Monday, March 31, 2008

Just another Manic Monday

Now I know that Spring is officially and finally here....opening day for baseball!

And thank goodness for Direct TV, we're getting MLB Extra Innings free for a week so I can channel surf to several games whenever I get bored watching either the Tigers or the Indians.

Right now, I'm really stinking up my NCAA Tourney bracket....only two of my picks for the Final Four has made it (UCLA and Memphis) and neither one is picked to be my national champion (I picked Tennessee).

Thank God I did not wager any money on this at all.....

For today, I'll just relax....with an ice cold RC cola and a Moon Pie and watch some baseball, and maybe create some fun junk courtesy of my new version of Adobe Photoshop.....

....and also dream ahead to the Summer, filled with Welk concerts galore include my epic trip to Branson.

And any Scotch in you?

The thought of sunshine, warm weather and no more snow makes me feel like dancing!


Sunday, March 30, 2008

Salute to Roses

This week, the Welk Stars pay tribute to a special kind of flower.... it's not the Venus Fly Trap, it's a salute to Roses so lets go to some highlights!

With Buddy Merrill at the steel guitar, Clay Hart sings "Ramblin' Rose"

Cissy & Bobby dance to Myron Floren's squeezebox rendition of "Yellow Rose of Texas"

Sandi & Sally singing to Lynn Anderson's mega-hit "Rose Garden"

Mary Lou Metzger and Bob Lido get down with "San Antonio Rose"

Dick Dale and Gail Farrell ordering some "One Dozen Roses".

Next week, it's a new one....from the 1960s it will be "Musical Memories" so until then, keep a song in your heart and stay frosty with some Geritol!


Friday, March 28, 2008

Yet another fun Welk haiku

This week, it's music maker and country music legend Lynn Anderson

Let us hear Lynn sing

Her voice and looks are pretty

like a rose garden


Thursday, March 27, 2008

Today's Guest Champagne Lady

From 1959 in fabulous black & white, it's Lynn Roberts!

And she also has her own official webpage....just CLICK HERE to visit

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

I'm trying to find the Lost Chord....where is it?

Myron Floren has found it....mystery solved.

And that chord sounds real nice on the PAN accordian too!


Monday, March 24, 2008

High Society

Watching last Saturday's Lawrence Welk, I did notice the same thing that was missing....

....and that is no dance number by Cissy & Bobby

To help fill that gap, here's America's Number One Dance Couple with one of their most popular routines...dancing to High Society.

And we have the fine folks of YouTube to thank for this...


Sunday, March 23, 2008

1968 Easter Parade

After three long weeks of pledges....were back to regular Welk programming and just in time for Easter!

From 1968, the Maestro is pleased to bring you an Easter Parade so here are some highlights....

The gang opens the show...dressed in their Sunday's best with "Easter Parade".

Here in the solo spot, the lovely and talented Andra Willis singing "Peace In The Valley".

Next up is Jack Imel in one of his most dramatic roles "Abbott the Rabbit".

Also, we have Jo Ann Castle and Bob Lido singing "Put On Your Old Grey Bonnet".
Among the other selections in this week's show include Sandi & Sally's "Peter Cottontail", Bob Ralston playing "Sunrise Serenade" on the piano, Myron Floren looking for "The Lost Chord" on his accordian, Natalie Nevins with "Bless This House" and great instrumentals by the band such as "Get Me To The Church On Time" and "On The Street You Live".

Great show from beginning to end, and compliemented well with Mary Lou's interview with Jo Ann herself!

In this interview, she talks about how she went from her birth name of Zeiring to Castle, more fun on the Welk show such as the ponytail bit and her twenty year relationship with beau Liv Biviano.

And just by hearing her talk, she's is having a ball!

Next week, it's a repeat...the Salute to Roses, a great one not to be missed. May you have a Happy Easter and don't get sick from biting the head off those chocolate bunnies.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

A haiku for Easter

Here's a special Welk haiku for Easter Sunday, hope this is tasty just like those chocolate eggs...

Peter Cottontail

Hops along the bunny trail

It's hot in the suit


Friday, March 21, 2008

Bob Smale

Today is Bob Smale's birthday, and in honor of this special occasion, I have prepared this special birthday haiku for him.

Just another Bob?

He too plays the piano

And can write the songs


Thursday, March 20, 2008

Coming to Louisiana (or Sen. Allen J. Ellender's Happy Fun Land)

Oh to be living in the Bayou State around this time.....

According to News Channel 5 KALB in Alexandria, two of our finest Welk stars will be performing a benefit gala for the Natchitoches-Northwestern Symphony Orchestra on Thursday, April 10th.

The stars that will appear are Gail Farrell.....

....and Tanya Falan.

If you live in the Alexandria-Natchitoches region....or any corner of Louisiana, this will be a great show! The program starts at 7pm in Magale Recital Hall.

Read more on this story from News Channel 5

After reading it myself, I didn't know Tanya appeared on General Hospital...I gotta look more into this, maybe some of you that are GH fans might know more about it.


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The many pianos of Jo Ann Castle

When Jo Ann Castle plays the honky tony piano, it's not just any ol' her, they have to be one of style, personality and color!

