Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Let there be Welk in Toledo!

Yippeeee! Today is a great day here in snowy Toledo in more ways than one.

Looks like my email to the Stranahan Theater folks worked, the 2007 Live Lawrence Welk Show will be coming to town on March 27th and your humble webmaster will be there, watching the fun and taking pictures by the hundreds.

The show itself will be fun; Gail Farrell, Anacani, Mary Lou Metzger, Ava Barber, Jack Imel, Dick Dale, Tim Padilla along with dancers Pasha and Ilona will be there. Just go to the WELK STARS APPEARANCE PAGE to either order tickets or check if they have added more concert dates.

Picture of the day (1-31-07)

Bob Lido and his Hotsy Totsy Boys, dressed as Keystone Kops, plays a song just as good as catching criminals!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The Vegetable Song

Here a classic number from 1955, Alice Lon and Rocky Rockwell sing the "Vegetable Song" and may I warn you in advance....there's a lot of puns in this bit!

Now that I gave you that warning....proceed to the video.


Monday, January 29, 2007

They Shoot Bubbles, Dont They?

Here's the musical family taking part in one of those marathon dance contests, you gotta have tons of caffeine and legs of steel to make it through the end!

It all depends on what first prize is.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Salute to Sinatra

This week, the folks of public TV give us "Salute to Frank Sinatra" done Champagne style! Here's Lawrence getting things started by introducing the first number, "I've Got You Under My Skin".

The entire show was made up of the most popular songs Ol' Blue Eyes has sung (even Sinatra impersonator Joe Piscopo would love this show!) and then some. The boys in the band did great job with instrumental versions of "Young At Heart", "Ol' Man River" and "Just A Closer Walk On Thee" with great clarinet work by Henry Cuesta.

Tom Netherton should feel right at home on this episode, here he is with Johnny Zell with his rendition of "This Love Of Mine".

We also had Anacani with the classic number, "Strangers In The Night", along with Kathie Sullivan singing "I Only Have Eyes For You" and a great dance number by Cissy and Bobby dancing to "Chicago".

It was the Aldridge Sisters and the Otwell Twins' turn this week to tackle one of the Maestro's most popular numbers, and huge pop hit for Frank and daughter Nancy, with "Something Stupid", and with the acoustic accompanment by Roger and David Otwell combined with Sheila and Sherry Aldridge's angelic voices...made for a great musical number.

And there's Gail Farrell and Dick Dale with their cute version of "Love And Marriage" where we Generation Xers know better as the theme song of the classic TV show, "Married With Children".

You'll notice that our team of Gail and Dale is alot more friendlier than Peg and Al Bundy!

The hits and memories are priceless, from Ava Barber's flirty version of "A Bushel And A Peck" to Guy & Ralna's "The Tender Trap", Ken Delo's version of "That's Life", to the huge finale of "Night And Day" featuring the cast, it all makes for a wunnerful, wunnerful show for any Rat Packer, young and young at heart alike!

This week in the hot seat, Mary Lou Metzger interviewed longtime Welk producer for OETA Robert Allen. He talked about how the Lawrence Welk Show found a home on public televison, first when "Lawrence Welk: Television's Music Man" special aired which spurred interest by PBS affiliates...which since 1987, the place where the Welk Show has called home every Saturday night....and don't forget about those pledge week specials, which has helped the show to be the higest rated show on PBS!

That's the show for this week, next will be "Transportation" and it will be Ken Delo having the pleasure of being interviewed!


Saturday, January 27, 2007

Saturday Morning here in Toledo

Morning everybody,

It's been pretty cold here in my neck of the woods....starting to feel like winter compared to last month, I just got a brand new overcoat that is very flexible....has a fleece underneath when things are not frigid, as a ton of pockets and you can take the sleeves off to wear as a vest.....pretty cool huh?

I'm going to do some maintenance on the webpage, that includes adding some new pictures on some pages....stuff to keep webmasters like myself pretty busy.

The Stranahan Theater responded to my email, they are working on bringing the Live Lawrence Welk Show in for March....keeping my fingers crossed that it will happen. I hear this year will be a great show, and I would love to see them...without having to drive 450 miles to Wisconsin Dells (where the show has confirmed playing on March 31st).

