Saturday, March 31, 2007

Meet some swingin' ladies!

From the 1971 "County Fair" show, we have some swingin' ladies on the merry-go-round for the fellas to meet!

Makes me wish that Cedar Point attracted such gorgeous girls!


Friday, March 30, 2007

California or bust

From 1970, here's Jack Imel, Mary Lou Metzger, Cissy King and Bobby Burgess on their way to Hollywood and stardom.....and of course, we all know how all that turns out!

More good news from Tuesday's concert, Mary Lou mentioned that the Welk show on PBS has been renewed for another year....can't wait for who is gonna be interviewed.

More details to follow on this blog and webpage.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The pictures are up!

Like the picture I made on Photoshop? It's Lawrence Welk....South Park style made courtesy of this fantastic website!

Speaking of websites....I got the Live Lawrence Welk Show pictures up and running. Just click on the picture to go there!


Picture of the day (3-28-07)

From yesterday, here's a little sample of the Live Lawrence Welk Show....Ilona Riazantsev (of the dance team Pasha and Ilona), Gail Farrell, Ava Barber, Mary Lou Metzger and Anacani (behind the stage light box) singing in great harmony.

I'll be working on putting more pictures on the regular webpage today, it will be just like you are there live at the concert!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Back home from the concert......

Just got back home from the Live Welk Show here in Toledo....what a show!

All the music makers were on top of their game, and yes I did take pictures...a hundred plus shots and two changes of batteries on my digital camera.

The show, music and buzz was great...I'll tell more later but I gotta get ready for work tonight. I'll also notify you guys when my pictures will be will be at least a few days the most.

Brand new American Idol for Sanjaya....

...and keep a song in your heart!

Monday, March 26, 2007

First bicycle ride of 2007

Oh thank heavens that we finally got nice weather today! I just got back home from riding my bicycle to the University of Toledo and back on the Metroparks Bike Trail.

And may I add that I am exhausted....I really got to get back in shape, but the bike ride was fun from start to finish.

This will be the first of many to come this year...if the weather cooperates.

Tommorrow is the big Welk concert at Stranahan, I'll make sure that I will provide pictures and link you guys to them!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Behind The Scenes with our Musical Family

Were back with regular weekly Welk episodes! This week is a classic, Behind The Scenes with our Musical Family from 1981, and the wraparounds are hosted by Mary Lou Metzger with a special cameo appearance by Richard Maloof.

Here's the gang with the opening number, "Teamwork."

This is one of my favorite later Welk shows, it shows the versitility of the music makers which make for great numbers and skits. Anacani, being an expert seamstress along with her singing talents, shows off her fine red dress in "The Lady In Red" while Mary Lou teams up with Jack Imel in top hats and tails for "Top Hat and Tails". Also, we have Elaine Niverson (Balden) and Bobby Burgess teaching everyone how to dance....which at the end, comes complete with a nice blast from the past!

Take it from these two, learning to dance is both easy and fun!

The band did very well with instrumentals, with "You Gotta Have Heart" being the most notable. Ken Delo is clowning around with "What Kind Of Fool Am I?" and you have the Aldridges and Otwells at their best with "One Of These Songs" where at the end, Sheila shows off her stuff...and gets the hook!

Always the matinee idol, Tom Netherton is surround by the ladies wearing exotic costumes from the Ice Follies known as the "Big Uglies" in the number, "A Pretty Girl" and later, the ladies play receptionists on the job, and not on a coffee break, with "I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself A Letter."

Guy & Ralna came up with another musical gem with one of their favorites, "You Are My Best Friend" and the band, under George Cates direction, plays "Send In The Clowns." The show closes in fine style with "Applause, Applause" complete with a quick change of wardrobe and of course, applause!

That's all for this week....just two days until the Live Lawrence Welk Show comes to town!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Learn the Three B's of music

Do you know what the Three B's are? It's not the Boss, Beatles and the Beach Boys...nor is it Black Sabbath, Blue Oyster Cult and the B52s.

Gail Farrell in this 1973 clip from "Themes From The Classics" will explain and demonstrate!


Friday, March 23, 2007

Fridays are meant for polka!

Here's the Maestro dancing a nice polka with Mary Lou while Myron Floren provides the action at the squeezebox!

Just four days until the Welk stars come to Toledo....I can't wait!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Champagne Music Maker Sanjaya Malakar?

