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One WELK over the line
April 18, 2010 7:45 PM   Subscribe

Lawrence Welk was a drug fiend
posted by philip-random (67 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
Okay, um, this is all real right? I'm not the only one that's watching a video of "One Toke Over The Line" being performed on the Lawrence Welk Show? Because otherwise I must have taken some serious acid about an hour or two ago.
posted by DecemberBoy at 7:49 PM on April 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Everybody knows Larry was a spliffer.
posted by darkstar at 7:52 PM on April 18, 2010


words can be funny when they mean different things now then they used to.
posted by mexican at 7:54 PM on April 18, 2010


Brewer and Shipley for you kids who don't know about this...

I spent a lot of time watching Welk and crew, my grandparents loved him.... if I was at their house, I was watching Larry.... and, know what... he had some neat music going with those bubbles!
posted by HuronBob at 7:55 PM on April 18, 2010


No, no, no. You are misconstruing the word. It meant something else. Yeah, that's it. It's a religious song, didn't you hear them say "Jesus" and Mary too?

Get your mind out of the gutter. Next you will be saying "With a Little h\Help form My Friends", is a drug song too.
posted by Some1 at 7:56 PM on April 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


According to this YouTube description, a lot of artists thought it was a gospel song.
posted by Think_Long at 7:56 PM on April 18, 2010


words can be funny when they mean different things now then they used to.

Huh? What word? "Toke" has always meant what it means now. The song is explicitly about pot smoking.
posted by DecemberBoy at 7:56 PM on April 18, 2010


A modern spiritual by Dale and Dale!

It also appears that the clip may have been posted on YT by Tom Shipley himself. . .
posted by rdone at 7:57 PM on April 18, 2010


ONE TOKE, MAN. ONE TOKE OVER THE LIIIIIIIIIIINE
posted by TrialByMedia at 7:57 PM on April 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


It's a religious song, didn't you hear them say "Jesus" and Mary too?

At the end, Welk even calls it "one of the newer spirituals". I guess I can forgive Lawrence Welk for not being familiar with 60s drug slang, though.
posted by DecemberBoy at 7:58 PM on April 18, 2010


Damn this counter culture it's got me all bug-a-boo.
posted by Dick Laurent is Dead at 7:58 PM on April 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


Sweet Jesus.
posted by R. Mutt at 7:58 PM on April 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


About Me:

Tom Shipley: I've been doing video for 25 years and have been 1/2 of the musical group Brewer and Shipley since the 1960s. Our biggest hit. "One Toke Over the Line." Currently the videographer for Missouri University of Science and Technology. What a cool gig! I'll be doing video and music until they tell me to stop.


Well I'll be damned.
posted by Think_Long at 7:59 PM on April 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Toke, toke it up man
posted by Flashman at 8:01 PM on April 18, 2010


That's nothing
posted by Bonzai at 8:10 PM on April 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


That's nothing

If only! However, I would pay (a small amount, mind you) to actually see elderly couples dancing to a bluegrass orchestra rendition of "Sister Ray".
posted by Burhanistan at 8:18 PM on April 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


From Wikipedia:
Following airplay of the single, President Richard Nixon labeled Brewer & Shipley public miscreants. In retaliation, they referred to Nixon by name in their song, "Oh Mommy," (from Tarkio).

Oddly, the song was performed on The Lawrence Welk Show, a television program known for its conservative, family-oriented bent, by a duo known as "Gail and Dale." At the conclusion of the performance of the song, Welk remarked, without any hint of humor, "There you've heard a modern spiritual by Gail and Dale."

This led Michael Brewer to comment:
The Vice President of the United States, Spiro Agnew, named us personally as a subversive to American youth, but at exactly the same time Lawrence Welk performed the crazy thing and introduced it as a gospel song. That shows how absurd it really is. Of course, we got more publicity than we could have paid for.
posted by delmoi at 8:18 PM on April 18, 2010


Wow, between this and the Andy Kaufman post, this is surreal night, isn't it?
posted by Doohickie at 8:26 PM on April 18, 2010


words can be funny when they mean different things now then they used to.

Yeah. Than were the days.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 8:41 PM on April 18, 2010 [5 favorites]


That's nothing

If only! However, I would pay (a small amount, mind you) to actually see elderly couples dancing to a bluegrass orchestra rendition of "Sister Ray".
posted by Burhanistan at 11:18 PM on April 18 [+] [!]


