Join 3,433 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


And a one...
August 7, 2012 7:31 PM   Subscribe

THE WUNNERFUL WOMEN OF THE LAWRENCE WELK SHOW
posted by asockpuppet (80 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
(starts bubble machine)
posted by eriko at 7:41 PM on August 7, 2012 [6 favorites]


Tenk yu, tenk yu, dat was luvvly. And now, here's Myron Floren with "Pine Top Boogie".
posted by briank at 7:45 PM on August 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


And not to forget.
posted by Isadorady at 7:45 PM on August 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


Stan Freberg did it best, way back in the 1950s (which applies to a lot of other things too)
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:53 PM on August 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


Clicked + in memory of Granny.
posted by nickyskye at 8:00 PM on August 7, 2012 [7 favorites]


I was brought up watching The Lawrence Welk Show, and since it's on Saturday nights when not much else is happening on television, I've been watching it.

It's not a horrible show. The musicianship is always good, the singing is always good. The arrangements are sometimes a bit sad, but oftentimes they're quite good.

The overall tone of the show is a bit offputting at times, sort of an odd mixture of enthusiastic "let's put on a show" combined with occasional glimpses of fear in the backs of perfomers eyes, I'm guessing because Welk was a bit of a tyrant.

But even now, I fail to understand why it's so universally reviled. If I hadn't been raised on it, I probably wouldn't have any of the early exposure to jazz and developed any familiarity with the canon and therefore wouldn't have any appreciation for jazz at all now as a grown-up. For that alone, I owe TLWS a huge debt.

(Plus, watching the show now is this strange time-warp of fashion. Well, okay, not fashion, but television variety show mentality about what fashion of the times is, which isn't really what the fashions of the time were... except for the hair. OY! The hair!)
posted by hippybear at 8:02 PM on August 7, 2012 [7 favorites]


ANACANI AND HER FURRY FRIEND

Man, that some priceless naivete.
posted by axiom at 8:07 PM on August 7, 2012


When I was in college, circa 1973, I sold a clarinet I was no longer playing via an ad in the L.A. Times. The guy who bought it played in Welk's orchestra, and I delivered it to him at the studio, where I was able to watch some of the rehearsal. I've long since forgotten his name, but he told me he had a small jazz combo on the side, and said something like "the old man [Welk] doesn't like us to riff, so most of us play in our own groups on our time off to keep sane". No question that he had some fine musicians working with him.
posted by Creosote at 8:08 PM on August 7, 2012 [6 favorites]


that is... sigh.
posted by axiom at 8:09 PM on August 7, 2012


Featuring pretty ladies with terrible hairstyles since 1951.

When I was a kid I would watch shows on PBS. Not only kids shows but, like, This Old House, New Yankee Workshop and Bob Ross (I was a weird kid). But once the Lawerence Welk Show would start I would be so bored out of my mind that I had to change the channel. Watching videos of it now gives me the same visceral response to CHANGE THE CHANNEL.

Although I do like the idea of bubbles at the end of every show. That's how I should end everyday. With bubbles.
posted by littlesq at 8:14 PM on August 7, 2012 [6 favorites]


This show was on late at night on Saturdays when I was in university. Smoking pot and watching it was the next best thing to quaaludes.
posted by "But who are the Chefs?" at 8:23 PM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


i've seen them all live at the Corn Palace! Haters gonna hate, but I feel special.
posted by Ideefixe at 8:26 PM on August 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


Making those costumes alone must have employed dozens of people. They all had to match! So much beading! So many RUFFLES.

hippybear, I would be with you, except for this:

The Aldridge Sisters, Sherry and Sheila, and the Otwell Twins, Roger and David, team up to host "Famous Themes," a fun-filled Lawrence Welk show featuring some unique songs. On the show, they sing "Making Our Dreams Come True," the theme from the sit-com, "Laverne and Shirley" and on one of their host segments, the foursome sing a brand new arrangement of "Sounds of Silence."

I can't find video of it, but I've seen it, and it was perky. That song should never be perky.
posted by emjaybee at 8:27 PM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Creosote: I've long since forgotten his name
Henry Cuesta?
posted by unliteral at 8:29 PM on August 7, 2012


That's how I should end everyday. With bubbles.

For the Rainbow Family Gathering one year about 15 years ago, a friend and I had purchased some giant number of small bottles of bubble stuff at a really cheap price, and we went to the gathering preaching Bubble-ism.

