Ah One, Ana Two: Happy Birthday Lawrence Welk!

 

File:Lawrence Welk Billboard.jpgAmerican orchestra leader Lawrence Welk was born one hundred twenty-one years ago, on March 11, 1903, the son of German immigrants from Odessa, in what is now Ukraine. Welk’s Wikipedia page tells the story of the family’s first winter, living in an overturned wagon buried in earth, and of young Lawrence’s leaving school in the fourth grade to help on the family’s small farm. (“but, But, BUT!!” I hear you shout. “Young people have never had it so hard as does the current generation!!” Amirite?)

Welk made a deal with his father, to the effect that if Ludwig Welk would buy him an accordion, he–Lawrence–would work on the family farm until he was 21, and that any money he made from his musical performances would, before that milestone, go to the family. He kept his word.

He then hit the road, and for the next fifteen or so years, played with various bands and orchestras, before forming his own orchestra and enjoying a successful run on a North Dakota radio station.

His music might, today, be considered “elevator music,” with a lightness of touch that was quite different from some of the more raw forms of jazz from contemporary artists; in fact, the phrase most closely associated with Welk was coined after a performance at the William Penn Hotel in Pittsburgh (it’s now owned by a conglomerate, but I’ve been there many times over the past fifty years. Lovely, elegant place), when one of his dancers referred to his music as “light and bubbly as champagne.” Welk himself said, of the “champagne music” moniker:

We still play music with the champagne style, which means light and rhythmic. We place the stress on melody; the chords are played pretty much the way the composer wrote them. We play with a steady beat so dancers can follow it–Bob Thomas, Ellensburg Daily Record

Welk’s success as an orchestra leader continued to grow throughout the thirties, forties and fifties, and in 1953 he was engaged to finalize an accordion course at the US School of Music in New York City. It’s described in Wikipedia as “the oldest home study music school chartered by the Board of Regents in New York State with a total worldwide enrollment of over one million students.” This reminded me (upcoming personal story) of Hemy’s Royal Modern Tutor for the Pianoforte, which must have been something similar for the piano, starting with “five finger exercises,” and progressing from there. I struggled at home with it for several years myself. But–by gum–by the end of my studies, I could bang out Rule, Britannia (IIRC, it was on the last page) with the best of them!)

By then, Welk had been engaged to host The Lawrence Welk Show on a Los Angeles TV station. A few years later, the program was picked up by NBC, where it ran with original programming until 1971, and then in syndication for several more years.

My family discovered the show shortly after we arrived in the States in October of 1963. I was a little over nine years old, and we’d never owned a television set, but we picked up a thirteen inch black-and-white one not long after we got here. I know we must have obtained it before November 22, 1963, because I remember being deeply aggrieved that a local celebrity, Bozo the Clown, lost out his own show to Walter Cronkite, the afternoon that JFK was assassinated.

Mum loved Lawrence Welk, and we tuned in every week. (She wasn’t bereft of a bit of cynicism at all the schlock that went along with his persona, nor at that of his value as “old lady bait”; in much the same way as she always watched Guy Lombardo’s New Year’s Eve program, while never referring to him as anything other than “Guy Lumbago.”)

And–my goodness–what schlock it was, all the way from the opening “champagne” bubbles, to the performers, to Welk’s regular “wunnerful, wunnerful,” (he didn’t learn to speak English until his early twenties, and retained a lifelong strong accent) after each performance.

It was a different time. And (in spite of what you often hear), most of it was a kinder, gentler time. I sometimes wish we could go back and fix just the parts that were broken, and keep the rest.

From March 11, 1983:

Lawrence Welk died of pneumonia at the age of 89 on May 17, 1992. He was survived by his wife of sixty-one years, three children, and numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Thanks for the memories. (To muddle things a bit.)

Rest in peace.

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  1. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    She: By then, Welk had been engaged to host The Lawrence Welk Show on a Los Angeles TV station. A few years later, the program was picked up by NBC, where it ran with original programming until 1971, and then in syndication for several more years.

    Welk’s four week gig on Lick Pier at the Aragon Ballroom in Ocean Park lasted ten years.