Talk to you guys later....will have this week's episode reviewed either late tonight or on Sunday morning.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Champagne Salute to Dean Martin

Check it out, here's Dick Dale as Deano himself with Bob Smale as pianist Kenny Lane with this 1972 tounge-and-cheek salute! Also, watch for the girls saluting Dean's famous and very lovely Gold Diggers!


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Lawrence Welk's TV Treasures: Sneak Preview

You may have heard that this spring, or the next round of PBS pledge breaks (whatever comes first) that the all-new Welk special, Lawrence Welk's TV Treasures is coming to a public TV station near you (check local listings first....), but just on Google video there's a four minute, 45 second sneak preview teaser of the special you can see for yourself!

Just click on the picture above to view the clip!

Picture of the day (1-24-07)

Ralna English and Guy Hovis singing about memories of the "Tom Green County Fair" from the 1971 episode "County Fair".

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Two for Tuesday

Here's a double shot of YouTube videos of Gail Farrell! The first one is from 1969, her debut appearance on the Welk show with "Downtown"

And here's Gail with Ron and Michael from 1981 with "Put On a Happy Face."


Monday, January 22, 2007

Joe Feeney

Have you always dreamed of hitting the high notes?

If there's a tenor in the music biz that you can learn how to...look no further than the Lawrence Welk Show's own Joe Feeney!

The native of Grand Island, Nebraska first came to the Maestro by way of University of Nebraska and Arlene Francis' Talent Patrol in 1957, and since has showcased his vocal skills to a national television audience with such favorites as "Danny Boy", "Be My Love", "White Cliffs of Dover" and "Sweet Lelani".

And although he has sung Steve Wonder's, "For Once In My Life"....I don't know if he has ever sung soul, imagine him singing a medley of Barry White songs....he would do very well in my book!

He still sings today, with vigor, especially with his son Chris who has followed in his dad's footsteps and is an accomplished tenor in his own right.


Sunday, January 21, 2007

A Pretty Girl

This week's episode is a black and white classic, titled "A Pretty Girl" which originally aired May 27, 1961. Here's the Maestro getting the show started by introducing the opening number, "A Pretty Girl Is Like A Melody".

The orchestra was in fine form that Saturday night, with excellent instrumentals such as "Love Those Eyes", "Poor People of Paris", "Cumana" and "Yellow Bird" which that year, became the band's second huge hit....after Calcutta of course.

Speaking of "Poor People of Paris", here's Jerry Burke and Frank Scott below with their excellent fingerwork on the keyboards during that song!

Larry Hooper sang his signature hit, "Oh Happy Day" plus joined the fellows with "Spring, Spring Spring". Jimmie Roberts was super with his rendition of "Bluebird of Happiness" and Jo Ann Castle showed off her artistry at the piano with a honky tonk version of "Baby Face".

Tonight's special guest star was teen idol Pat Boone, here's the Booner with Lawrence along with Orie Amodeo's daughter, Lois, getting ready to sing his huge hit at the time, "Moody River".

Not to be outdone, Jack Imel was at the marimbas with "Lover" and showed off his fancy footwork with a dance or two. Myron Floren also entertained the crowds with the "Hot Foot Polka" and the Lennon Sisters were featured twice, first as Scots in the number "Darlin' Maggie" and with Aladdin being taught "The Music Lesson" with the help of Kenny Trimble at trombone, Bill Page at flute, Johnny Klien at the snare drum, Buddy Hayes on bass, Jack Imel at the cymbals and Bob Lido with Bernard Kundell on violin.

Since this latest offering from OETA was one under the end-of-the-show interview format, Mary Lou Metzger's music maker in the hot seat this week was Janet Lennon. She talked about growing up in the Lennon family, and in the Musical Family as well, plus her adventure with guest star Pat Boone when they both went to a carnival, and the hilarity the followed on the ferris wheel!

That's all for this week...stay warm and keep a song in your heart!