Here are some examples.....

This one is regal looking....

This one is a true patriot.....

....and this one has plenty of balloons for celebrating,

....and this one you never lei down for, unless you're on the beaches of Hawaii.


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

I Say A Little Prayer

From this rare 16mm black & white print, here's Tanya Falan from 1968 singing "I Say A Little Prayer".


Sunday, March 16, 2008

Hoagy Carmichael

Just in case if anyone got regularly scheduled Welk....they showed the "Salute to Hoagy Carmichael" episode from 1982.

Here are just a few highlights....the cast singing "Old Buttermilk Sky".

Anacani singing "Heart and Soul" to a very excited Ron Anderson....

Mary Lou Metzger and Jack Imel baking a cake in "Cool Cool of the Evening"

Bob Smale at the piano leading the cast in a singing of "Georgia On My Mind".

And on this show, Anacani was interviewed by Mary Lou this week.

Next week, everything finally gets back to episode titled "Easter" from 1968!

I can't until next week then.


Saturday, March 15, 2008

Beware the Ides of March

Cause' stuff like this will happen.....

....and St. Patrick's Day is only two short days away.

Actually, on the Ides of March....back in ancient Roman times, dictator and nice guy Julius Caesar was betrayed by friend Brutus and assassinated by his fellow Senators in the Roman Senate.

Maybe I'll have a Little Caesar's Pizza and some Orange Julius in observance of this day....while watching televised US Senate preceedings on C-SPAN.

Also, this is the last week of pledges....WGTE has no Welk (regular show or PBS special) scheduled so I'll just put in one of my DVDs of Welk shows.

I wonder if the Maestro and his musical family ever considered doing a "Salute to Ancient Rome" episode?


Friday, March 14, 2008

Hey kids, how about another Welk haiku?

This week, let's do a Kenny Trimble haiku

He does Lombardo

with Charlie, Bob and Hoopie

and plays trombone too!

Just like in those Old Milwaukee commercials, It doesn't get any better than this!


Thursday, March 13, 2008

A terrific Welk article

Here's a nice newspaper article I found online about Lawrence Welk from the Los Angeles Daily News....

Like vintage champagne, memories of Lawrence Welk improve with age
Musical family reminisces 26 years after the last bubble popped

By Brent Hopkins, Staff Writer
Article Last Updated: 02/22/2008 10:54:04 PM PST

SHERMAN OAKS - Kenny Kotwitz sipped his drink and slipped back into an accordion memory 50 years in the making. He was just a teenager from Milwaukee, playing squeezebox in a combo and getting work where he could find it.

His aunt dreamed big and sent his audition tape to bandleader Lawrence Welk in Santa Monica. Welk brought the polka phenom and his pals out and put them up in a motel, giving them a shot on his national TV show. The year was 1958 and this was a big, big deal.

"We came back and everyone knew me," recalled Kotwitz, who went on to become a highly respected jazz accordion player and studio player still working out of Simi Valley. "I went from being an obscure guy to playing any gig I wanted. We were like rock stars."

Sunday marks the 26th anniversary of the day Welk called "a one and a two" on "The Lawrence Welk Show" for the last time, and put down his long conductor's baton. But tonight, he'll still come into homes all across the country, as he has on Saturdays for more than a half-century.

The North Dakota farm boy-turned-accordionist, band man and entrepreneur was never the hippest, the most lauded or the coolest on the music scene. But he remains one of the most unstoppable forces in the entertainment world - even 16 years after his death. Each year, his old band mates reunite after the holidays to talk about the good times of champagne music and bandstand crack-ups. With each party, the crowd of musicians grows smaller and the memories older, but their memories never seem to dull with the passage of time.

"There's still some left - we're losing them left and right," said Larry Welk, the bandleader's son and chief executive officer and chairman of the Santa Monica-based Welk Music Group.

"I don't think any of them could have predicted what it turned into."

From his first days in 1951, playing the Aragon Ballroom in Venice Beach in black and white for KTLA, to his current appearance in reruns on 280 public television stations (including locally on Orange County's KOCE), Welk was always different. He put on 1,065 variety shows, with his 69 different band members producing 10,849 arrangements of 28,077 songs. Fifty-two singers and dancers showcased their vocals, and fleet feet created 1,121 tap dances.

Those figures come from Margaret Heron, who's spent 46 years working for Welk's company. There is absolutely no doubt in her mind that he's "an American icon." "He left the farm at 21 years of age speaking no English, with $3 in his pocket, and he built an empire," she said. "It got stereotyped off the air as a senior show, and Lawrence never got the accolades he deserved. But we're still alive and kicking."

Heron started as a fan mail secretary back in 1961 and went on to serve as personal assistant to both Welk and his wife, Fern, before becoming syndication manager. She considered the Welks to be her second parents and devoted her life to serving the company. She was so focused on her work that she never married - until today, when she will wed a widower she met through the Lawrence Welk Fan Club. She plans to work through the end of the year, then finally retire.

That was the sort of loyalty the big man inspired, his former players recalled. As they recalled the solos they'd blown or the songs they'd feared, and practiced their North Dakota German accent impressions, the memories came flooding back.