    Dad and Grandpap were touring a local hardware store hawking television sets when Dad was a boy. Lawrence Welk was on the air. One of his trombone players was working the slide with his foot. Grandpap bought a set on the spot; he had no idea how educational TV could be.

    • #1
  2. Lunchbox Gerald Coolidge
    Lunchbox Gerald
    @Jose

    Once when my Uncle & Aunt were visiting they were watching LW, as they always did.  His band started playing This Old House and my bratty cousin exclaimed “they play this song on every show!”  I knew that was an exaggeration but not by much.  At least it seemed to me.

    • #2
  3. She Member
    She
    @She

    Lunchbox Gerald (View Comment):

    Once when my Uncle & Aunt were visiting they were watching LW, as they always did. His band started playing This Old House and my bratty cousin exclaimed “they play this song on every show!” I knew that was an exaggeration but not by much. At least it seemed to me.

    Oh, that’s lovely.

    Many years ago, I wrote a post about “This Old House,” (I’m imagining your surprise) but not the Lawrence Welk version, which–if I’d known about it–I might have included.

    Happy to report that my old house, and its increasingly elderly occupant, are still on their respective feet.

    • #3
  4. Old Bathos Member
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    Wunerful, wunerful…

    • #4
  5. She Member
    She
    @She

    This article speaks to some of the History and Hollywood connections at Pittsburgh’s William Penn Hotel.  From it:

    One of the most surprising things I’ve learned was that a very young Lawrence Welk made his orchestral debut on New Year’s Eve 1938 at the William Penn Hotel in Pittsburgh (a place with which I am intimately familiar). This hotel is currently owned by Omni, but remains the city’s Grand Dame, serving up one of the best brunches in town, hosting a daily high tea, and offering old-school door service by a lanky man in tuxedo and top hat. Time has sort of stood still for this hotel. Fittingly, the William Penn is where the phrase “Champagne Music” was coined to describe Welk’s sparkly music and ultimately came to define his style. Listening to Welk’s orchestra was like sipping the bubbly! Also, it was here the concept of the “champagne lady” took shape. The leading (singing and dancing) lady, so to speak, of which there were eight through the ages.

    One can tour the William Penn and see display cases of artifacts, including the famous “bubble machine” invented by a William Penn Hotel engineer for Cecil B. Demille’s 1947 premiere of “Unconquered,” filmed in Pittsburgh. The bubble machine was soon made famous on the “Lawrence Welk Show.”

    I’ve had many memorable moments at the William Penn, from high tea with my late mother-in-law (on numerous occasions), to Japanese weekend brunches when it was–at some point–owned by a Japanese company.  These days it’s owned by something called “Omni” which alleges that it’s a private US corporation.

    I’ve never seen the bubble machine though.  Perhaps it’s time to investigate.

     

    • #5
  6. MoFarmer Coolidge
    MoFarmer
    @mofarmer

    “fix……….and keep the rest” Amen to that!

    • #6
  7. OldPhil Coolidge
    OldPhil
    @OldPhil

    My Grandma Grady loved Lawrence Welk.

    • #7
  8. Richard Easton Coolidge
    Richard Easton
    @RichardEaston

    My trombone teacher said that Welk’s musicians were talented.

    • #8
  9. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Richard Easton (View Comment):

    My trombone teacher said that Welk’s musicians were talented.

    They were all pretty good.

    • #9
  10. Al Sparks Coolidge
    Al Sparks
    @AlSparks

    I recognize the character he had in coming from a modest childhood, I can see the skill of the performers who worked for him, and the hard work they put into perfecting their craft.

    But there is a reason he’s not remembered the way a Harry James, Cab Calloway, Benny Goodman were.  Those were his contemporaries.

    He drained every bit of sexual innuendo out of songs that were meant to have it.  His performers were skilled, but they didn’t have talent, at least not where it counted.

    I don’t begrudge him his fans, I’m glad a man of such upright character was successful.  But I’m still not a fan, despite all that.

    • #10
  11. James Lileks Contributor
    James Lileks
    @jameslileks

    Al Sparks (View Comment):

    I recognize the character he had in coming from a modest childhood, I can see the skill of the performers who worked for him, and the hard work they put into perfecting their craft.

