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Lawrence Welk - Popular host o the long-running weekly musical program THE LAWRENCE WELK SHOW/ABC/1955-71 (followed by his syndicated series which ran until February 24, 1982.).

Lawrence Welk

Leaving his Strasburg, North Dakota farm at the age of twenty-one, Lawrence Welk took his talent with the accordion on the road playing hotels and ballrooms with a variety of bands including "The Hotsy Totsy Boys," Lawrence Welk's Novelty Band" and The Fruit Gum Orchestra."

One week in 1938 some letters arrived from fans who listened to his band on the radio. One of the letters suggested that his music sounded "Bubbly." And so the very next week, the announcer introduced the band as "Lawrence Welk and his Champagne Music."

Lawrence Welk first appeared on KTLA-TV in Los Angeles where he performed weekly at the Aragon Ballroom at Pacific Ocean Park. He later began a 27-year reign of THE LAWRENCE WELK SHOW  His last TV show concluded with Irving Berlin's "There's No Business Like Show Business."

As of 1990, reedited tapes of his earlier shows with new introductions were aired on PBS stations nationwide. In 1992, Lawrence Welk died of pneumonia at his Santa Monica beachfront condo at the age of 89.

According to a quote in People Weekly (6/1/92 p.103) Bernice McGeehan who co-authored Welk's autobiography "Wunnerful, Wunnerful" said, "He was not in pain; He just went to sleep. He had a lovely, long, full life, and we're grateful he didn't suffer."

The Lawrence Welk Museum located within the Lawrence Welk Resort Village, north of San Diego (built 1980) highlights his career.

TRIVIA NOTE: One of Lawrence Welk's trademark openings was the exploding sound of a champagne cork made by popping his index finger against the inside of his mouth and followed by the effervescent sound of fizzling bubbles. N.A. Fisher invented the bubble machine used to create the thousand of champagne-like bubbles that soared above the bandstand on his TV series. See also NICKNAMES: "The Champagne Lady"


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