Posted On January 8, 2009

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My mother liked to go dancing at the Aragon (or Trianon—never can remember which) Ballroom in Chicago. The “orchestra”, as she called it, was led by Lawrence Welk. The name didn’t mean a thing. She and her Minneapolis cousins commented that the musicians played out of tune.

We always watched the Lawrence Welk show when I was a kid. It was almost mandatory. Nobody cared too much for it but we watched anyway. I liked the early black and white episodes which are weldom rerun. Those were spontaneous, fun, and at times, artistic. With the introduction of color, the camera work got stiff and stilted. And the men started wearing those matching puke colored sports jackets with white trousers.

Our family ahd connections to the Irish tenor and a guitar player. Lawrence had a familiar demeanor, that of a local farmers’ club emcee. Stiff, proper, and with his accent, quite folksy. I didn’t realize he had an accent. Although my family was Scandinavian not German, talking sort of funny was normal.

I used to watch the dancing and assign neighbors’ names to the audience members. I’d say, “There’s Ann dancing with Mr. So-and-So”. That was great fun and so were the Geritol and Sominex commercials.

The Lawrence Welk show was a gem. Corny, hokey, wholesome, it united an entire generation or two or three. But to tell the truth, I don’t miss it.


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