Bubble-ism is a form of meditation. It creates transitory beauty, and through breathing practice and visualization, allows you to relax and to expel negativity from your being into the world around you, transforming it into small spheres of translucent rainbows which then vanish. Your troubles and worries vanish with each expelled breath, your conscious breathing exercise restores calm to your limbic system, and the world is slightly more joyous and magic-filled during your practice.

During the morning of silence on July 4, as people were gathering at the main circle for the peak of the celebration, we took our own bubbles and walked the perimeter, "smudging" the place with bubbles. Several people came to dance in the bubbles as we made our rounds, and before we were finished, we noticed others who had gotten bottles of bubbles from us had also taken up smudging the circle with their bubbles. It was a remarkable thing to see this happening in a growing crowd of several thousands of people, with no planning, and all in silence.

I strongly recommend the practice of bubble-ism. It's incredibly simple; it involves no theology; it truly does work to alleviate stress. I have two bottles of bubbles within reach right now, and even these many years later, I still practice bubble-ism regularly.
posted by hippybear at 8:29 PM on August 7, 2012 [11 favorites]


When I worked a public television fund-raising telethon segment about 20 years back the Lawrence Welk show was what got people calling in. The merest hint that the public TV station couldn't keep bringing these fine reruns into their homes would light up the boards like the proverbial Christmas tree.
posted by randomkeystrike at 8:35 PM on August 7, 2012


I'll I'm not the only MeFite who scans every bio looking for tales of drug rehab, coming out as a lesbian, or autoerotic asphyxiation.

Spoiler: each woman appears to have been married to a good Christian man and lived happily ever after.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 8:35 PM on August 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


Those are some beautiful women.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:35 PM on August 7, 2012


I'll *bet* I'm not... sheesh
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 8:36 PM on August 7, 2012


When I was a kid, my parents stashed me in theatre camp on the month-long school breaks that year-round school offers every third month. Arts Between the Tracks, once I got past the nasty initiation period, was kind of a blast. And one of the things that Arts camp did was go to the Lawrence Welk Resort to watch a show in the theatre.

Lawrence Welk was a few years dead by this point but the entire experience was still pretty guided by his interests. It was a highly surreal experience for me: taking a bus up the dusty rural roads to back-country Escondido, ending up at this slightly down-at-the-heels 'resort' (no comparison to the Vegas behemoths I was used to), to a resort absolutely inundated with old people wandering around in their daytime fancy clothing, and then being herded into this theatre where the old folks grumped every time we moved.

I doubt entertaining a bunch of middle class theatre kids was exactly what ol' Lawrence was thinking of when he built the place, but it worked out well enough. Unfortunately for him, the caliber of actor that the Welk resort brought to the stage was not as impressive as our local summer theatre. It didn't help that the whole place was fossilized forever in the 1970s, the choice of play was something hilariously dated, and we none of us had any idea who Lawrence Welk was and why we should care. The Welk is still around, so it's doing better than I thought it would, and Welk's name lives on beyond his truly terrible musical.
posted by librarylis at 8:37 PM on August 7, 2012


I'll bet I'm not the only MeFite who scans every bio looking for tales of drug rehab, coming out as a lesbian, or autoerotic asphyxiation.

I do that with user profiles.
posted by mazola at 8:38 PM on August 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


My friend and I like to rickroll each other with videos of the closing theme from the show. (Welkroll?) Oh hey, did you read that new article about DFW in The New Yorker?

I only wish there were more. Banjo player wants to know why the fuck there's a pile of hay on his shoulder. Guys awkwardly hunched over on the seesaw.
posted by book 'em dano at 8:39 PM on August 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


Of course, this works better on Facebook than on Metafilter.
posted by book 'em dano at 8:41 PM on August 7, 2012


 O    o  O  o  Oo
  o   o o    
  O  o O  o  O o O O 
  o o o   o  o  o
    O OO O    
    O o    o 
     o  
posted by Kronos_to_Earth at 8:45 PM on August 7, 2012 [39 favorites]


This webpage was created on December 1, 2006

And has been kept sealed in a design bubble ever since!
posted by Curious Artificer at 9:07 PM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


I was flipping through channels a few years back and saw, on Lawrence Welk, a quartet of ladies wearing the exact same dress, in a slightly different color, that I wore to my Senior Prom back in '91

(I'd bought it at a Goodwill store, so it JUST MIGHT BE ONE OF THE ORIGINAL DRESSES.)
(BUT PROBABLY NOT.)
posted by Lucinda at 9:13 PM on August 7, 2012


And now the band will play Duke Ellington's "Take A Train."
posted by sourwookie at 9:14 PM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Love your bubbles Kronos_to_Earth, that is one adorable comment.