Friday, January 19, 2007

Tooting his own horn

If you're Jack Imel, music maker, marimba artist, associate producer, dancer and'll be tooting alot of horns!

Here's Jack in action from 1975, with the band playing "Tijuana Taxi"

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Ladies of Welk slide show

Here's a treat for all Welk fans everywhere, I made a 13 minute photo slide show for photo salute to the Ladies of the Lawrence Welk Show, just click on the picture above to watch the show!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Richard Maloof's birthday

Today, we celebrate another beloved music maker's birthday....and this one is the King of all Bass and Tuba Players, Richard Maloof!

The native of Sacramento, California served in the Army, playing in the NORAD Commanders band and with Les Brown before he was hired by the Maestro in 1967 to play tuba and bass in the orchestra.

Fans know Richard as Mary Lou Metzger's husband, and for his distinctive afro and mustache during the late 70s and early 80s, having many confusing him with Alex Trebek. He was also a member of the Hotsy Totsy Boys led by Bob Lido.

And of course, his tuba rendition of "The Music Goes Round and Round" is very popular....just ask the ladies on the show.

Today, he continues to play music....and teach students all about playing the bass. Plus, has also took part in the show, "Forever Plaid".

Happy Birthday Rich! We also liked hearing you play the "Clarinet Polka" on the tuba!


Picture of the day (1-17-07)

Larry Hooper, singer and coal miner expert, speaks to the board of directors about his demands.

Those unions know how to play hardball....

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Wabash Cannonball

Here's one of my all-time favorite instrumentals by the Welk orchestra, Wabash Cannonball from 1966 with Dick Cathcart on trumpet, Neil Levang on guitar, Frank Scott at the harpischord with some great backing by both the string and trombone sections!


Sunday, January 14, 2007

Time Was

Relax kids....Daylight Savings Time is not until March 11th (The Maestro's birthday)...but instead it's time for this week's Welk episode, "Time Was" from April 29, 1967.

Here are the ladies getting things started with "Grandfather's Clock".

Now that's what I call a timely piece...heh heh.

Anyway, this week's show is full of musical gems, such as "Time On My Hands" by Steve Smith, "Love's Sweet Old Song" by Natalie Nevins and "One O' Clock Jump" danced by Bobby Burgess and Barbara Boylan.

The orchestra has plenty of gems in their own right, with instrumentals of "Slowpoke", "And We Were Lovers" and "Easy To Love". Frank Scott, the show's resident pianist, harpischordist and arranger is showcased alot on this show, he is featured on three numbers.

We also hear from Myron Floren paired with Jack Imel on the coconuts with the "Tic Tock Polka" and Lawrence mentions that for this number alone, Jack is being paid double scale!

Heck, I wouldn't taking up the coconuts if it meant being paid that much!

The Maestro's special guest star for tonight's show is country music legend Charley Pride, he along with steel guitarist Lloyd Green are featured in two numbers, "Just Between You And Me" and "Lovesick Blues".

Lawrence really had a knack for finding great talent, as you all know Charley went on to be one of the world's greatest country singers.

Jo Ann Castle, Jack Imel, Charlie Parlato, Bob Lido and Bobby Burgess next found themselves at the local grocery store for a humorous piece titled "Now's The Time To Fall In Love"....and I might add that should be worth a few green stamps.

The Lennon Sisters, dressed like Andy Capp, sang "Georgy Girl" which was a huge pop hit during that time.

Arthur Duncan danced away his thing with "Stop Time", made possible by arranger Curt Ramsey....and to finish up the show, the gang makes a plea for "Five Minutes More"....but that suggestion fell on deaf's time for the show to end!

This episode had one of Mary Lou Metzger's interview segements, and it was Jo Ann Castle in the hot seat. Jo Ann mentioned that while on tour back in the sixties, she and tenor Joe Feeney were in Great Falls, Montana at a local club and saw tonight's guest, Charley Pride, singing. Knowing he was good, they recommended him to the Maestro and of course....the rest was history.

Next week, the show will be "A Pretty Girl" from 1961; stay safe and have a happy Martin Luther King day everyone!