"Lawrence had the ability to bring everyone together," said Arthur Duncan, who tap-danced to everything from Duke Ellington tunes to "Wabash Cannonball." "He was a tough taskmaster - when he spoke of `the musical family,' he was definitely the father."

A father who took no guff, but kept that family together, no matter what. Cranking through song after song, gig after gig, they created a smooth, pastel parallel universe where everything was nice and easy on the ears and eyes during turbulent times. Whether it was the Vietnam War or more personal events, the viewer never had any hint that things were amiss in the world when the bubble machine began to froth and the waltzers 1-2-3'd across the dance floor.

"My water broke during a dress rehearsal and I had to stop," laughed Tanya Welk, Larry Jr.'s ex-wife and a singer on the show for 12 years. "He kept giving the signal to keep going - and this was his own grandson."

Through divorces, grandkids, personal triumph and tragedy, the family held fast. Even after the show went off the air in 1984, it kept reuniting long after Welk himself retired to greet customers at his resort in Escondido.

When he died in 1992 at age 89, Welk's musical family organized a grand Dixieland funeral, sending him out in style with his favorite style of music. As the show continues to chug along, frozen in time, refreshed with new introductions and spliced into new specials, the family's nostalgia runs heavy. Whenever they meet, the brothers and sisters in polka and show tunes crack open the champagne, sip the bubbles and slip back into Welk's world anew.

"When I was on the show, I didn't even like the music that much," said Rich Maloof, longtime bassist and party host with his wife, Mary Lou Metzger. "Now I think it's the best thing on the air. There'll never be another show like it again."


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Meredith Wilson

Here's a nice shot of famous composer and playwright Meredith Wilson with Lawrence.

Of all his works, Wilson is perhaps best known for "The Music Man" in which many of its musical numbers were performed quite frequently on the Welk show.

For example, here's Jack Imel and Mary Lou Metzger performing "Gary, Indiana".

And here's Jack again, this time with the whole cast performing "You Got Trouble".


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Maestro's Birthday

Today is Lawrence Welk's birthday! He would have been 105 years young, so here's a haiku in honor of this milestone.

Let's pop the cork and

turn on the bubble machine

Here's Mister Music

And today is also Larry Welk's birthday today as here's one for him.

It's March 11th

Let's celebrate with Junior

bake another cake


Monday, March 10, 2008

It's the only way to travel

From 2002, Sally Flynn (with Sadie the Wonder Dog) and Tanya Falan as they hit the road by RV to bring Champagne Music to the masses!

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Is it that time already?

I still can't believe that Daylight Savings Time starts early and it's already here... I just lost an hour worth of sleep.

And were still in pledge mode, so just in case if you got this week's Welk show it's a Salute to Los Angeles from 1972.

Here's Sandi & Sally as air hostesses singing "Leavin' On A Jet Plane"

Sandi was this week's featured interview by Mary Lou Metzger by the way...

Here's Bob Havens playing "Blue Skies" on the trombone, we also heard "Tea For Two", "California Here I Come", "Rainy Days And Mondays" and "Sam's Song" on the show as well.

But here in Toledo, we got "Precious Memories" again.

To the programming hamsters at WGTE, for once, at least mix it up on pledge week! At least show "Milestones & Memories" or "TV Treasures" heck....even "Songs Of Faith" would be worth watching!

Oh's only two more weeks until we get a new Welk show.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

You asked for it....

For you fellers out there....another Aldridge Sisters haiku

They were a duo

Then along came the Otwells

Now it's a quartet

That my friends is how we got the Aldridge Sisters and Otwell Twins!


Friday, March 07, 2008

Here's yet another Welk haiku

This week's 5-7-5 is about the Aldridge Sisters...

Turn up the volume

Here comes the Aldridge Sisters

Sherry and Sheila

How 'bout that?

Thursday, March 06, 2008

The Sultans of String

Here's the Welk orchestra's string section from the late 1960s....

Bob Lido, Joe Livoti and Bobby Bruce on violins; Harry Hyams on viola and Charlotte Harris on the cello

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Party like it's 1929!

The music makers, celebrating the spirit that is the Roaring 20s, are shown here from 1971's "Salute To Broadway" show dancing to the latest dance craze, the Black Bottom.

And for you fellers out there....our flappers have some of the nicest legs around!

Monday, March 03, 2008

You'll Never Know

Here's Ralna English from 1972 singing in the solo spot, "You'll Never Know",

She is accompanied by Bob Ralston at the piano, here's the complete video courtesy of our friends from YouTube.


Sunday, March 02, 2008

I make a do a Rocky haiku

If you're one of the fortunate few that got a regular Welk show this week, you've enjoyed "Big Band Memories" from January 5, 1980 which was a real treat.

However, my station was in pledge we in the Toledo area got "Precious Memories" on WGTE......for the 98th zillionth time.

I don't mind, I have already seen and taped "Big Band Memories" so I'm not missing anything.

Today, however, is a reason for us Welk fans to's Rocky Rockwell's birthday and here's a haiku in honor of him.

His name is Rocky

Comic, singer and trumpist

and he loves girls too.