Yup. Bubbles, imo, were the best thing about Welk, whose show was packed end to end with the ugliest, disturbingly cheesiest, goddawful tacky, suffocatingly banal shit with polka accordion accompaniment. It was the kind of stuff they would play in Purgatory. I remember sitting with Granny in front of her behemoth tv Magnavox console in NYC some time in the early 60's and feeling true, down in the bone contempt for the adult world if this was the kind of drek they liked. It was a show that peered into the maw of Deep Trite.

No, the Lawrence Welk show almost turned me into a bitter human being at age 10. And I was only saved by brilliant shows like the life changing, soul uplifting Outer Limits, The Galaxy Being.
posted by nickyskye at 9:15 PM on August 7, 2012 [6 favorites]


hippybear, I would be with you, except for this:

As I said, the arrangements...
posted by hippybear at 9:21 PM on August 7, 2012


being a bit older, and living through this show with my parents is a painful memory. God, it was the 60s. The Beatles! Cream! Jefferson Airplane. And my parents loved Welk. It was everything I hated.

Older music, like Benny Goodman, The Dorsey Brothers? I'd have loved that. But no.. Watered down crap with no soul was what I got. No escape to the iPod, no second TV. No bedroom record player. Just Welk.

It may seem retro hip now, or amusing, but at the time it was HELL.
posted by cccorlew at 9:22 PM on August 7, 2012 [6 favorites]


>This webpage was created on December 1, 2006

And has been kept sealed in a design bubble ever since!


Huh. I actually thought there was some sort of retro hipster inside joke going on with the design there, but I guess I was wrong!
posted by KokuRyu at 9:25 PM on August 7, 2012


Nicky, the Galaxy Being is one show I've always remembered because more than any other, it TERRIFIED ME, as a little kid. So, the universe being perverse, of course I love it.

Lawrence Welk. The show that made me hate staying at my grandma's house. Oh, how I hated it. And then I grew up and actually sang with Myron Floren. Yep. The universe is perverse.
posted by Goofyy at 9:26 PM on August 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


Welk, whose show was packed end to end with the ugliest, disturbingly cheesiest, goddawful tacky, suffocatingly banal shit with polka accordion accompaniment. It was the kind of stuff they would play in Purgatory. I remember sitting with Granny in front of her behemoth tv Magnavox console in NYC some time in the early 60's and feeling true, down in the bone contempt for the adult world if this was the kind of drek they liked. It was a show that peered into the maw of Deep Trite.

No, the Lawrence Welk show almost turned me into a bitter human being at age 10.


Yes, let the hate flow through you. Give in to your anger. With each passing moment you make yourself more the servant of the Dark Side.
posted by hippybear at 9:29 PM on August 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


Is Jo Ann Castle even capable of playing the piano frontwards and/or sitting down? She is one of those amazing feats of nature, like a female Liberace with slightly fewer sequins.
posted by Madamina at 9:29 PM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


No question that he had some fine musicians working with him.

Word. One of his drummers (Paul Humphrey) played with Steely Dan on Aja. Given the ridiculously high caliber of the other musicians on that album, that's a mark of quality in my book.

And he also employed Peanuts Hucko (clarinet), Big Tiny Little (piano), and Skeets Herfurt (saxaphone).
posted by hawkeye at 9:32 PM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


hippybear, darling, you know I love you. And your Rainbow Gathering smudgy silence bliss-out is seriously cute. But no, hon, The Force is not with Welk, it's Anakin Gone Bad tomb muzac.
posted by nickyskye at 9:34 PM on August 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


God, it was the 60s. The Beatles! Cream! Jefferson Airplane. And my parents loved Welk. It was everything I hated.
I give you The Velvet Underground.
posted by unliteral at 9:36 PM on August 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


And then I grew up and actually sang with Myron Floren. Yep. The universe is perverse.