Saturday, January 13, 2007

On the poopdeck of the Banana boat

Here's Jim Turner singing the "Banana Boat" song while Mary Lou Metzger comes along for the ride.

For some reason....I'm hungry for a banana split from DQ and I don't know why....

Friday, January 12, 2007

Looking For Some Good Sax

Look no further than the Welk orchestra's reed section! From left to right; Russ Klein, Bob Davis, Dave Edwards, Henry Cuesta and Dick Dale playing the saxophone.

And they really blow....har har, just a little big band humor here.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Happy Birthday Tom Netherton!

It's January 11th....which means only one thing in the land of Champagne Music, Tom Netherton's birthday!

The son of Thomas and Lillian Netherton, his journey to music stardom began as an army child growing up in Munich, Germany to stateside in Bloomington, Minnesota, his own army service in Panama during the Vietnam conflict and back to the upper Midwest where in 1973, made his official debut with the music makers at one of Welk's live concerts at St. Paul, Minnesota.

He would make his Welk show debut later that year on their annual Christmas special, and with his combination of good looks, solid religious faith and deep baritone voice, Tom became one very popular music maker, especially with the ladies.

He still continues to entertain the masses today, this year he'll continue his engagement at the Mountain View Inn in Greensburg, Pennsylvania plus in July, will appear with fellow Welk stars Joe Feeney and son Chris, Mary Lou Metzger and Jack Imel at the American Music Theatre in Lancaster, sure to catch one of his shows whenever possible.

And of course, Happy Birthday Tom! He is still single ladies....


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Picture of the day (1-10-07)

We gave you dueling banjos yesterday, now today I give you dueling pianos....Bob Ralston and Frank Scott giving their musical fingers a hearty workout!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Cue The Dueling Banjos.....

.....this is not the famous scene from the movie "Deliverance". It's from 1962 where Buddy Merrill and Neil Levang learn some pointers on the fine points of banjo picking from Mr. Banjo himself, Eddie Peabody.

It's Finger Pickin' Good listening.....will leave a smile on your face!

One Turkey Of A Ball Game

Well....I just finished watching a turkey on television, it's not one of Lawrence Welk's Thanksgiving specials,

The Bucks got beat by Florida 41-14 in the BCS National Championship, so much for Champagne Karma. Props to the Gators for playing a complete ball game and more props to my fellow Welkies in the Sunshine should be mighty proud.

For us Welkies here in the Buckeye State, it wasn't such a wunnerful, wunnerful night.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Go Bucks!

Howdy's about less than half an hour away til' the Ohio State Buckeyes face the University of Florida Gators in the desert in Arizona for all the marbles in college football.

Being an Ohio native, playing to my state will be OHIO STATE 30, FLORIDA 17.

I wonder who are the Welk stars pulling for? And since Ralna English lives in nearby Scottsdale, will be at the game in Glendale tonight?

Should be a wunnerful national championship game to watch!

Three Little Fishies

From 1972, here's Gail Farrell and Mary Lou Metzger straight from the sea with "Three Little Fishies"

I never knew that fishing was this attractive!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Big Bands 1978

This week, the folks from Welk Syndication and OETA present the first Welk show of 2007, Salute To The Big Bands which was also the first show of the 1978-79 season!

Here's Lawrence Welk introducing Johnny Zell to get things started with a trumpet salute to Harry James.

Speaking of Johnny, he is also the host of the wraparounds for the show. He talks at length about his family and his career since Welk, touring the west coast with wife Laura and their kids as a family musical act and his knowledge of computers, where he teaches cyber trumpet courtesy of his webpage,

Speaking of his wife, it was Tom Netherton, who is one of Johnny's best friends on the show, that introduced him to Laura. He also mentioned that when the Zells married in 1977, Tom served as best man.

The music makers are without a doubt, a true musical family in every sense of the word.

And now, back to September 16, 1978 (original airdate of this episode) where Tom was next, along with his freshly new haircut singing "I'll Never Smile Again" made popular by Frank Sinatra and the Jordanaires. Bob Ralston played one of his popular piano selections "Cumana" and Guy & Ralna came out with their ever popular selection "Tangerine".

