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.


Thursday, November 16, 2006

Going Back to School

Here's Sandi Griffiths and Sally Flynn giving pupil Charlie Parlato a few lessons about the alphabet in the 1971 episode "School Days".

By the way, how come I never had teachers or tutors this so attractive?

I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles

Howdy fans, I have returned last night from Eastlake, OH where I saw the Forever Blowing Bubbles concert.

Here's a little teaser of what went on at the show.

Those are the Blenders, from left to right is Skip Taylor, Michael Redman, Bob Duncan and Greg Dixon.

I will be working on the Forever Blowing Bubbles page on my normal website for the next couple of days, an edit there....a touch up here and then some, and I'll let you know when it is all done!

Right now, it's raining back in Toledo and all across Ohio....YECH!

But nothing will rain on my Champagne parade today!


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Picture of the day (11-15-06)

The music makers come together to sing, "What the World Needs is Love, Sweet Love" from the 1980 episode "Easy Listening". Notice that nice couple in the middle is Clay Hart and Sally Flynn, both who have returned to the show as guest stars. To the far right of them, sitting, is the Aldridge Sisters.

Speaking of that, I'll be in Eastlake, OH tonight for the Forever Blowing Bubbles concert....Clay & Sally will be on the bill, as well as Sheila and Sherry Aldridge, Bobby Burgess & Elaine Balden plus Michael Redman as one of the Blenders with Bob Duncan, Greg Dixon and Skip Taylor.

I'll be sure to take pictures and share my well as my thoughts on my regular webpage, should be a great show!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The Three Amigos and Mary Lou

This is not a comedia or telenovela from Univision or Telemundo, it's from the "Salute to Roses" episode from 1971 featuring Mary Lou Metzger and three of the Hotsy Totsy Boys with the number, "San Antonio Rose".

And who are those cabrellos in the sombreros? From left to right, that's Charlie Parlato, Russ Klein, Mary Lou in the middle and Bob Lido.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Mary Lou Metzger

Today music maker birthday is a real special one, it's Mary Lou Metzger's birthday!

Mary Lou has the honor of being from both ends of Pennsylvania, she was born in Pittsburgh but spent most of her childhood in Philadelphia....makes you wonder if she's a Steelers fan or an Eagles fan.

Her parents, Helen & Ernie Metzger, went out on a date in 1938 at the William Penn Hotel in Pittsburgh where Lawrence Welk and his orchestra played that night....and it was that the term "Champagne Music" was born.

Just coincedence? Or perhaps something special in the works?

Mary Lou began performing as a child, starring in the traveling production of Meredith Wilson's "The Music Man" as one of her many stage productions, and appeared on television in the program, "The Ted Mack Amateur Hour". While attending Temple University, she traveled out to Los Angeles in sunny Southern California to appear on the GE All American College Bowl....but had other plans as well, and it involved Lawrence Welk and his Musical Family.

It was on Mothers Day of 1970 when Mary Lou joined the show, where she enrolled in the Welk orginaztion's Youth Opportunity Program that trained her to be a singer, musician and performer. Right away, her time started to pay dividends....she sang in choral numbers and with Bob Lido and the Hotsy Totsy Boys providing vocals in her Betty Boop voice.

She also was paired with Jack Imel in light dance musical routines that were popular on the show, plus she also sang with Gail Farrell as a duet....later joined with Sandi Griffiths to make up the ever popular trio of Gail, Sandi and Mary Lou.

Right until the show ended in 1982, she was one of the Welk family's most popular and versitile performers.

Today, Mary Lou remains very busy....starring in stage plays as part of the Actor's Conservatory Ensamble, performing in many Welk concerts where she also doubles as excecutive producer and hosting the wraparounds for the show on PBS where she also conducts interviews with members of the musical family. Since 1973, she has been married to fellow music maker Richard Maloof, who played bass and tuba in the orchestra.

Happy Birthday Mary Lou! In honor, watch her sing "Oh Johnny!"


Sunday, November 12, 2006

Broadway Musicals

This week's episode is really a fun one, it's from the Golden Age of Welk called "Broadway Musicals" which originally aired on November 27,'s Myron Floren getting the joint jumpin with "With A Little Bit of Luck".

And of course, Myron's talents is not a result of a little bit of luck, but rather the result of practice, practice and hard work!

The orchestra had alot of work tonight....kicking the show off with a medley of songs from The Sound of Music and great instrumentals of "Getting to Know You" and "This Can't Be Love". We also have Cissy & Bobby doing a nice dance to Dancing in the Dark which of course it was with a lot of light to see.

And there were great vocal numbers as well, such as Ken Delo's "I've Grown Accustomed To Her Face", Norma Zimmer's inspirational "You'll Never Walk Alone" and Clay Hart's "Try to Remember" from that great Off-Broadway show The Fantastiks.

What 1971 show would not be complete without Sandi & Sally and their rendition of "Put On A Happy Face" which for this blogmeister has no problem with.

The finale of tonight's program has the whole cast in 1920s wear, and my favorite....the girls in flapper dresses, WHO HOO! They performed well with numbers such as "Are You Having Any Fun?" and danced to the Black Bottom. You also had Arthur Duncan doing a dance to "This Is My Lucky Day" and Tanya singing about the Birth of the Blues.

But there are no blues here on this show, it was nothing but 100 percent fun!

Mary Lou Metzger's interview corner was next, and in the hot seat is Norma Zimmer who talked about her family, working in the showbiz with Bing Crosby and Nelson Riddle and her life on the Welk show. She also talked about the heart attack she had after the taping of "Precious Memories" but thankfully....she is doing great. Regretfully, our Champange Lady had to alter her diet, no more ice cream and cheese!

