When I was growing up, television didn’t offer the potpourri of channels it does today. Our black and white television came with rabbit ears, just three channels, and I was only allowed to watch television for two hours a week. At my mother’s request, I devoted one of my hours to watching the The Lawrence Welk show on Saturday nights.
As we sat in front of the television set, dressed in our pajamas, my mother, a dance teacher, would exclaim, “The show is fabulous! Just look at Bobby and Sissy glide across that dance floor!” As bubbles floated around Lawrence Welk’s head, the sound of a champagne cork being popped signaled the start of the show. For the next hour, we were transported through song after song—dance after dance—as Lawrence Welk clasped his baton and directed his orchestra with, “Ah-one, ah-two!”
Musical variety shows were big in the 1960s and no one considered Myron Floren a nerd because he played the accordion. No one ever asked why Joe Finney sang like a soprano but quite frankly, I thought someone had given him a wedgie just before he went out on stage. Week after week, I tried to figure out how tap dancer Arthur Duncan managed to make his body look like an “X” while the audience consisting mainly of women and men over the age of eighty who were barely able to get out of their chairs without a forklift or a crane, clapped wildly.
One night while watching The Lawrence Welk show, I had an epiphany. My mother had asked me to choose an instrument to begin playing in fourth grade, and when I saw the entire Lawrence Welk orchestra forced to stand up during every song except for one lucky lady, I knew I had found my instrument.
After we went downtown to purchase my new cello, it was too late when I suddenly realized that my cello weighed more than I did and, as a result, I would be spending the next ten years hauling around an instrument that resembled a dead body in a coffin.
When I found this wunnerful, wunnerful video recently, it made me laugh so hard, I had to share it. Enjoy this performance by “The Lennon Sisters.”