Yes, I know what most of you are saying...."Has the blogmeister finally lost his marbles?" and "since when did JB Funky start watching American Idol?"

At first, it may sound silly....especially since everybody in the Free World knows about the popular star from FOX's American Idol, but here's my two cents on this.

From what I have seen, and yes....I usually don't watch Idol until now....Sanjaya Malakar of Federal Way, Washington has potential. He has great stage presence, a likeable fellow with a nice smile, personality, and his charisma lights up when he performs for the audience. I betcha that if the Welk show was still on the air, the Maestro would take a liking to this kid....he's a great candidate for the Welk organizatrion's Youth Oppurtunity Program, where he can get superb training for his vocals and his talents by the at Escondido as the Welk Resort's singing host and who knows....appear on the show first as a guest and if fan letter reaction is positive.....become a permanent member of the musical family!

By the way, he did make it into the Top Ten the sky's the limit.

Remember to keep a song in your heart

....and vote for Sanjaya!


Picture of the day (3-21-07)

From 1956, here's Bob Lido trying to incite a Zoot Suit Riot courtesy of his snappy, zooty threads!

You gotta love the stripes....they do leave a mark.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Kathie loves Andy

Tonight....I have stumbled upon classic TV gold courtesy of our friends from YouTube!

From 1981, the season opener of ABC's own Saturday Night Live-ripoff "Fridays"....where our Kathie Sullivan appears and sings with comedic legend Andy Kaufman, although the whole incident turned out to be one of Andy's comedic hoaxes....we had fun for the whole ride.

Here's the runs about nine and a half minutes, and Kathie comes out onstage about halfway through.


More ideas for Welk specials

Here are a few more ideas I have for future Welk pledge specials that can be aired on public television.


Our own Mary Lou would star in her own 90-minute special where she sings some of her favorite showtunes from famous Broadway plays. Can you picture her singing tunes like "Matchmaker", "Getting To Know You" and "Send In The Clowns" just to name a few? Plus, she'll also dance alot in the show....such as her popular, "I Wanna Be A Rockette" number.


Here, some of our favorite Welk Stars get together on stage and perform many of the popular songs from the silver screen....many of the popular ones that were on the show before! The possibilities are endless, Gail Farrell singing "I Have Dreamed", Guy & Ralna singing "Three Coins In A Fountain" and Ken Delo with "Under The Sea".

Sounds like a great show....make sure you bring the popcorn!


Monday, March 19, 2007

Ideas for future Welk pledge specials

After three weeks of pledge specials, everything has returned to normal here and during that time, I have seen two great Welk-related specials...Lawrence Welk's TV Treasures (twice) and Ralna English: From My Heart.

From what I hear....those shows brought in the cash to their affliates, and it also has me thinking of what possible new Welk specials can be made, both to entertain us Welk fans and keep the gravy train of pledges rolling in? I have many ideas they could's three of them I like to share.


Two great sounds come will be taped at Detroit's Fox Theatre and it will feature many of our Music Makers singing some of the most popular classics from Motown legends like Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, The Temptations and Aretha Franklin just to name a few.

Can you just picture Guy & Ralna singing "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" or perhaps the Lennon Sisters with their rendition of "Dancing In The Streets" or even Dick Dale, Tom Netherton and the Otwells with "My Girl?" Now that's music to my ears....and all done in Champagne Style of course!


Here, you have Sheila and Sherry Aldridge, backed by either a huge orchestra (like Ralna did in her special) or perhaps a country band or jazz artists...maybe all three! They would sing many of their favorite songs, from any genre (country, pop, jazz, big band, etc)...share some great memories from their performing career and maybe have a special guest or two drop by!

If you liked those suggestions....maybe you'll like this one,


It will be a 90-minute special, and I can picture our Gail Farrell showing her many talents from the world of music....from singing to playing on the piano. She'll perform many of her Welk show favorites, and her personal favorites as well. I can see her joined on the special by Ron Anderson and Michael Redman together again as the "Gail, Ron and Michael" mixed trio and also have reunite her with both Sandi Griffiths and Mary Lou Metzger as "Gail, Sandi and Mary Lou."

The ideas and possibilites are least I think so.


Sunday, March 18, 2007

Gentle On My Mind

The Champagne Music Makers have made several variations of this popular Glen Campbell hit, this one is my favorite...and instrumental from 1970's "Country & Western Show".

It's perfect listening for a Sunday afternoon! Just crank up the volume and relax....