Here's an interesting factoid, one of Norma's first fan letters when she joined the music makers came from the Coz himself, Bill Cosby!

Hope you all had a pleasant Veterans Day weekend so far, let us honor those who have served our country well and never forget.

And for next week, Musicial Family of Nations is on the docket, see you all then!


Friday, November 10, 2006

Second Hand Kathie?

There's no seconds or hand me downs for Kathie Sullivan, here singing the popular "Second Hand Rose" from the "By The Numbers" show from 1978....and that's the kind of girl Jake the Plumber can adore!

If Lou Reed met Lawrence Welk...

This particular video I found is really trippy. It's alleged that Lou Reed's Velvet Underground made an "guest" appearance on the Lawrence Welk Show.

See it for yourself, it's rather interesting and a bit of fun!


Thursday, November 09, 2006

Mary Lou and Ralna

Two of Lawrence Welk's finest music makers, here from 1972's Salute to Los Angeles episode singing "California Here I Come".

And of course, Mary Lou made her way from Pennsylvania while Ralna came from Texas.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Picture of the day (11-8-06)

A couple of old smoothies.....Cissy King and Bobby Burgess from the 1978 episode, "Salute to the Senior Citizens".

But honestly, in real life.....those two today look and feel much younger than the picture above.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

It's a tough life being a singer

Ken Delo finds out firsthand that being a singer means being a ladies man....and he knows that the girls just can't get his hands off him!

Now that is what I call taking one for the team.

Election Day

Just a quick reminder that today is the day to vote. Whether you're a Democrat, Republican or Independent, liberal, conservative, moderate or none of the above; it's your duty as an American citizen to cast your ballot....just one of the great things about the USA that Mr. Welk took great pride in.

Oh and when you're done voting, enjoy the rest of the day with some Champagne Music.....or just read some of my past entries in this here blog!

Monday, November 06, 2006

The Maestro on Here's Lucy


Sunday, November 05, 2006

Caribbean Cruise 1980

Pack your bags and your suntan lotion, it's time to board the S.S Ah-One-Ah-Two for this week's show; Caribbean Cruise which first aired on October 4, 1980.

The gang is ready for a three hour tour, are you?

The show has a shipload of nice musical numbers, such as Ava Barber's rendition of "The Love Boat", which of course is the famous theme song from the show of the same name. The gang also sings a rousing "When My Dreamboat Comes Home" and you have the Aldridge Sisters and Otwell Twins singing "Feelin' Groovy",

Bobby and Elaine do some dancing above, they also put the "Love Boat" theme to work in dance....with a traditional tango and later a bit of disco. You also have Ken Delo singing about the fact that there's "A Lot Of Coffee in Brazil"....trying to convince the passengers to drink some coffee while traveling in a sub-tropical climate.

The orchestra had a lot of great numbers to work with, first with "Lisbon Antigua" along with "In Acapulco" and the "Isle of Capri". There were several great solos, such as Anacani's "El Cumbanchero", Kathie Sullivan's "How Deep Is The Ocean?" and Tom Netherton's "Poinciana". You also had Mary Lou Metzger and Jack Imel with a light comic dance routine with "By The Beautiful Sea" which you would notice the bathing costumes they wore....not exactly going with the times!

It was a great show this week, more fun than any Poseidon adventure!

Mary Lou had Arthur Duncan in the hot seat this week, and he talked about his adventures in tap dancing; which led him to Australia and other points across the world that steered him to the Welk show. Plus, he also mentions that as a tap dancing legend, he's being honored with numerous awards for his lifetime's work in that genre.

By the way, if Arthur ever comes to your town to do a show, make it a point to see him in action, you'll be glad you did.

And that's the way the bubble pops for this week, let's set sail on the champagne waters and dance!


Saturday, November 04, 2006

The Leader of the Hotsy Totsy Boys

Bob Lido is what you call a "quadruple threat". He could sing, play the violin, be a comedian and lead Lawrence Welk's Hotsy Totsy Boys, named after the maestro's first band when they were based out of South Dakota.

The native of Jersey City, NJ played with Carmen Cavarello's band before joining up with the Welk orchestra around 1953, where for more than thirty years, showed off his diverse musical talents. Bob was also best friends with another popular Welk music maker, Aladdin Pallante....who also played the violin and was known for his inspirational recitations.

He passed away in August 2000, from complications of a stroke.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Ava and the Maestro

No, Ava Barber has not dressed as a bar maid this past Halloween...she is with Lawrence on the 1979 St. Patrick's Day show about to sing her number titled, "Harrigan, That's Me".

And it is true, country gals do have a little Irish in them!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Rocky Rockwell

Today, he is without a doubt one of the "old timers" of the Welk musical family....but it's kinda hard to tell from this vintage shot.

Rocky Rockwell, who sang and played trumpet for the Welk orchestra from 1950 to 1962, hails from Saint Joseph, MO who also served his country during World War II. Although he can play the trumpet real well, he is best remembered fondly by fans for his singing and comedic skills, especially for his signature tune, "I Love Girls".

Too bad Rocky wasn't with the show during the 70s or 80s, his singing of his signature tune would really have special meaning...working with Sandi, Sally, Cissy, Ralna, Gail, Tanya, Mary Lou, Anacani, the Aldridge Sisters....etc, now that would be fun!

Still, he's a pleasure to watch....and does one mean Elvis impression!

Now that's one wunnerful, wunnerful young man with talent!

Picture of the day (11-1-06)

Bobby Burgess dressed to the nines in his finest yellow tux, waiting for his best girl for a little dance....and a little romance....or to share a banana split.