    But there is a reason he’s not remembered the way a Harry James, Cab Calloway, Benny Goodman were. Those were his contemporaries.

    He drained every bit of sexual innuendo out of songs that were meant to have it. His performers were skilled, but they didn’t have talent, at least not where it counted.

    I don’t begrudge him his fans, I’m glad a man of such upright character was successful. But I’m still not a fan, despite all that.

    Agreed. The show I remember seeing at the Farm, where Grandpa was a regular fan,  was safe, anodyne, denatured, old-folk anesthetic. And that’s fine. He was in his 80s, and it reminded him of yesteryear. 

    • #11
  12. Jim Kearney Member
    Jim Kearney
    @JimKearney

    The Welk Wiki is suprisingly informative. The Welk show pulled its weight on some PBS stations, e.g. the one in Oklahoma which took charge of its syndicated afterlife.

    I remember noticing the Welk shows airing in prime time on the Orange County PBS station. How does this align with the PBS mission? I wondered.

    Now I’d formerly worked in the membership department of WNET-13, New York. (That station had its DNA in the PBS origin story: National Educational Television.) Once when I was working there in the mid-1970s, the local commercial broadcasters had all passed on a big NHL playoff game. Thirteen — in a rare moment of populist wisdom —  decided to air it. We scrambled to assemble a platoon of volunteers to person the phones because as hockey fans know, there are two huge breaks between the three periods. Perfect for fundraising!

    The phones were swamped. Some of the calls came from bars in Queens where the hat was passed for odd sums of contributions. The results compared favorably, on a per-minute basis, with some of our top shows during the normally scheduled drives. Alas, the moment came and went. Our prime zips on the Upper West Side were more reliable. But moments like that were not unknown in the PBS system, and they were noticed.

    TJ Lubinsky, from the Pittsburgh affiliate, has made a career out of PBS using rock and doo-[REDACTED] nostalgia to milk bucks from boomers. He came along just in time, because at least half of our generation is understandably skeptical of today’s public broadcasting as a deserving form of “investment.”

    I often wonder why the conservatively inclined haven’t developed secular non-profits to counterpoint NPR and PBS. Maybe the answer is we couldn’t agree on the content. Some of us would want jazz and string quartets, others would lean into Larry Welk. 

    De gustibus non est disputandum.

    • #12
  13. She Member
    She
    @She

    Jim Kearney (View Comment):

    The Welk Wiki is suprisingly informative. The Welk show pulled its weight on some PBS stations, e.g. the one in Oklahoma which took charge of its syndicated afterlife.

    I remember noticing the Welk shows airing in prime time on the Orange County PBS station. How does this align with the PBS mission? I wondered.

    Now I’d formerly worked in the membership department of WNET-13, New York. (That station had its DNA in the PBS origin story: National Educational Television.) Once when I was working there in the mid-1970s, the local commercial broadcasters had all passed on a big NHL playoff game. Thirteen — in a rare moment of populist wisdom — decided to air it. We scrambled to assemble a platoon of volunteers to person the phones because as hockey fans know, there are two huge breaks between the three periods. Perfect for fundraising!

    The phones were swamped. Some of the calls came from bars in Queens where the hat was passed for odd sums of contributions. The results compared favorably, on a per-minute basis, with some of our top shows during the normally scheduled drives. Alas, the moment came and went. Our prime zips on the Upper West Side were more reliable. But moments like that were not unknown in the PBS system, and they were noticed.

    TJ Lubinsky, from the Pittsburgh affiliate, has made a career out of PBS using rock and doo-[REDACTED] nostalgia to milk bucks from boomers. He came along just in time, because at least half of our generation is understandably skeptical of today’s public broadcasting as a deserving form of “investment.”

    I often wonder why the conservatively inclined haven’t developed secular non-profits to counterpoint NPR and PBS. Maybe the answer is we couldn’t agree on the content. Some of us would want jazz and string quartets, others would lean into Larry Welk.

    De gustibus non est disputandum.

    Wonderful story.  Thanks for sharing.