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone! Just remember to wear your green today or you may run the risk of getting pinched!

Back home, the snow has returned but no as much as the folks in the Northeast and Pennsylvania are getting. That just makes the smell and taste of that corned beef and cabbage even better to my pallette!

This week is the last of the current pledge cycle on public TV, and tonight is an encore presentation of "Lawrence Welk's TV Treasures". I'll be watching it again, and perhaps I'll find out something that I may have missed the first two times around.


Thursday, March 15, 2007

Here's another Dave Edwards moment

For Dave, he found out too late that his saxophone had shrunk in the washing machine.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Picture of the day (3-14-07)

St. Patrick's Day is only three days here's Bob Ralston and Buddy Merrill wearing their green jackets while playing some of that "Calcutta".

Monday, March 12, 2007

Minnie The Moocher

Here's bassist Buddy Hayes with his own rendition of Cab Calloway's classic hit, "Minnie the Moocher".

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Happy Birthday Lawrence(s)

Today is the Maestro's brithday....he would be 104 today. Also, today is also Larry Welk Jr's 67th birthday, a great way to start the first day of Daylight Savings Time!

Happy Birthday fellers.....I'll have ah-one, ah-two pieces of cake please.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Ralna English: From My Heart

Tonight, in week two of public television's pledge-a-thon, I got to see Ralna's own PBS special. Ralna English: From My Heart was taped last September at the Belk Theatre in Charlotte, NC where Ralna and her vocals were backed up by the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra. This is the first time I got to see it, and lets just say that it lived up to it's name....simply wunnerful, wunnerful!

I liked the selection of songs she used in the program, from big band standards like "Tangerine", "You'll Never Know" and "I'll Be Seeing You", to torch songs like "Memory", patriotic fare such as "God Bless America" and gospel spirituals such as her signature "How Great Thou Art". Ralna's 90-minute special was basically a musical tour of American history....all written in song.

Here's Ralna to open up the show.....

....and when it is time for act two, where she swings into high.....

....leading up to act three in which "everything comes together" for one heckua finale!

And by the way....I did put in a pledge of $60, which means in a few weeks, I'll be getting the family cookbook complete with pictures. It is money well spent, doing my part to keep public TV with many more seasons of Welk and super-cool specials, such as TV Treasures and this one.

See you all later, tommorow is the Maestro's birthday and don't forget to jump your clocks ahead an hour for Daylight Savings Time!


Friday, March 09, 2007

Dick Dale.....chaperone

Whenever there's a dance going on....Dick Dale, as chaperone, makes sure that there is no funny business on the dance floor.

And Steve Smith gets the idea.....especially when he's dancing with Sandi Griffiths.

Thursday, March 08, 2007


The Live Lawrence Welk Show kicks off in about three weeks time, and I can hardly wait!

Recently, I have been having these dreams in my sleep about meeting the music makers in person after the show....thinking about what to talk about and then some. My biggest fear is that, and thank god that has never actually happened, I would say something about whatever and one of music makers would get upset or angry about someone or something.

Have you ever had such anxiety about matters like that? The very last thing anyone would want on their mind is their last up-close experience with a music maker to be a negative matter.....especially if it wasn't intended to be that result.

Many of these dreams are very pleasant ones, such as if I were on the show either as a musician or sitting in the studio audience....and getting to be friends with the cast. Or when the show is out on the road, with the many adventures that come with touring!

Now I know where the "pleasant dreams" part comes from in the "Adios" closing song.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Picture of the day (3-7-07)

Here's Kathie Sullivan and Bob Ralston, at the harpischord, going back in time to the Middle Ages to bring you the musical number, "Puff The Magic Dragon" from the 1980 episode "Famous Musical Groups."

Kathie looks rather regal singing about a fire-breathing lizard....doesn't she?

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

I'm Gonna Build A Fence Around You

From the cyber-wonderland known as YouTube, here's Janet Lennon going to extremes to get herself a man (or men) as she fences in the Blenders in this musical number from 1966

Monday, March 05, 2007

You gotta start 'em while they are young....

From 1973, here's Tanya Falan and Anacani with Larry the Third and Kevin Welk in a cute musical number singing "Frosty the Snowman."

You can tell that the boys are having fun! I know that I would....

Sunday, March 04, 2007

TV Treasures....a real gem!