I...ow.

Where can I get the rest of the record?
posted by toodleydoodley at 8:46 PM on April 18, 2010


One toke, you poor fool. Wait until you see those goddamn bubbles...
posted by The Mysterious Mr. F at 8:48 PM on April 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


I want to know what Dale's left arm and hand are doing during the video.
posted by charlie don't surf at 9:14 PM on April 18, 2010


Geritol, it's my wife and it's my life ...
posted by mazola at 9:19 PM on April 18, 2010 [5 favorites]


Introduced by accordion genius Myron Floren no less!
posted by squalor at 9:27 PM on April 18, 2010


It's not quite at the level of surreal fucked-up-ness as the Lennon Sisters' "Unchained Melody," but it's somethin'.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:43 PM on April 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


"Don't you cats know that Polka-jazz is strictly from 'squares-ville'?"
posted by mazola at 9:50 PM on April 18, 2010 [6 favorites]


I actually really, unironically, like Gail's voice. And outfit.
posted by drjimmy11 at 9:52 PM on April 18, 2010


Gail and Dale look just like these folks...
posted by warbaby at 9:56 PM on April 18, 2010


"Don't you cats know that Polka-jazz is strictly from 'squares-ville'?"

... which brings us to the likes of THIS via the magic inherent in the random chasing of Youtube side-links.
posted by philip-random at 10:02 PM on April 18, 2010


and then this.






I'll stop now.
posted by philip-random at 10:05 PM on April 18, 2010


And here I thought this was going to have something to do with his big record of 1928, Spiked Beer.
posted by aquafortis at 10:12 PM on April 18, 2010


I guess the unanswered question I have is whether they a) had no idea what "toke" meant and knew nobody who could, or would, tell them, or b) they believed it was the "toke" that made the guy renounce his life of drugs and seek Salvation. I have a hard time believing that b) would pass FCC muster in those days, but stranger things have happened. But if a), what the hell did they think it meant?
posted by dhartung at 10:39 PM on April 18, 2010


Man, I watched a lot of Lawrence Welk in high school. My parents were fascinated by it and it was on PBS every Saturday night - it really hits that sweet spot between unironic enjoyment and absolutely unselfconscious horror.
posted by OverlappingElvis at 10:49 PM on April 18, 2010


what happened America?

can't we mix the tea baggers with the tea baggers, and jesus and weed?
man oh man we'd be so much better off.

CALLING ALL LION HEARTED CHRISTIAN MEN.
posted by artof.mulata at 10:57 PM on April 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


You mean, like this?
posted by philip-random at 11:10 PM on April 18, 2010


Gail Farrell Yahoo Group
This is a family-friendly group: NO SPAM, NO NUDITY, OR ANY TYPE OF VULGARITY AS ALLOWED! Any breach of that is subject to immediate dismissal.
posted by stbalbach at 11:19 PM on April 18, 2010


I have a hard time believing that b) would pass FCC muster in those days

I'm not sure about the FCC, but probably whoever was tasked to look for these things took a nap during Lawrence Welk, because he's unlikely to say any of the seven words you can't say on television or feature nude musical numbers. Now I'm not so sure ...
posted by krinklyfig at 11:33 PM on April 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure about the FCC, but probably whoever was tasked to look for these things took a nap during Lawrence Welk

The world was analogue in those days. A whole lot of stuff got past the brain police that simply wouldn't today. But today, of course, there's exponentially more STUFF, so it kind of evens out.
posted by philip-random at 11:47 PM on April 18, 2010


words can be funny when they mean different things now then they used to

Yeah, no. This song has always been about getting lit up. The wholesome Christian Americans performing this for the wholesome American Lawrence Welk show have no fucking clue what they got themselves into. Which is, I assume, the point of this post. To point and laugh and their painful lack of awareness.

Not sure what you thought was going on here, but that's the crux of it.
posted by cj_ at 1:11 AM on April 19, 2010


I have a hard time believing that b) would pass FCC muster in those days

"One Toke" is hardly Sniff Swig Puff...
posted by aquafortis at 1:18 AM on April 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


Well, DUH! Welk was a musician, right? And of course accordian bellows are a fantastic place to keep a stash.

