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The days of Lawrence and roses


Last updated 3/17/2010 at Noon

There was a time many years ago when Milton Berle died.

I talked to some of his fans, and they told me all about the Golden Age of Television.

One woman said she and her husband frequently dressed up just to watch Lawrence Welk, martinis in hand.

I wasn’t dressed up Saturday night when I saw Lawrence. I didn’t even have a drink. Well at that point anyway. What I did have was a sense of family shows that have gone by.

These days, the Welk show is in the wasteland. It’s pretty much just not there, except on PBS or whatever your parents have hanging around.

Back in the ‘50s, Lawrence played accordion, danced a bit. I think he did some polkas. The shows I remember from 1971, he stood still – baton in hand and band behind him.

I’m told Lawrence was a pretty stern task-master. One would think of James Brown cussing out his band. Or Glenn Miller. Many don’t know of Glenn’s temper. They remember his warm, soothing Big Band voice on the radio, but apparently he could get ornery.

You’d have never seen Lawrence do it at the Rose Parade, but I wonder what he would sound like cussing out an orchestra member?

“God-dangit-ah, Charlie-ah !!! You son-of-a-gun-ah, get the heck-ah out of my band-ah !!! And now-ah, a word from Geritol-ah.”

If there was ever a show that made the King Family Singers look like the Beatles, it would be Lawrence Welk.

In the programs I remember as a kid, Lawrence seemed quite wooden. He had gone to the Ed Sullivan School of Not Moving.

And he learned from the best. (Ed was actually legally dead for two years before he got canceled).

The truth, ladies and gentlemen, is that Lawrence was secretly cool.

The program I saw, they had that Bobby guy, the Mouseketeer dude, and his dancing partner Sissy.

Now here are some folks that could have gone anywhere they wanted. They were very talented and chose to go with Lawrence.

I guess he couldn’t have been too much of a grouch, they stayed with him a very long time. The dancing was superb.

For the youngsters, as Ed would say, they featured some guy with a Bobby Goldsboro haircut, sitting amongst farm equipment singing Ray Stevens’ “Everything is Beautiful.”

But you kind of knew that going into it. Not a show where you’d hear Barry McGuire’s “Eve of Destruction.”

But there was an episode, the one I mentioned at the start.

Where you see, Lawrence was “getting down.”

He was dancing.

And if you’d looked your eyes up for five seconds to think about Geritol, you’d have missed it.

So what am I saying? That they need to bring back these family shows?

I don’t think so, because sadly they just wouldn’t work in our world today.

The planet and its television producers are just too crazy for anything good right now.

So please join me in missing Lawrence, Ed and Milton.

They will never be here again.



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