I have twice watched the all-new special "Lawrence Welk's TV Treasures" and from this blogmeister's perspective, the program really lives up to it's name!

There are plenty of milestones and memories to choose let's begin.

Part one deals with the origins of the show and it's star, Lawrence Welk as told by his son, Larry Jr. He talks about the beginning of the Welk Show, complete with vintage clips of the very first show broadcasted on the musicians were also talented singers...complete with interviews with Dick Dale and Rocky Rockwell....and how the Lennon Sisters became regulars, which led them to being stars!

There's also a neat clip from 1958 where 18-year old Larry Jr got to lead the band, which gave clairinet player Pete Fountain a good chuckle!

Part Two deals with the popularity of the show, and how the musical family became objects of attention of many popular celebrity fan magazines, such as TV Picture Life and Photo Play just to name a fact, I have several of those magazines in my collection....especially the ones that have the Maestro and his music makers on the cover!

They also touch on the marriages between certain music Bobby Burgess & Kristie Floren, Peggy Lennon & Dick Cathcart and Mary Lou Metzger & Richard Maloof, we also get to see rare clips like the episode where Guy & Ralna first show Julie's baby pictures...singing to "You Light Up My Life".

Part Three deals with the behind-the-scenes aspect of the show, in where Dee Dee and Janet Lennon talk about that the show was first done live and later when it was done on tape...with some great insight from Mary Lou Metzger and Jack Imel. And don't forgot about those crazy, colorful outfits they wore! Rose Weiss, the show's costumer, goes into detail about that.

They also aired a clip of the Lennon Sisters singing, "Up Up And Away"....I have got to find what album they recorded that song on!

And finally in Part Four, we look into some of the comedic numbers and hi-jinks from the the gang's rendition of "The Lawrence Welk-Hee Haw Counter-Revolution Polka", Rocky Rockwell's rendition of "Sadie Brown" and Ken Delo splitting his pants on the 1975 Halloween show!

And of course, they discussed about the end of the regular series, which aired on April 17, 1982 (it was taped on February 5th birthday by the way) and how the show's popularity has endured to this day....on public television.

It was a wunnerful show...I did phone in to pledge a hundred smackers to my local PBS affiliate which means in a few weeks....I'll get the TV Treasures photo memory book.

Next week, Ralna English's From My Heart will air....I'm thinking of ordering her cookbook with my forthcoming pledge.....see you all next week!


Saturday, March 03, 2007

Just watched TV Treasures....

I just finished watching Lawrence Welk's TV Treasures tonight....and I must say it was wunnerful, wunnerful production. They are indeed musical treasures, many of them I haven't seen in a long time!

It's a brilliant musical documentary, kinda like VH1's "Behind The Music" minus the sex, drug abuse, financial problems, booze and back stage in-fighting...all of it is clean, wholesome family fun...just like Mr. Welk would have wanted.

I'll have the whole report later tommorrow, since I taped it....I watch it again later tonight to savor every champagne morsel.

The 2007 Live Lawrence Welk Show dates

All you Welkies out are the following showdates for this year's Live Lawrence Welk Show,

Sunday, March 25th at the Country Tonight Theater in Pigeon Forge, TN

Tuesday, March 27th at the Stranahan Theater in Toledo, OH

Wednesday, March 28th at the Riviera Theatre in North Tonawanda, NY

Thursday, March 29th at the Ford Community and Performing Arts Center in Dearborn, MI

Saturday, March 31st at the Crystal Grand Music Theatre in Wisconsin Dells, WI

Sunday, April 1st at the Morris Performing Arts Center in South Bend, IN

If you live within these areas, get your tickets soon....they'll put on a great show!

Friday, March 02, 2007

Rocky Rockwell's birthday

Today is legendary music maker Rocky Rockwell's birthday, as a member of the Musical Family from 1951 to 1962....Rocky, who hails from St. Joseph, Missouri; can do it all, play the trumpet, sing, dance and be a ham....better than Hormel!

Here's Rocky with champagne lady Alice Lon...

and here's Rock to your right playing trumpet with Norman Bailey....

...and here's him just clowning around!

Happy Birthday Rocky, everyone here wishes you the best!


Thursday, March 01, 2007

Apples and Bananas

Anyone want some fresh apples and bananas? I don't mean the fruit, but instead this nice Welk instrumental from 1965, courtesy of YouTube, performed by Jerry Burke at the organ along with the rest of the Champagne Music Makers.