60 on 6: The magic of Lawrence WelkFargo, ND (WDAY TV) - TV guide has called him one of America’s Greatest TV Stars of all time, and his roots are right here in North Dakota.
By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY
Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - TV guide has called him one of America’s Greatest TV Stars of all time, and his roots are right here in North Dakota.
When he arrived in Fargo for a special event, he received a "rock star" welcome.
As part of our 60th Anniversary, we take a look back at stories that made headlines over the years, so now here’s Lawrence Welk for our 60 on 6.
Hard to imagine that when Lawrence Welk and his family came to North Dakota, Germans from Russia, they spent their first winter living under an overturned wagon covered in sod. He started playing accordion early. In his late 20s, he led big bands across the Dakotas, and soon he crisscrossed the country with his champagne music.
His popularity grew rapidly: Music for movies, recording his own albums, then, finally...
In 1951, the North Dakota native got his own show on ABC. The network would carry the Lawrence Welk Show from 1955 until 1982. His German-Russian accent never went away, and it became his trademark.
WDAY's music director, Frank Scott of Fargo, joined Lawrence on the show for years.
And whenever Lawrence came back to Fargo, crowds of fans would pack Hector airport to welcome him; our Lady Gaga or Justin Bieber of the 60s. Many followed his motorcade into town: A homecoming for a star.
And there was more to Lawrence Welk's empire than champagne music and bubbles. He would also go on to be successful in real estate and development. People perhaps made fun of his sometimes cheesy episodes, but he was a financial success; making his life wunnerful, wunnerful life.
His music and shows continue on in Branson and on public TV every Sunday night and the Welk Resort in California is still successful; boasting golf courses, resort condos and a museum of Welk's Life.
Welk died in 1992.