    For me, the do-[REDACTED] stuff is repetitive, tiresome, and seemingly endless.  I’d far rather have the binge nights they used to do of things like Downton Abbey, The Pallisers and Upstairs Downstairs.  (Is the filter automatically readacting “[REDACTED]?”  I guess we’ll find out.)

    Update: 🤣🤣🤣 Ah, the law of unintended consequences.  An entire genre of the African-American musical experience may not even be called by its proper name on this site.  I won’t even go there.

    • #13
  14. She Member
    She
    @She

    She (View Comment):

    Jim Kearney (View Comment):

    The Welk Wiki is suprisingly informative. The Welk show pulled its weight on some PBS stations, e.g. the one in Oklahoma which took charge of its syndicated afterlife.

    I remember noticing the Welk shows airing in prime time on the Orange County PBS station. How does this align with the PBS mission? I wondered.

    Now I’d formerly worked in the membership department of WNET-13, New York. (That station had its DNA in the PBS origin story: National Educational Television.) Once when I was working there in the mid-1970s, the local commercial broadcasters had all passed on a big NHL playoff game. Thirteen — in a rare moment of populist wisdom — decided to air it. We scrambled to assemble a platoon of volunteers to person the phones because as hockey fans know, there are two huge breaks between the three periods. Perfect for fundraising!

    The phones were swamped. Some of the calls came from bars in Queens where the hat was passed for odd sums of contributions. The results compared favorably, on a per-minute basis, with some of our top shows during the normally scheduled drives. Alas, the moment came and went. Our prime zips on the Upper West Side were more reliable. But moments like that were not unknown in the PBS system, and they were noticed.

    TJ Lubinsky, from the Pittsburgh affiliate, has made a career out of PBS using rock and doo-[REDACTED] nostalgia to milk bucks from boomers. He came along just in time, because at least half of our generation is understandably skeptical of today’s public broadcasting as a deserving form of “investment.”

    I often wonder why the conservatively inclined haven’t developed secular non-profits to counterpoint NPR and PBS. Maybe the answer is we couldn’t agree on the content. Some of us would want jazz and string quartets, others would lean into Larry Welk.

    De gustibus non est disputandum.

    Wonderful story. Thanks for sharing.

    For me, the do-[REDACTED] stuff is repetitive, tiresome, and seemingly endless. I’d far rather have the binge nights they used to do of things like Downton Abbey, The Pallisers and Upstairs Downstairs. (Is the filter automatically readacting “[REDACTED]?” I guess we’ll find out.)

    Update: 🤣🤣🤣 Ah, the law of unintended consequences. An entire genre of the African-American musical experience may not even be called by its proper name on this site. I won’t even go there.

    Further update:  About 20 years ago, my network guy at Washington Hospital came to me and said that the Cisco Engineer had sent him an email with an important attachment, but that he (network guy) had never received it.  Repeated sendings didn’t solve the problem.  So I dived (dove?) into the bowels of the email filtering system, and discovered that the engineer’s first name contained string of letters that played out unfortunately in English, and which were triggering the filter and throwing his email into the dumpster.  I’ll never forget his name.  “Hams**t.”  LOL)

     

    • #14
  15. Brian Wyneken Member
    Brian Wyneken
    @BrianWyneken

    Just as others have commented, I remember his TV show from watching at Grandma’s after our Sunday dinner visits. I was fascinated by the accordion performances (but even at that time the accordion was fading from the popular music scene).  My parents purchased for me a very nice harmonica which I played for many years until the brass reeds eventually corroded. Some 50 years after all this I was visiting my aged mother and told her about my recent purchase of an accordion (actually an “English Melodeon” or “Accordeon Diatonic”) and she said, “Oh, you still wanted an accordion? We would have bought one for you, but you seemed so happy with the harmonica.”

    I love the sound of the free reed in all of its instruments and genres. Thank you for this posting!

     

    • #15
  16. Jim Kearney Member
    Jim Kearney
    @JimKearney

    Brian Wyneken (View Comment):
    I remember his TV show from watching at Grandma’s after our Sunday dinner visits

    Not my grandparents. Their radio was set to WADO, an Italian station in NYC. Volare, etc. They and my great uncle introduced me to wrestling matches on TV. Antonino Rocca, Rikki Starr, hatpin Mary, etc. We bonded over it, and my great uncle took us to Madison Sq. Garden in 1963 and saw Bruno Sammartino win the newly minted World Wide Wrestling Federation championship. 

