On-Air Highlights

Moments and Memories with Welk

Written by Fred Vigeant, Director of Programming and Promotions for TV and Radio | Nov 23, 2013 4:06 PM
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Nine stars of the Lawrence Welk Musical Family are reunited to host a three-hour Lawrence Welk Holiday Special featuring great moments and memories spanning 30 years of his Christmas holiday shows.

GREAT MOMENTS AND MEMORIES: THE LAWRENCE WELK HOLIDAY SPECIAL

This special highlights some of the most unforgettable and entertaining segments chosen from Welk Christmas holiday programs over the years.  The program will be available to stations subscribing to the weekly Welk series. The special designed to air during public televisions’ December pledge drive and is hosted by Myron Floren, Norma Zimmer, Jo Ann Castle, Bobby Burgess, Mary Lou Metzger, Ken Delo, Sandi Griffiths, Gail Farrell and Ron Anderson and special guest host, Bob Allen, Executive Producer of the special.

Myron Floren opens the show with warm reminiscences of his long association with Lawrence Welk and an upbeat rendition of “Sleigh Ride,” with a dynamic accordion solo.  He recalls how the Welk performers were featured with their children, including his performance of “The Happy Wanderer” with his daughter, Heidi.

Floren’s son-in-law and Welk star, Bobby Burgess, recalls meeting Myron’s daughter, Kristie, on a Christmas show when she was just 9 years old.  News of their marriage years later and the births of their children were always celebrated on the programs and made the audience feel as if they were part of the Welk family of stars.  One of the numbers chosen is from the 1981 Christmas show: Becky Burgess dances with her father, Bobby, accompanied by her grandfather, Myron Floren.

Jo Ann Castle is featured in Part II, remembering the fun-filled early black-and-white days of the Welk show.  The 1963 Christmas show is one of her favorites and features a Dixieland version of “O Tannenbaum” performed by the band, “Let it Snow” by Bob Lido and Frank Scott, and “Holy City” sung by Irish tenor Joe Feeney.  Jo Ann is seen at her boogie-woogie best in three piano solos:  “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”  “Frosty the Snowman” and “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.”

Part III stars Sandi Griffiths and Ken Delo, looking back on the talented children of the Welk performers and band members, who were always a part of the Christmas Programs.  A series of show excerpts trace the musical growth of the children and Joe Feeney and Bob Ralston as well as the Griffiths and Delo families.

Mary Lou Metzger, Gail Farrell and Ron Anderson take over for Part IV.  Mary Lou introduces a program montage of Lawrence Welk’s most memorable moments from the holiday shows including segments with his own grandchildren.  Mary Lou and Gail remind one another of their adventures as newcomers to the Welk Show, and enjoy seeing their early 1970’s version of “Little Susie Snowflake” again.  Ron and Gail remember the 1985 Christmas Reunion and the laryngitis suffered by fellow trio member, Michael Redmond, as they sing “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”.

Part V is hosted by the Champagne Lady, Norma Zimmer.  She sings “The Night Before Christmas” with her handsome teenage sons in a segment from 1969, “White Christmas” and “Ava Maria”.  Norma closes with a special reading of the Christmas Story, and a 1969 Christmas message from Mr. Welk ends the program.

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