*googles Myron Floren. Dang, that is an amazing anecdote Goofyy. How the hell did that happen?
posted by nickyskye at 9:41 PM on August 7, 2012


Quick! Without consulting Google or Wikipedia, name a person from North Dakota more famous than Lawrence Welk.









Thought so.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 9:42 PM on August 7, 2012


Leonard Peltier?
posted by hippybear at 9:45 PM on August 7, 2012 [8 favorites]


I’m glad all you Welk haters never saw the Big Joe Polka Show, your heads would have exploded.
posted by bongo_x at 9:47 PM on August 7, 2012


Polka was such a tiny slice of what Welk featured on his show, it's sad that it seems to be all that anyone remembers about it. Maybe those people need to watch an episode or two as adults to get their perception of the show aligned with reality.

Anyway, Big Joe Polka Show was awesome in its own right, and definitely had echoes of the very early seasons of Welk, as TLWS used to feature the audience dancing to the band (something which was eliminated as the show progressed through the years).

Big Joe Polka Show has been off the air for a while now, but you can find its successor, Molly B Polka Party, regularly on RFD TV.
posted by hippybear at 9:54 PM on August 7, 2012


Nicky: I was just one voice in a choir. It just happened to be the best choir. So when Myron brought his travelling show to town, and wanted a choir, they got us.
posted by Goofyy at 10:03 PM on August 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


The Lawrence Welk Show was my brother's favorite growing up, so I've seen a lot of it - so I can say with authority that it was an abomination. It was a carnival of 'ethnic' music neutered and bleached for the white audience - a sort of Black and White Minstrel Show without the edge. It served to fill the middle American nostalgia for the music of yesteryear whilst allowing them to indulge in the fiction that scary black people had little to do with it and had been brought nicely in line if they appeared at all. It is a demonstration of how utterly and completely the postwar generation misunderstood their parents' music, whether intentionally or not. I mean, Welk is a guy who once fired a singer for showing too much leg. White-bread music for sad, decaying souls who were surrounded by interesting music but too frightened to lay their hands on it.
posted by koeselitz at 10:04 PM on August 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


so I can say with authority that it was an abomination.

I’m not so sure about your authority, but your condescension level is amazingly high.
posted by bongo_x at 10:10 PM on August 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm just not much of a fan of minstrel shows.
posted by koeselitz at 10:14 PM on August 7, 2012


An interesting artifact is the remix album Upstairs At Larry's, which has Welk tracks in surprising new forms. I won't say it's something I listen to all the time, but I do have it in my standard "all this is stuff I don't mind coming up on random" playlist.
posted by hippybear at 10:22 PM on August 7, 2012


(I mean, I know stuff like this is totally of its time, but somehow it doesn't make me feel good at all.)
posted by koeselitz at 10:24 PM on August 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm just not much of a fan of minstrel shows.

Your loaded race terms are offensive.

Anyway, would you aim a similar screed at Benny Goodman or Tommy Dorsey Glenn Miller or similar big band leaders who aren't of what you consider to be the appropriate race to play jazz music?
posted by hippybear at 10:29 PM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


I believe the Lawrence Welk show was racist. The way that he regularly fell back on racial caricatures for entertainment value is offensive to me. I've already linked one example.
posted by koeselitz at 10:34 PM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


And now, here are Dale and Gail doing a modern spiritual.
posted by SisterHavana at 10:40 PM on August 7, 2012 [8 favorites]


Tommy Dorsey started in Minstrel Bands...and I am not sure that the Welk's are racist
posted by PinkMoose at 10:50 PM on August 7, 2012


I'm sorry; I'm not trying to offend or hurt anybody here. But I am in earnest.
posted by koeselitz at 10:52 PM on August 7, 2012


And yet you admit that it was of its time.

You can't easily view the past through the lens of today without finding offense at every turn.

I don't always find the things I see on TLWS that comfortable to view today, either. But that doesn't make him into a horrible person who was using race stereotyping as a deliberate tool. Three's Company is horribly offensive with its gay content when viewed today, but it wasn't intentionally so.

You're allowed to hate the show -- I have no problems with that. But your rhetoric goes far beyond saying that it had a bit of content which you find troublesome in modern contexts. You've declared it a minstrel show and have quite deliberately singled out music played by other races being made accessible to white audiences as the reason you're bothered by it. And yet the clip you show has nothing to do with race music being made more white.