    Speaking of being half Italian-American, I was amused by the auto-censor’s aversion to the term ” do-[REDACTED]”

    The last time I recall that whopping ethnic aspersion being cast was by Archie Bunker, in a multi-ethnic diatribe back in the early 1970’s. A free-speech guy myself, I’d score that one Norman Lear 1, Ricochet 0. 

    <a href=”https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/04/whop-doesnt-mean-what-andrew-cuomo-thinks-it-means/558659/”>Andrew Cuomo had more to say about it, wrongly as is his wont.

    I attend a baseball message board which upon request will substitute asterisks for those sensitive to the more vile vitriol spewing from its rowdy crowd. I keep the auto-censor on, so my reference to an old Milwaukee Braves first baseman came out Joe Ad****.

    • #16
  17. She Member
    She
    @She

    Jim Kearney (View Comment):

    Brian Wyneken (View Comment):
    I remember his TV show from watching at Grandma’s after our Sunday dinner visits

    Not my grandparents. Their radio was set to WADO, an Italian station in NYC. Volare, etc. They and my great uncle introduced me to wrestling matches on TV. Antonino Rocca, Rikki Starr, hatpin Mary, etc. We bonded over it, and my great uncle took us to Madison Sq. Garden in 1963 and saw Bruno Sammartino win the newly minted World Wide Wrestling Federation championship.

    Speaking of being half Italian-American, I was amused by the auto-censor’s aversion to the term ” do-[REDACTED]”

    The last time I recall that whopping ethnic aspersion being cast was by Archie Bunker, in a multi-ethnic diatribe back in the early 1970’s. A free-speech guy myself, I’d score that one Norman Lear 1, Ricochet 0.

    <a href=”https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/04/[REDACTED]-doesnt-mean-what-andrew-cuomo-thinks-it-means/558659/”>Andrew Cuomo had more to say about it, wrongly as is his wont.

    I attend a baseball message board which upon request will substitute asterisks for those sensitive to the more vile vitriol spewing from its rowdy crowd. I keep the auto-censor on, so my reference to an old Milwaukee Braves first baseman came out Joe Ad****.

    Great comment.  Long live doo-whop!!

    • #17
  18. She Member
    She
    @She

    Brian Wyneken (View Comment):

    Just as others have commented, I remember his TV show from watching at Grandma’s after our Sunday dinner visits. I was fascinated by the accordion performances (but even at that time the accordion was fading from the popular music scene). My parents purchased for me a very nice harmonica which I played for many years until the brass reeds eventually corroded. Some 50 years after all this I was visiting my aged mother and told her about my recent purchase of an accordion (actually an “English Melodeon” or “Accordeon Diatonic”) and she said, “Oh, you still wanted an accordion? We would have bought one for you, but you seemed so happy with the harmonica.”

    I love the sound of the free reed in all of its instruments and genres. Thank you for this posting!

    I have a certain fondness for the accordion myself (@raykujawa). In 2009, while clearing out my parents home after my dad had died and my mother had gone into a nursing home (long, dreary, dusty, story, don’t ask), I discovered a melodeon amongst the rubble.  It was a charming thing, and I wish I could have thought of a use for it, or believed I might have had the time to do something with it myself.  More than anything, I wish I knew its story, who of my ancestors it had belonged to, and why on earth it was in my parents’ house.

    Sadly, it went, as did so much else, in the estate sale.

    EDIT: I originally at mentioned both @rushbabe49 and Ray in this comment.  Apparently, at mentioning two members within the same set of parenthesis is at a doo-whop level of intransigence, and those who know better removed one of them in order to save me from myself.

    • #18
  19. OldPhil Coolidge
    OldPhil
    @OldPhil

    She (View Comment):

    Jim Kearney (View Comment):

    The Welk Wiki is suprisingly informative. The Welk show pulled its weight on some PBS stations, e.g. the one in Oklahoma which took charge of its syndicated afterlife.