The Aldridge Sisters and Otwell Twins, in the Maestro's own words, were a little too young to remember the big band days so they did sung, "Knee Deep In Loving You" which was excellent.

Lawrence also paid tribute to the great Artie Shaw by having the orchestra play "Begin The Beguine" with Henry Cuesta leading the way on clairnet. He also had George Cates lead the orchestra and singers with the Paul Whiteman arrangement "When Day Is Done".

Also among the big band numbers featured on the show was "Sentimental Journey", sung by our favorite all girl trio of Gail, Sandi and Mary Lou.....both looking might nice in their yellow outfits.

There was Anacani, bring back memories of ex-Champagne Lady Jayne Walton by singing one of her signature hits "Eres Mi Amor" with Myron Floren at the squeezebox. Bobby and Cissy danced a fine mambo done Prez Prado style and Arthur Duncan doing a tap routine to the Shiek of Araby.

It was a wunnerful show, finishing up nicely with a bang with the orchestral arrangement of "Panama" which had the music makers getting their groove on.

I agree with Johnny here, this episode does get one huge thumbs up!

Next week, it will be "Time Was" I think....should be a good one.


Friday, January 05, 2007

Ironing Out Your Differences

Dick Dale finds out firsthand that doing the ironing is not easy as one thinks, and Andra Willis is none too pleased.

Maybe it's because that was her blouse he was working on....

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Larry Hooper

Today, we pay salute to one of the most popular and beloved members of the Musical Family, Larry Hooper!

Born in Independence, Missouri on July 22, 1917....Hoopie first joined Lawrence Welk's orchestra in 1948 originally as a pianist but once the Maestro heard Larry's deep rich bass voice singing a few bars, he became a featured vocalist with popular songs such as "Oh Happy Day", "This Old House" and "Minnie The Mermaid".

Hoopie was also a dedicated family man, he and his wife Beverly had three daughters, Lisa, Melinda and Laurie, and was an avid collector of model railroads.

Plagued with ill health most of his life, Larry was off the show from 1969 to 1973 after a heart attack followed by complications that twice nearly took his life. He soon recovered well enough to return for the opening show of the 1973-74 season which drew an emotional and rousing standing ovation from the studio audience.

Once again, ill health forced him off the show again in 1980 and sadly never to return....and passed on three years later.

But that Hoopie smile and great humor has left an lasting and warm impression for Welk fans of all ages, and nobody can sing real low better than him!

Larry Hooper, a Champagne Icon for all seasons and generations.


Wednesday, January 03, 2007

The Birthday Kids

Speaking of the birthday kids, we have a double shot of music makers celebrating their special day, first off is Cissy King, super dancer and singer....

..... and the other is Neil Levang, guitar and banjo player extrodinare!

Cissy hails from Albuquerque, New Mexico...and Neil hails from Adams, North Dakota.

The feller we know by the nickname as "Evil Levang" joined the Welk orchestra in 1959, when Buddy Merrill was drafted into the Army. Cis joined the show in 1967 as Bobby Burgess' newest dance partner.

Together, the two have combined for over thirty years service with the music makers and have left wunnerful musical memories for fans to watch over and over on television...and both continue to inspire a new generation of dancers, hoofers, banjoists and guitar heros!

Happy Birthday Cissy and Neil, a great way to start 2007!


Picture of the day (1-3-07)

Here it is....the first one of the new year!

From 1976's "Strike Up The Band" episode, which first aired exactly 32 years ago today, Cissy King and Neil Levang celebrate their birthday while the Maestro leads Mary Lou, Gail and Tanya in the singing of "Happy Birthday To You".

And by the way, it is their birthday today!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Besame Mucho

From the "Salute To Mexico" episode first aired on January 10, 1973, here's Tanya Falan singing "Besame Mucho"


Monday, January 01, 2007

The First Day of 2007

Happy New Year's Day your new year off to a good start?

I'll be watching many of the college football bowl games, like the Rose Bowl and it's Tournament of Roses parade.

Here's Arthur Duncan getting his troops ready to start the parade!