Is it troublesome? Sure. Was it troublesome at the time? I don't have clear memories of how it might have been perceived at the time, but I think for some it was and for others it wasn't. This was the same era as Iron Eyes Cody. Was that also, in your opinion, the equivalent of blackface?

What about The World's Most Interesting Man, who is in real life a New York Jew? Is he doing the equivalent?

I think more troublesome than their costumed bits like the one you've linked is how their featured tap dancer was a black man. Or is that troublesome? He became the first regularly featured black performer on television. Is that racism, or a breakthrough?

This all gets very tangled and confusing after a bit, IMO.
posted by hippybear at 10:52 PM on August 7, 2012 [6 favorites]


But even now, I fail to understand why it's so universally reviled.

Never seen it, so only know of it by reputation, but I guess it would because it was on at a time when there where only three tv channels, most households had only one television and therefore you could not escape it when your parents decided to get down to the horrible, boring outdated music without an iota of rock or soul in it.

If that's you're only exposure to music, you either know no better and love it, or you loathe it.

That you're occasionally are allowed to see glimmers of better music in these watered down productions is just adding insult to injury.
posted by MartinWisse at 10:52 PM on August 7, 2012


Man, that is exactly the correct website for that website to be. I could not have sarcastically designed it better than someone, I'm presuming, did earnestly.

I caught little bits of Welk on TV as a kid and always found it odd and repulsively cornball in a way that at a young age I wasn't equipped or inclined to try and grapple with or analyze critically, so I just went and did something else. But my mom seemed to like it; she'd grown up with it herself, I guess, and was involved with folk groups since forever to boot so it was probably more relatable to her musically than it ever was to me. I should ask her about it some time.

What I like to think is that the Lawrence Welk Show was some time traveler's deconstructionist preemptive riff on The Muppet Show, played not terribly straight, and it just got out of hand.
posted by cortex at 12:17 AM on August 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Hmm. The Lawrence Welk Show always felt like a big denial of rock and roll, rhythm and blues, anything that happened after about 1950, and people who weren't smiling white (unless they could tap dance) flag-waving hetero-coupled clean-cut Republican Christian Americans. It was something other kids' parents might watch, but we always quickly flipped past in our house.
posted by pracowity at 12:21 AM on August 8, 2012


To think there was a time when women who hadn't surgically altered their appearance could appear on television. Look at all of those normal human breasts! Um, maybe I should rephrase that, but you know what I mean.
posted by Surprised By Bees at 12:23 AM on August 8, 2012


speaking of welk, i once had an acquaintance who was an autism savant. he was a fascinating dude to talk to. he could perform "tricks" like you've heard of before: e.g. he could tell you the day of the week in an instant for any date. and then he could tell you what he ate for breakfast that day. (amongst other very specific and quite accurate facts of that particular day). but perhaps his most charming obsession was lawrence welk. he had somehow committed to memory every episode of lawrence welk ever made (there are many). he could tell you in encyclopedic fashion what songs were sung, who sang them, who the guest stars were, what color suit "larry" was wearing, and all sorts of other information about any and every episode. it was completely mind blowing. when i asked him how he could perform such feats of memory, he looked sheepishly down at his shoes and mumbled "i don't know". i still can't believe the things i heard him say that day.
posted by readyfreddy at 3:21 AM on August 8, 2012


cortex: I caught little bits of Welk on TV as a kid and always found it odd and repulsively cornball...

"Repulsively cornball" is a wonderful phrase & it's spot on!
posted by Jody Tresidder at 4:35 AM on August 8, 2012


I find it interesting, in hindsight, that my grandparents watched Welk religiously. OTOH my parents didn't like it. My father used to play jazz trumpet. And I have many pictures of my parents at jazz clubs when they were younger, so that probably has a lot to do with it. I'd sit through it only because my grandmother let me watch the Outer Limits on her TV when my parents would not. (A tip of the hat to nickyskye, here)
posted by Splunge at 5:12 AM on August 8, 2012


For years the Lawrence Welk Show had always seemed very close to the Freberg parody, except that Welk ran too tight a ship to be caught with a broken bubble machine. Then one day in a thrift store I came across an LP tilted "Lawrence Welk & Johnny Hodges." Obviously this had to be some kind of proto-Onion joke. I mean, Johnny Hodges, the lead alto sax for Duke Ellington's orchestra for decades, in the same room with Welk? But it was no joke. And the album even had a Benny Carter arrangement on it. I couldn't pass it up. When I heard Hodges romping through "I'm Beginning to See the Light" on the cushion of Welk strings, I had to take a step back and re-evaluate.