    I remember noticing the Welk shows airing in prime time on the Orange County PBS station. How does this align with the PBS mission? I wondered.

    Now I’d formerly worked in the membership department of WNET-13, New York. (That station had its DNA in the PBS origin story: National Educational Television.) Once when I was working there in the mid-1970s, the local commercial broadcasters had all passed on a big NHL playoff game. Thirteen — in a rare moment of populist wisdom — decided to air it. We scrambled to assemble a platoon of volunteers to person the phones because as hockey fans know, there are two huge breaks between the three periods. Perfect for fundraising!

    The phones were swamped. Some of the calls came from bars in Queens where the hat was passed for odd sums of contributions. The results compared favorably, on a per-minute basis, with some of our top shows during the normally scheduled drives. Alas, the moment came and went. Our prime zips on the Upper West Side were more reliable. But moments like that were not unknown in the PBS system, and they were noticed.

    TJ Lubinsky, from the Pittsburgh affiliate, has made a career out of PBS using rock and doo-[REDACTED] nostalgia to milk bucks from boomers. He came along just in time, because at least half of our generation is understandably skeptical of today’s public broadcasting as a deserving form of “investment.”

    I often wonder why the conservatively inclined haven’t developed secular non-profits to counterpoint NPR and PBS. Maybe the answer is we couldn’t agree on the content. Some of us would want jazz and string quartets, others would lean into Larry Welk.

    De gustibus non est disputandum.

    Wonderful story. Thanks for sharing.

    For me, the do-[REDACTED] stuff is repetitive, tiresome, and seemingly endless. I’d far rather have the binge nights they used to do of things like Downton Abbey, The Pallisers and Upstairs Downstairs. (Is the filter automatically readacting “[REDACTED]?” I guess we’ll find out.)

    Update: 🤣🤣🤣 Ah, the law of unintended consequences. An entire genre of the African-American musical experience may not even be called by its proper name on this site. I won’t even go there.

    I gotta say I’m flabbergasted at such a redaction. Was it just system-generated? If so, the system sucks.

    • #19
  20. CACrabtree Coolidge
    CACrabtree
    @CACrabtree

    Old Bathos (View Comment):

    Wunerful, wunerful…

    Robin Williams did a great takeoff of Welk, “Anda Let’s aget down anda Let’s aget funky…”

    • #20
  21. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    OldPhil (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):

    Jim Kearney (View Comment):

    The Welk Wiki is suprisingly informative. The Welk show pulled its weight on some PBS stations, e.g. the one in Oklahoma which took charge of its syndicated afterlife.

    I remember noticing the Welk shows airing in prime time on the Orange County PBS station. How does this align with the PBS mission? I wondered.

    Now I’d formerly worked in the membership department of WNET-13, New York. (That station had its DNA in the PBS origin story: National Educational Television.) Once when I was working there in the mid-1970s, the local commercial broadcasters had all passed on a big NHL playoff game. Thirteen — in a rare moment of populist wisdom — decided to air it. We scrambled to assemble a platoon of volunteers to person the phones because as hockey fans know, there are two huge breaks between the three periods. Perfect for fundraising!

    The phones were swamped. Some of the calls came from bars in Queens where the hat was passed for odd sums of contributions. The results compared favorably, on a per-minute basis, with some of our top shows during the normally scheduled drives. Alas, the moment came and went. Our prime zips on the Upper West Side were more reliable. But moments like that were not unknown in the PBS system, and they were noticed.

    TJ Lubinsky, from the Pittsburgh affiliate, has made a career out of PBS using rock and doo-[REDACTED] nostalgia to milk bucks from boomers. He came along just in time, because at least half of our generation is understandably skeptical of today’s public broadcasting as a deserving form of “investment.”

    I often wonder why the conservatively inclined haven’t developed secular non-profits to counterpoint NPR and PBS. Maybe the answer is we couldn’t agree on the content. Some of us would want jazz and string quartets, others would lean into Larry Welk.

    De gustibus non est disputandum.

    Wonderful story. Thanks for sharing.

    For me, the do-[REDACTED] stuff is repetitive, tiresome, and seemingly endless. I’d far rather have the binge nights they used to do of things like Downton Abbey, The Pallisers and Upstairs Downstairs. (Is the filter automatically readacting “[REDACTED]?” I guess we’ll find out.)

