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5.01.2012

AH-ONE, AH-TWO!

I have a treadmill in my unfinished basement.  Unlike others I know, who shall remain nameless, it is used for running and not as a clothes rack.  My druthers are to run outside over running on a moving belt looking at the same scenery in front of me for miles on end.  You do not get as good of a workout on a treadmill as you do outside.  The problem with running only on a treadmill is that you can't build up as much endurance.  Though you can run further on a treadmill than you can outside because the moving belt helps do part of the work!  But, it is better than not running at all.  And, on the occasions when the wind is strong, the rain pelting or snow is blizzarding, I move my running to the basement.  It is far from a setting of a classy health club down there.  Sitting atop a large chest of drawers is an older TV - the heavy chunky type of TV that doesn't pick up HD stations or barely any stations at all.  Even though we have cable, that circa 2003 TV only gets about 10 channels.  Viewing options for shows is extremely limited.  For instance, one day last week (we had 25-30 mph winds for a good chunk of the week) the only thing that I could find to watch while running was "Walker,Texas Ranger" - the Chuck Norris produced and starred show.  It is comparable to watching an old "Star Trek" episode.  The special effects, acting and story line are C-rated and hokey.  I found myself giggling and understanding why Chuck Norris has a mocking cult following.  Saturday, forced to run indoors again, I clicked to a re-run of "The Lawrence Welk" show.  I had to watch it.  Growing up in our family there were two absolutes in TV watching by my father; "The Lawrence Welk Show" and "Hee Haw".  I have recently written about "Hee Haw's" soft porn mainstream acceptance in the 1070's and in the Weldy household.   "The Lawrence Welk Show" aired originally in 1955-1971 as a local Los Angeles show.  When it was cancelled, Lawrence Welk, a quasi big-band orchestra leader of sorts, started a production company and ran the show through 1982 and to syndication.  Lawrence was German born and heavily accented.  He frequently mispronounced words and was known for two catch phrases he used, " Wunnerful, Wunnerful! and Ah-One, Ah-Two!The show format was mostly big-band music, dance and small skits set to music.  It highlighted the musical talents of a cast of regulars with appearances by special guests.  Lawrence himself could usually be spotted in the polka dance part of the show dancing with a lady from the audience.  The mean age group of the audience appeared to be 50+.  When I watched the show this past week it was a Salute To Los Angeles.  Bobby and Sissy, regular dancers with the show, waltzed their way around the floor to some song about Los Angeles that I had never heard.  Another couple sang a big-bandish version of "California Dreaming" which should have been outlawed.  A gentleman sang "Like A Rhinestone Cowboy" keeping it to true to the original Glen Campbell version.  One of the regulars on the show, the accordion playing Myron Floren, played "It's A Small World" to commemorate Disneyland.  He reconfirmed my stance on why accordion music, though requiring great talent, never really made it main stream.   And, the only african-american regular member of the show that I can remember, Arthur Duncan, tapped to another song saluting the city of Angels.  The women had teased, long bee-hiveish doos and donned long dresses.  The men wore wide lapelled coats in soft pastels.  Lawrence himself started the show weekly by using his finger on the inside of his mouth to create a POP sound.  It signified the popping of a champagne cork - celebration.  I giggled a lot as I ran my miles, both at styles, the era long gone, the childhood memories and feelings that rushed over me as I watched something that marked a portion of my childhood.  Though not a polka loving "Roll Out The Barrel" sort of girl, it was still wunnerful, wunnerful!  A snapshot of Americana.

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