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Monday, April 19, 2021

No NYT, Lawrence Welk was more successful than you

The New York Times whined about no one watching the Oscars. It sneered today, "Now, as Hollywood prepares for a coronavirus-delayed Academy Awards telecast on April 25 on ABC, it is faced with the ultimate doomsday scenario: that the viewing public is ready to toss its premier showcase into the entertainment dustbin, plopped next to variety shows. Oscar, meet Lawrence Welk and his bubbles."


Lawrence Welk was one of the most successful men in the history of television. He had a 36-year run with his weekly show, which ended only when he retired at 79.

PBS stations regularly use reruns of his show as a fund-raiser, nearly three decades after his death. His champagne music may not be to suit the tastes of a newspaper that won Pulitzers for pushing the Russian Collusion Lie, but millions of viewers enjoyed the harmonies and melodies of the songs he showcased on his show.

Unlike the Times, Mister Welk's enterprise required no bailout from a Mexican cellphone billionaire.

Welk was a square.

So what?

He was the son of German immigrants who became sodbusters in North Dakota. He dropped out of school in fourth grade to work the farm. He learned the accordion, worked and paid for his own, and began playing at weddings and the like.

That led to a band, an orchestra, radio, movies, and television where -- as the Baltimore Sun noted in his obituary in 1992 -- he outlasted Arthur Godfrey; Groucho Marx; George Burns and Gracie Allen; Kukla, Fran and Ollie; and Jackie Gleason's Honeymooners.

Welk was a hard-working, intelligent man who ran a music and real estate empire with a fourth-grade education.

In his obituary, The Sun said, "In 1956, ABC-TV broadcast Mr. Welk from coast to coast, and for the ensuing 16 years the Welk show missed only one week -- in the aftermath of the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963.

"ABC finally dropped the show in 1971, deciding that Mr. Welk's audience was too old to attract commercial sponsors looking for a more youthful and affluent market. His sponsors at the time reflected Mr. Welk's demographics: Geritol and Sominex.

"Mr. Welk responded by syndicating his own show, which ultimately was picked up by more than 250 stations around the country -- more, even, than had aired his show on ABC.

"The program did not miss a week of air time until weekly production ended in 1982."

Variety shows ended not because they fell out of favor with Americans, but because of the expense of having an orchestra, dancers, and the like.

By contrast, the Oscars are a relic of the 1940s that is well past its Best Used By date.

The Times story began, "Neither intimate looks into stars’ living rooms nor scantily clad pop stars performing provocative hits have been able to stop audiences from tuning out award shows this year. The ratings for the Grammys were down by 53%. The Golden Globes plummeted by more than 60."

Buried in Paragraph 27 of this whiny piece was this: 

"Increasingly, the ceremonies are less about entertainment honors and more about progressive politics, which inevitably annoys those in the audience who disagree. One recent producer of the Oscars, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss confidential metrics, said minute-by-minute post-show ratings analysis indicated that 'vast swaths' of people turned off their televisions when celebrities started to opine on politics."

Any conservative blogger over the past 20 years has told his readers that.

Glenn Reynolds labeled it correctly as "Get Woke, Go Broke."

Welk was smart enough to avoid politics. He flourished.


  1. Thank you Don for standing up and defending the legacy of Lawrence Welk.

  2. Thank you Don for reading the New York Times so we don't have to.

    1. Anyone dumb enough to read the fake nyt, even to trash the place, doesn’t deserve s Bentley. Maybe a Studebaker, but not a Bentley. ;-))

    2. Anyone dumb enough to read the fake nyt, even to trash the place, doesn’t deserve s Bentley. Maybe a Studebaker, but not a Bentley. ;-))

    3. Anyone dumb enough to read the fake nyt, even to trash the place, doesn’t deserve s Bentley. Maybe a Studebaker, but not a Bentley. ;-))

  3. I liked Lawrence Welk, even as a kid. Good music and light humor. As for the Oscars, I have never watched them and will not watch them.

  4. “By contrast, the Oscars are a relic of the 1940s that is well past its Best Used By date.” As is the NYT

    1. Now, now. As long as there are caged birds and dead fish, there will always be a use for the Times. Maybe just not those times.

  5. It’s surreal to watch those two Lawrence Welk singers on his show back in ‘71 sing “One Toke over the Line.” Look it up on YT...a puzzling moment, that.

  6. thank ya boys...a one and a two...turn off the bubble machine...gee Dad it was a Wurlitzer!

  7. I used to watch the Academy Awards back when I enjoyed Hollywood movies. Those days are gone.

  8. What a great article. A fun read!

  9. I grew up watching Lawrence Welk every Saturday night. I didn’t really appreciate it then, but I do now.

  10. Ol’ Grandma Ella, in Minnewaukan ND...that was her favorite show. Whenever we were out there, we watched it. And sure, it was easy to make fun of, but it was also a great life lesson. Ella busted her ass for us, making donuts, lefse, chocolate chip cookies, all kinds of sweet treats for four boys under age 10. When Lawrence came on, dammit, the TV was hers. It gave her great pleasure watching a fellow Norwegian from Oberon make it big, and in those days adults still ran things...

  11. My parents loved the show. As we only had one tv until about 1970, that was what I watched too, if I wanted to watch tv. They don’t make ‘em like they used to.

    Who went to movies this year to see any of the trash Hollywood puts out? I haven’t been to the movies in over a decade. And is this the year minority quotas for the awards kick in? That will really save the ratings. Not.

    1. The last movie I saw in a theater was The Sixth Sense... when it first came out. 1999!

  12. Good night, sleep tight
    And pleasant dreams to you
    Here's a wish
    And a prayer
    May your every dream come true.
    And now till we meet again.
    Adios, Au revoir Auf Wiedersehen.
    Good night.

  13. The Oscars were always a bore, very few really entertaining (1970 was an exception).

    In an era when they make movies to please themselves, rather than the audience, nobody is going to watch, especially since the era of stars is long over.

  14. I used to watch Lawrence Welk with my grandmother, and wasn't even ashamed to admit it. I miss her, and him...

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