    Update: 🤣🤣🤣 Ah, the law of unintended consequences. An entire genre of the African-American musical experience may not even be called by its proper name on this site. I won’t even go there.

    I gotta say I’m flabbergasted at such a redaction. Was it just system-generated? If so, the system sucks.

    I’m a little surprised, but not flabbergasted. That un-spelled-out three letter acronym, derived from the Ellis Island immigration’s station for European immigrants from certain companies, would linger for decades, 

    • #21
  22. Cosmik Phred Member
    Cosmik Phred
    @CosmikPhred

    Growing up, Lawrence Welk was always present on TV.  I’d see him on, but he was never really watched in our house.  I knew enough to get the jokes and spoofs about him, but that’s about it.

    However, he was ALWAYS on the TV when visiting Grandma and Grandpa Miller in Bowdle, SD.  My grandfather was also a first generation son of Germans from present day Ukraine (Crimea – a.k.a. The Krim – and Odessa) so generationally and heritage-wise it was inevitable.   

    • #22
  23. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    OldPhil (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):

    Jim Kearney (View Comment):

    The Welk Wiki is suprisingly informative. The Welk show pulled its weight on some PBS stations, e.g. the one in Oklahoma which took charge of its syndicated afterlife.

    I remember noticing the Welk shows airing in prime time on the Orange County PBS station. How does this align with the PBS mission? I wondered.

    Now I’d formerly worked in the membership department of WNET-13, New York. (That station had its DNA in the PBS origin story: National Educational Television.) Once when I was working there in the mid-1970s, the local commercial broadcasters had all passed on a big NHL playoff game. Thirteen — in a rare moment of populist wisdom — decided to air it. We scrambled to assemble a platoon of volunteers to person the phones because as hockey fans know, there are two huge breaks between the three periods. Perfect for fundraising!

    The phones were swamped. Some of the calls came from bars in Queens where the hat was passed for odd sums of contributions. The results compared favorably, on a per-minute basis, with some of our top shows during the normally scheduled drives. Alas, the moment came and went. Our prime zips on the Upper West Side were more reliable. But moments like that were not unknown in the PBS system, and they were noticed.

    TJ Lubinsky, from the Pittsburgh affiliate, has made a career out of PBS using rock and doo-[REDACTED] nostalgia to milk bucks from boomers. He came along just in time, because at least half of our generation is understandably skeptical of today’s public broadcasting as a deserving form of “investment.”

    I often wonder why the conservatively inclined haven’t developed secular non-profits to counterpoint NPR and PBS. Maybe the answer is we couldn’t agree on the content. Some of us would want jazz and string quartets, others would lean into Larry Welk.

    De gustibus non est disputandum.

    Wonderful story. Thanks for sharing.

    For me, the do-[REDACTED] stuff is repetitive, tiresome, and seemingly endless. I’d far rather have the binge nights they used to do of things like Downton Abbey, The Pallisers and Upstairs Downstairs. (Is the filter automatically readacting “[REDACTED]?” I guess we’ll find out.)

    Update: 🤣🤣🤣 Ah, the law of unintended consequences. An entire genre of the African-American musical experience may not even be called by its proper name on this site. I won’t even go there.

    I gotta say I’m flabbergasted at such a redaction. Was it just system-generated? If so, the system sucks.

    I’m a little surprised, but not flabbergasted. That un-spelled-out three letter acronym, derived from the Ellis Island immigration’s station for European immigrants from certain companies, would linger for decades,

    The technical department has been notified and is working on it.  A lot of the software is being re-written and I’m sure there will be anomalies discovered along the way.

    • #23
  24. She Member
    She
    @She

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

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    Jim Kearney (View Comment):

    The Welk Wiki is suprisingly informative. The Welk show pulled its weight on some PBS stations, e.g. the one in Oklahoma which took charge of its syndicated afterlife.

    I remember noticing the Welk shows airing in prime time on the Orange County PBS station. How does this align with the PBS mission? I wondered.