Turns out that when he wanted to, Welk could do some mildly interesting stuff, starting with his very first recording. Or how about My Canary Has Circles Under His Eyes? None of it is ground-breaking, but there are some nice details in there.

Too bad he let his musical arteries harden in his later years. My grandparents were big Welk fans. They were of his generation. They watched it every week during the network run. But on one show, during an especially sappy number, my grandmother said, "This is so bad even I can't stand it."
posted by Longtime Listener at 6:00 AM on August 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


I personally reviled it for two reasons: first he had no respect for the music, it seemed to me. It didn't matter if the song were jazz, folk, rock, or country, happy, sad or angry. It'd all get ground up into the same upbeat elevator-pop sausage. Then second, they all had, men and women alike, the smile and demeanor of a Stepford wife.
posted by tyllwin at 6:25 AM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I also grew up with the Lawrence Welk show. My grandparents absolutely adored it and tuned in faithfully, gathering us grandchildren around the enormous color television in its wood cabinet. They always made popcorn and sliced up apples (sprinkled with salt).

Whoa. Memory rush. Grandma used to observe, "He's making love to her!" whenever there was a semi-romantic duet number. She'd state it as a sort of helpful announcement for us kids. We knew she didn't have it quite right but as she referred to our lady parts as "your pocket book," amongst other odd turns of phrase, we learned early to do a fair amount of translation.
posted by idest at 6:33 AM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


You folks seem to think you had it bad for being subjected to Lawrence Welk on a Saturday night. Whiners. I cannot even begin to estimate the number of times that our entire family was at our grandparents for the weekend. Lawrence Welk was the second blast of a double barrel shotgun that included an hour of Hee Haw. That's right, Hee Haw and Lawrence Welk back to back. And we were expected to all gather as a family, including all the teenage cousins, to watch two hours of this tripe. And mom used to wonder why her sons embraced music like Led Zeppelin with such fervor.
posted by Ber at 6:34 AM on August 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


My mom watched (and enjoyed!) Lawrence Welk and Donny and Marie and the Muppet Show with all the kids, not to mention Police Squad and Cheers. She was also a big fan of Spike Jones and Stan Freberg in her younger days. If there was some sort of horrible cognitive dissonance from this, she never let on, and I seem to be none the worse for being her daughter.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 6:40 AM on August 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


"Hmm. The Lawrence Welk Show always felt like a big denial of rock and roll, rhythm and blues, anything that happened after about 1950, and people who weren't smiling white (unless they could tap dance) flag-waving hetero-coupled clean-cut Republican Christian Americans.

My Jewish, Holocaust-surviving, bleeding-heart, gay-friendly parents watched the show all the time. Square transcends all races, creeds, and religions!
posted by Room 641-A at 7:24 AM on August 8, 2012


I clicked the link, worried it was a tumblr of crappy screencaps without info, and was pleasantly surprised to see te amount of research done. Kudos to the webmaster: the internet is best done when it is full of obscure and detailed information that feeds the long tail.

North Dakotan more famous than Welk? There's the guy married to Fergie from the Transformers movie, for one, and Peggy Lee, for another...Roger Maris...Chuck Klosterman...we like to claim Teddy Roosevelt, too. But, I'm from here, it makes the news if anyone with a remotely vague connection to the state does anything famous.
posted by AzraelBrown at 7:27 AM on August 8, 2012


I played "Guess where they were born" clicking through. I was surprised how often I was right. Pennslyvania and California were the easiest to get. I missed the one from Colorado, though.
posted by frecklefaerie at 7:43 AM on August 8, 2012


If you play any Black Eyed Peas album with Lawrence Welk muted, you will experience an eerie congruence similar to--but not as profound as--the Wizard of Oz/Dark Side of the Moon combo.
posted by General Tonic at 8:33 AM on August 8, 2012


Welk is a product of his time and place, that's all. He's not my bag, but neither is Carly Rae Jepsen. Still, he gave my grandparents a lot of enjoyment, and he didn't have to rely on computers and Autotune to make music, so he's okay in my book.
posted by entropicamericana at 9:06 AM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I didn’t watch Welk as a kid (but we did watch all of Hee Haw) because it was awful and blah, blah, blah. But in the last couple of years I’ve gained an unironic appreciation for all kinds of easy listening music as I do for nearly any music that I stop pre judging and take the time to listen to. I stopped seeing it as having all the soul sucked out and instead as presenting the song in it’s purest form, all substance no style.