What do you suppose sweet Jesus meant? Sage? I'm guessing the 'bubble machine' had at least 4 hoses coming out of it. More when Merle Haggard was a guest!
posted by Twang at 1:30 AM on April 19, 2010


Am I the only one freaking out that it's actually Dick Dale singing that song, I had no idea he did this sort of thing... Although, Wikipedia tells me they performed as a duet on this show several times, sadly this is the first I've heard of Lawrence Welk :(
posted by ACair at 1:33 AM on April 19, 2010


I guess the unanswered question I have is whether they a) had no idea what "toke" meant and knew nobody who could, or would, tell them, or b) they believed it was the "toke" that made the guy renounce his life of drugs and seek Salvation. I have a hard time believing that b) would pass FCC muster in those days, but stranger things have happened. But if a), what the hell did they think it meant?

Huh? this was shown on broadcast TV, as far as I know.
posted by delmoi at 2:11 AM on April 19, 2010


The wholesome Christian Americans performing this for the wholesome American Lawrence Welk show have no fucking clue what they got themselves into. Which is, I assume, the point of this post. To point and laugh and their painful lack of awareness.

Says you cj_. I think they knew exactly what they were doing. It's all part of the conspiracy.

I used to like this song. Made me think about getting high. Good times. Traveling.

Now this wholesome Christian image will be stuck in my head every time I hear it.

The CHRISTIANS HAVE RUINED IT FOREVER.
posted by three blind mice at 2:14 AM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


[Via]
posted by benzenedream at 2:35 AM on April 19, 2010


Am I the only one freaking out that it's actually Dick Dale singing that song...

Not the Dick Dale we're looking for, apparently.

Now, I want you to throw the computer into the bathtub when it gets to the part where Myron Floren bites his own head off. Just tell them I wanted to get higher.
posted by Kinbote at 2:42 AM on April 19, 2010


Get your mind out of the gutter. Next you will be saying "With a Little h\Help form My Friends", is a drug song too.

Maybe I'm naive, but isn't this a song about friends? Just because it mentions drugs doesn't make it "about" drugs.
posted by DU at 3:23 AM on April 19, 2010


Two
_________
posted by gman at 4:33 AM on April 19, 2010


Am I the only one freaking out that it's actually Dick Dale singing that song...

OMG, you are right. I didn't hear that, the guy announced it like "and now Dale from Algona, Iowa and Gail.." These people are so repressed, they can't even say the word "Dick" when it's someone's name.

I had to listen again and check Dick Dale's bio, yep, that's him. I suspect he was the one who slipped this past Lawrence and got it on the show.

posted by charlie don't surf at 4:59 AM on April 19, 2010


it really hits that sweet spot between unironic enjoyment and absolutely unselfconscious horror.

And it has a tapdancing xylophonist.
posted by orange swan at 5:24 AM on April 19, 2010


Am I the only one freaking out that it's actually Dick Dale singing that song...

You're not confusing this Dick Dale with that Dick Dale, are you?
posted by JanetLand at 5:29 AM on April 19, 2010


It's a different Dick Dale.
posted by ericost at 5:34 AM on April 19, 2010


Doh.
posted by ericost at 5:34 AM on April 19, 2010


Well that's a huge relief. I just couldn't imagine Dick Dale singing rather than shredding.
posted by charlie don't surf at 5:52 AM on April 19, 2010


Lawrence Welk is still on the local PBS station, every Saturday night at 7:00 PM. Even during pledge weeks, nothing preempts Lawrence Welk.
posted by tommasz at 6:32 AM on April 19, 2010


This song has always been about getting lit up. The wholesome Christian Americans performing this for the wholesome American Lawrence Welk show have no fucking clue what they got themselves into

I have to admit that when this song hit the air waves, I thought the lyrics were "One TOE over the line, sweet Jesus..." I was 13.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:44 AM on April 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


Is whichever Dick Dale this is Joel Olsteen's father?
posted by juiceCake at 6:46 AM on April 19, 2010


if a), what the hell did they think it meant?

Well, based on a long history of making up perfectly cromulent words for necessary occasions, if I had to define "toke" with no connection whatsoever to drugs, I think I'd define it as a miniscule step, the smallest possible length. Similar to a smidgen, but more specifically regarding distance. Probably adapted in the vernacular from "token."