    Now I’d formerly worked in the membership department of WNET-13, New York. (That station had its DNA in the PBS origin story: National Educational Television.) Once when I was working there in the mid-1970s, the local commercial broadcasters had all passed on a big NHL playoff game. Thirteen — in a rare moment of populist wisdom — decided to air it. We scrambled to assemble a platoon of volunteers to person the phones because as hockey fans know, there are two huge breaks between the three periods. Perfect for fundraising!

    The phones were swamped. Some of the calls came from bars in Queens where the hat was passed for odd sums of contributions. The results compared favorably, on a per-minute basis, with some of our top shows during the normally scheduled drives. Alas, the moment came and went. Our prime zips on the Upper West Side were more reliable. But moments like that were not unknown in the PBS system, and they were noticed.

    TJ Lubinsky, from the Pittsburgh affiliate, has made a career out of PBS using rock and doo-[REDACTED] nostalgia to milk bucks from boomers. He came along just in time, because at least half of our generation is understandably skeptical of today’s public broadcasting as a deserving form of “investment.”

    I often wonder why the conservatively inclined haven’t developed secular non-profits to counterpoint NPR and PBS. Maybe the answer is we couldn’t agree on the content. Some of us would want jazz and string quartets, others would lean into Larry Welk.

    De gustibus non est disputandum.

    Wonderful story. Thanks for sharing.

    For me, the do-[REDACTED] stuff is repetitive, tiresome, and seemingly endless. I’d far rather have the binge nights they used to do of things like Downton Abbey, The Pallisers and Upstairs Downstairs. (Is the filter automatically readacting “[REDACTED]?” I guess we’ll find out.)

    Update: 🤣🤣🤣 Ah, the law of unintended consequences. An entire genre of the African-American musical experience may not even be called by its proper name on this site. I won’t even go there.

    I gotta say I’m flabbergasted at such a redaction. Was it just system-generated? If so, the system sucks.

    I’m a little surprised, but not flabbergasted. That un-spelled-out three letter acronym, derived from the Ellis Island immigration’s station for European immigrants from certain companies, would linger for decades,

    The technical department has been notified and is working on it. A lot of the software is being re-written and I’m sure there will be anomalies discovered along the way.

    Thanks much.  Off-topic, but on record, I’d like to put in play the idea that literary works such as Joseph Conrad’s “The [REDACTED] of the Narcissus” should be able to be discussed here without our having to guess what the redacted word might have been.

    [EDIT] To continue (Just wanted to make sure that the result of posting the previous sentence might be what I feared, and it was):

    I am totally on board with redactions from scatology, profanity, and excessive vulgarity.  But I think it’s sometimes necessary to use offensive words as part of a frank discussion that involves those offensive words as they’re required to be disclosed in the context of literary, cultural, political, or any other sort of history.

    Case in point:  I’ve recently worked my way through all ten-or-so seasons of JAG.  Daft stuff, I know.  But I’ve been sitting here recovering from a broken wrist, looking for something to pass the time while I do embroidery, and that’s where I ended up.  A program that the late Mr. She and I enjoyed in real time, and which I have on DVD.

    By gum, in one of the later series, out of the blue, Bud Roberts mentions that a particularly obnoxious client once referred to JAG lawyer Sturgis Turner (an African-American) as a [REDACTED].

    He said the word.  Nothing was redacted.

    And you know what?  I’m still alive.

    Bud’s use of the word generated distaste.   Not for Bud (who repeated the slur). Not for Sturgis (who was the object of the slur).  But for the person who made the slur.

    If Ricochet can position itself as a site which heaps ignominy on those who make such slurs, then I don’t see how that can be other than good.

    If Ricochet cancels those slurs–not for those who repeat them, nor for those who are the object of them, but to disinfect the reputations of the people who make them–then what else is it doing but contributing to the whitewashing of history?

    I’d far rather see a more relaxed filter for such slurs, so that Conrad’s work can be given its due, along with many quotes from Mark Twain and others, so that we can have a rational discussion about all of them.

    And I’d like to leave it up to the moderators to whack the very, very few times such slurs are used to denigrate and ridicule societal, religious, or ethnic groups.

    But that’s just me.  Or, perhaps “I” as it should more properly be.

    • #24
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