gets that superb bass sound, or that "oompahs" of the tuba in polka numbers, Richard Maloof, a member of the Welk band since 1967, has done the job and oh so very well. Let's go back in time and see him in action!

Here's Rich in 1968....just starting out clean shaven and hair cut short.

Rich in the early 1970s....the hair gets a bit longer but the bass is sounding fine!

Rich from the Disco era....he's got that Afro and a mustache going with his fenderbass. Looks like a young Alex Trebek.

Richard today with Mary Lou Metzger, the two are husband and wife for over thirty years now.

In addition to Welk, he's been a musician for several other bands, played in commercials, TV shows and has been in the play, "Forever Plaid". Rich also teaches his craft to a new generation of musicians as well.

Now that is simply wunnerful, wunnerful!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Picture of the Day (10-11-06)

Here's Arthur Duncan showing off his facy feet to the tune of "Take the A Train" with Russ Klein with the assist at saxophone!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Bang The Drum Slowly.....

For any band, like the Lawrence Welk orchestra, it's needs a good drummer to give it that extra rhythm sound we all like. The Music Makers throughout their history, have been blessed with two terrfic and talented drummers, Johnny Klein and Paul Humphrey.

Johnny, of course, was also known as the maestro's second cousin. He played the sticks from 1951 to 1976, and later served as the band's music librarian. He was also quite a scholar, graduating with university degrees from both the University of Missouri and Southern California. Klein continued to play the drums as well, at the Welk Resort in Escondido and at night clubs until his passing in 1997.

Paul took over at the sticks in '76 and remained until the maestro retired the band and it's show in 1982. He has quite a bit of a msuical background, played with the band Kool-Aid Chemists which scored a R&B Top 30 hit, "Kool Aid" and is a popular as both a studio musician and jazz artist.

And when it comes to that awesome champagne rhythm; both guys have the beat!


Sunday, October 08, 2006

Meet Our Musical Family

This week, our hosts Larry Welk Jr and his sons Larry the Third, Kevin and Jeffrey bring us Meet Our Musical Family, which originally aired March 12, 1977....here's Larry Hooper who is about to sing his signature tune, "Oh Happy Day".

In fact, this week show is all about signature tunes.....starting things off with the cast singing "I Believe In Music", followed by Bob Ralston playing his signature "Cumana" on his piano. We also have Tanya Falan singing, "You Make Me Feel So Young" which ironically, was the first number she ever sang for the maestro. And of course, this show would not be complete wth Bobby & Cissy dancing to some Calcutta with some backing from Gail, Sandi & Mary Lou.

And of couse there's Myron Floren at the squeezebox, which is always very nice.

The Semonski Sisters do their rendition of "It's A Small World" and Kathie Sullivan, who at the time of this show is the new kid on the block, sings "My Bill" which was the tune she first sang for Mr. Welk.

Ken Delo does a little audience participation with "Tie Me Kangaroo Down" going back to his time in Australia (he was part of the Delo and Daly comedy team that was big down under in the 1960s) and the cast did a rousing instrumental of "Carmen's Boogie".

It was a brilliant show, from top to finish....we had a chance to meet Larry Jr's three sons and their families, especially Jeff, the next generation. Don't forget that there is another episode next week as always....and like the others, should be a good one!

And don't forget, the family that blows bubbles together...stays together.


Friday, October 06, 2006

Gail Farrell

Today, we celebrate the birthday of one of the most popular, talented and gorgeous of the music makers.....Gail Farrell!

The pride of Durant, Oklahoma (well....actually Salinas, California), came to Lawrence Welk's orchestra from the University of Tulsa in 1969 and soon made a name of herself as a vocalist, pianist, singer and songwriter. From her very first number with "Downtown", she is one of many talents.

Gail has been a part of many vocal groups on the show, paired first with Mary Lou Metzger as a duo, then as a part of the Curt Ramsey Quintet, as a recurring duo with Dick Dale as "Gail and Dale", then with Mary Lou again as a trio with Sandi Griffiths and most recently the Mixed Trio of Gail, Ron and Michael Redman.

Of course, Ron as in Ron Anderson, her husband since 1979. They are the proud parents of two grown twin daughters; Erin, who is an aspiring actress, and Lauren, who is now married herself and settled in Colorado Springs.

Gail and Ron make their home in Northern California's Bay Area, and no they are NOT Raider fans, Ron roots for the 49ers. Still, she keeps herself busy with singing and songwriting and has been on television alot; such as Match Game. This Christmas season, make plans to visit Escondido as she'll be taking part at the Welk Resort's Christmas Show featuring Ava Barber, it will be a show that you do not wanna miss.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY GAIL.....Play some of that Root Beer Rag on the piano!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Picture of the day (10-4-06)

Lets go cruisin' down the river, to relax, sing and have a little dance!
If you have a little sea sickness....make sure you bring some dramamine.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The evolution of Ken Delo's hair

Here's a young, fresh-faced Ken Delo when he first joined the show in 1969...

And as the 1970s begin, he starts to let it all hang out.....

....and by the time its the disco era, Kenny really lets his freak flag fly!

And this is Ken from the 1980s, with a more streamlined look....

....which takes us to the present day, where it all comes full circle.

Let us toast to Ken Delo, whether things get hairy.....he knows how to sing a song!


Monday, October 02, 2006

Bob Warren.....announcer extrodinare

In the 27-year history of the Lawrence Welk Show being on first-run television (ABC and syndication), there has been two great announcers; the first was Lou Crosby from 1955 to 1960 when it was known as the Dodge Dancing Party, and from 1960 to 1982....Bob Warren.

The native of Plainfield, Nebraska did many numerous announcing jobs, such as Ralph Edwards' This Is Your Life prior to joining the Maestro. In addition to his announcing duties, he also did crowd warm-ups prior to taping.

If you watch many of the 1970s syndicated shows, whenever the camera pans on to the audience dancing to an orchestral piece, you can spot him cutting the rug with a lucky female of the opposite sex!

And of course, you always hear him every Saturday on the PBS shows announcing that, "It's the Lawrence Welk Show, celebrating more than fifty years on television".