So the singer has crossed the line to the smallest extent possible, but thanks to Jesus, has immediately realized that the line has been crossed, and is sitting in the railway station waiting for the train to take him home, back to his hearth and roots, where he can reconnect with all things good and wholesome and no longer be over the line, even by a single toke.

See? I can totally imagine Welk looking over the production sheets for next weeks show, asking, "what's a 'toke?'" and having it explained in a way that he'd buy.
posted by Naberius at 7:22 AM on April 19, 2010


You're not confusing this Dick Dale with that Dick Dale, are you?

But the world would be so much more interesting a place if they were one and the same.
posted by philip-random at 8:50 AM on April 19, 2010


So do we think Dale and Gale put one over on Lawrence Welk, or did someone put one over on Dale and Gale?
posted by mreleganza at 10:29 AM on April 19, 2010


The really funny thing about Lawrence Welk is that PBS continues to run it. In San Antonio, it's sponsored by the city's biggest funeral home.
posted by Partario at 10:33 AM on April 19, 2010


I have to admit that when this song hit the air waves, I thought the lyrics were "One TOE over the line, sweet Jesus..." I was 13.

I heard the exact same thing growing up. I thought it was about a man on the edge of the platform, waiting to throw himself in front of a train. It made sense to me: "going home," talking about Jesus, hoping it's on time.
posted by Sibrax at 10:53 AM on April 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


In San Antonio, it's sponsored by the city's biggest funeral home.

Coincidences? I think not.
posted by Doohickie at 2:15 PM on April 19, 2010


Actually, only one coincidence.
posted by Doohickie at 2:16 PM on April 19, 2010


Another time Berle sat down next to George Burns, who was polluting the atmosphere at the table with one of his cheap stogies. According to Berle, Burns smokes a cheap brand because he gets them for nothing from the Consolidated Cigar Company for whom he works.

Unable to stand the odor any longer, Berle turned to Burns. "You must be smoking one of those Lawrence Welk cigars."

"What's a Lawrence Welk cigar?" asked Burns, reverting to his days as Gracie Allen's straight man.

"A piece of shit with a band around it!" quipped Uncle Miltie.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 3:20 PM on April 19, 2010 [4 favorites]


Cue "cool story, bro" story:

Time: 1981-2. Place: Rolla, MO; specifically, University of Missouri--Rolla (now MSIT, or something like that - they've changed the fucking name twi... sorry, back to the story)

I'm a senior EE student. My roommate is a soph... and a born electronics junkie, who has been the engineer for a local nonprofit radio station since early teens. Now, his student job is running the A/V dept of UMR. He manages one employee: Tom Shipley.

Every chance he gets, my roommate tells the story of how, every chance he gets, Tom Shipley tells the story of how he used to be 1/2 of the musical group Brewer and Shipley. They were BIG. Money coming in everywhere.

Tom's only problem? A bitch wife. "Dear Mr. Lawyer," Tom says, "Please make her go away."

"Mr. Rock Star, don't you know that would cost a lot? If we fight, maybe we can get it reduced to..."

"No, not later, now! I can't stand her anymore!"

"OK, Mr. Rock Star." Exit Mr. Lawyer. Exit Mrs. Shipley. Exit almost all of Mr. Shipley's new money.

"No problem," says Tom, "Don't let the door hit you greenbacks on the butt as you leave! I'll just make more with my next hit..."

Brewer and Shipley never have another hit.

Tom ends up a broke stoner ex-One Hit Wonder, working for a teenager.

Glad to see he got a promotion, somewhere in the last 25 years.
posted by IAmBroom at 8:12 PM on April 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


Forgot to mention: the song was written about a day that Tom (& maybe Brewer; don't know for sure) was sitting in a S. MO town, waiting for a train. Some local rednecks decided to fuck with the hippie, who was... you guessed it... so he couldn't even run away. Beaten to a pulp, but got a good song out of it.

Might have been Sikeston, Charleston, or Perryville, MO. Not sure; we drove through it once.

(Also, UMR's new name is apparently Missouri University of Science and Technology, which for some reason they abbreviate as MST, not MUST. Sucks when your alma mater no longer even exists...)
posted by IAmBroom at 8:21 PM on April 19, 2010


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