Watch Saturday, June 11, 2016 at 4pm on WMHT-TV
LAWRENCE WELK’S TV TREASURES, the first comprehensive documentary about the legendary television series “The Lawrence Welk Show,” features rarely seen footage from more than 50 years of the longest-running series on national television and outstanding never-before-seen archival performances by members of the Welk Musical Family, starting with the earliest days of the show.
Fourteen members of the Welk Musical Family are interviewed for the special: Ava Barber, Bobby Burgess, Jo Ann Castle, Dick Dale, Ken Delo, Arthur Duncan, Ralna English, Guy Hovis, Jack Imel, Dee Dee and Janet Lennon, Mary Lou Metzger, Rocky Rockwell and Norma Zimmer, who describe how the weekly show was produced. In addition, costume designer Rose Weiss and Larry Welk, Lawrence Welk’s son, discuss the early days of the show and how it evolved from a “band” showcase into a full-fledged weekly series.
LAWRENCE WELK’S TV TREASURES describes the origins of the show’s remarkable 27-year run (1955 to 1982) on national commercial television. The special highlights the “overnight” popularity of “The Lawrence Welk Show” and the public’s fascination with the Welk stars. At one time, they were the darlings of the fan magazine world, along with Elizabeth Taylor, Jackie Kennedy and the Beatles. Various performers discuss love and marriage within the Welk Musical Family and laugh about the “soap opera” aspect of the show.
Producer/director Jim Hobson, who worked on the show for 27 years, explains how the show was produced, from concept to broadcast, each week. Marimba-playing Jack Imel, a member of the Welk Musical Family, also served as associate producer of the series and discusses ABC’s decision to cancel the series and Welk’s quick and successful move into national syndication.
The program features a special segment on the humor and hi-jinks of “The Lawrence Welk Show,” including a tongue-in-cheek “champagne music” version of the “Counter-Revolution Polka.” Excerpts from dozens of musical numbers includesome from the shows shot in places like Pacific Ocean Park, the Aragon Ballroom and Escondido, California. The Lennon Sisters are shown singing on a ferris wheel ... Tom Netherton sings from the Goodyear Blimp ... and the entire cast is seen around the pool of the Welk Resort in the first color show in 1965.
The special includes segments from the premiere on July 2, 1955, to the last syndicated show on commercial television. Many of the clips mark major milestones, including the 500th show, taped in 1965, which featured a guest appearance by all four Lennon Sisters and their seven siblings.