The Lawrence Welk Show

The Lawrence Welk Show is an American televised musical variety show hosted by big band leader Lawrence Welk.  The series aired locally in Los Angeles for four years (1951–55), then nationally for another 27½ years via the ABC network (1955–71).

In 1951, The Lawrence Welk Show started as a local program on KTLA-TV in Los Angeles, flagship station of the Paramount Television Network.  The original show was broadcast from the since-demolished Aragon Ballroom at Venice Beach.
The show made its national TV debut on ABC Television on July 2nd, 1955, and was initially produced at the Hollywood Palladium, moving to the ABC studios at Prospect and Talmadge in Hollywood shortly afterwards. For 23 of its 27 years on the air, the show would originate there.
The 1965-66 season was taped at the Hollywood Palace since that was ABC’s only West Coast TV studio at the time equipped for live or taped color production; Welk had insisted that the show go color in 1965 because he believed that being broadcast in color was critical to the continued success of his program.  Once a couple of studios at the ABC Prospect and Talmadge facilities had been converted to color in 1966, the show moved back there.
The show aired on ABC until 1971.  When the show was canceled by the head of programming there, Welk formed his own production company and continued airing the show, on local stations and, often from 7 to 8 P.M. Eastern time on Saturdays over some of the ABC affiliates on which he had previously appeared, along with some stations affiliated with other networks.
When the show began, it was billed as the Dodge Dancing Party from 1955 to 1959.  During 1956–59, Lawrence Welk was broadcast two nights per week.  The second show’s title was Lawrence Welk’s Top Tunes and New Talent Show (1956–58) and then Lawrence Welk’s Plymouth Show, after another Chrysler vehicle (1958–59).  The Plymouth show was the first American television program to air in stereophonic sound. Due to the fact that stereophonic television had not yet been invented (it would be 25 more years before it would become standard), ABC instead simulcast the show on its radio network, with the TV side airing one audio channel and the radio side airing the other; viewers would tune in both the TV and the radio to achieve the stereophonic effect.  Starting with the 1959–60 season the two shows were merged into The Lawrence Welk Show, reverting to monaural broadcasts.
The primary sponsor of The Lawrence Welk Show was Dodge (automobile marque), later to be followed by Geritol (a multivitamin), Sominex (sleep aid), Aqua Velva (aftershave), Serutan (laxative), Universal Appliances (manufacturer of home appliances), Polident (a denture cleanser), Ocean Spray (fruit juice) and Sinclair Oil (automobile fuel) served as associate sponsors for a short time.
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