I understand the dislike though. I can’t stand that kind of earnest singer songwriter Folky stuff from the 60’s and 70’s for the same reason. At this point that’s one of the only types of music in the world I actively dislike.
posted by bongo_x at 10:24 AM on August 8, 2012


Quick! Without consulting Google or Wikipedia, name a person from North Dakota more famous than Lawrence Welk.

Leonard Peltier?

Peltier is from South Dakota. I'm lucky my North Dakota-bred wife isn't around. She hates it when people get the Dakotas mixed up.
posted by jonp72 at 11:01 AM on August 8, 2012


but I guess it would because it was on at a time when there where only three tv channels, most households had only one television and therefore you could not escape it when your parents decided to get down to the horrible, boring outdated music without an iota of rock or soul in it.

My dad loathed anything that smacked of country or middle America-- he was a bicoastal guy all the way-- think Don Draper. But every once in awhile we would get caught at a distant relative's house and be subjected to the Welk Show. I can still feel the shuddering of loathing coursing through my body at my new assessment of mine hosts, "Oh! Those kinds of people!." What can I say? I was trained to be an elitist from my cradle. It was a real dividing line between Americans long before the Blue vs Red wars began.

You are correct in thinking that Welk's show was meant to be a counter to the growing menace of teenager rebellion and Rock & Roll. So was the 1961 Sing along with Mitch. You were supposed to gather your family members around the TV set and actually have a little sing-a-long: follow the bouncing ball! Needless to say the songs were the creakiest, corniest sorts of Americana such as "I've Been Working on the Railroad." The sort of songs that were fine to sing around the campfire when you were 10 but not in your own living room along with your parents and siblings. I can only imagine that the amount of eye-rolling and teeth gnashing was at least equal to the amount of pleasure that TV show occasioned.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 12:00 PM on August 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Any mention of Lawrence Welk makes me think about Tobias Wolff's This Boy's Life: "Dwight had a large collection of Lawrence Welk records. When the Lawrence Welk show came on TV we were expected to watch it with him, and be quiet, and get up only during commercials. Dwight pulled his chair up close to the set. He leaned forward as the bubbles rose over the Champagne Orchestra and Lawrence Welk came onstage salaaming in every direction, crying out declarations of humility in his unctuous, brain-scalding Swedish kazoo of a voice."
posted by fromberg at 3:44 PM on August 8, 2012


Peltier is from South Dakota.

Wikipedia says he was born in Grand Forks, ND. You'd probably better change the entry if you have other information.
posted by hippybear at 5:50 PM on August 8, 2012


This post (plus Jan Lewan, the Polka King) encapsulates my entire childhood visiting my grandparents in upstate PA (they probably had the exact same gigantic floor model television nickyskye linked to)! I still watch Lawrence Welk some weekends, and it still fills me with nostalgia tinged with just a little repulsion (I remember finding the holiday episodes to be a little much.. I mean, a whole episode devoted to Thanksgiving?!)
posted by Mael Oui at 8:01 PM on August 8, 2012


Wow. Sticking it to Lawrence Welk? You wild-eyed iconoclasts don't care who you offend do you?
posted by erskelyne at 8:11 PM on August 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


My dad grew up a few blocks from the Lennon sisters (they also had brothers!) and was very close with their family. At this point they have pretty much all moved to Branson, MO because life at the Lawrence Welk resort there is very nice for them - they can make music and make a living for as long as they please, and they're all together. Their family has something like eleven siblings so getting most of them in one city is a pretty big deal.

I was surprised that their brief bio on the site seems to have failed to mention that their father was murdered by a stalker who believed himself to be married to one of the girls. TV fame was a double-edged sword for the Lennon girls.
posted by town of cats at 10:24 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Another lovely Metafilter thread about something from my childhood, that leaves me with a whole new raft of insight into my strangely twisted psyche. TV warped my brain, and usually it was the shows least suspected.
posted by Goofyy at 11:23 PM on August 8, 2012


« Older Buffalo chicken wings were invented by Teressa Bel...  |  If you're a fan of William Bur... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments