Promotional Spot for Hootenanny and Lawrence Welk

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During the 1963-1964 season ABC’s Saturday line-up consisted of Hootennany, The Lawrence Welk Show and The Jerry Lewis Show, which ran for two hours. This promotional spot features both Hootennany and The Lawrence Welk Show but not The Jerry Lewis Show, suggesting perhaps that it was not used during the start of the season but later. The Jerry Lewis Show was canned after thirteen episodes, the last of which aired on December 21st, 1963. It was replaced by The Hollywood Palace on January 4th, 1964. Hootennanny, although popular at first, soon faded in the Nielsens and went off the air at the end of the 1963-1964 season. But The Lawrence Welk Show would remain with ABC until 1971; it continued in syndication until 1982.

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5 Replies to “Promotional Spot for Hootenanny and Lawrence Welk”

  1. I still watch the encores of ‘The Lawrence Welk Show’ on PBS, mostly for sentimental reasons. Not because I was a great fan of Mr. Welk, he being a bit schmaltzy for my tastes. But instead, out of sentimentality for the music-variety series, which used to be so prevalent on television, especially on Saturday nights.

    Being a big fan of ‘The Honeymooners’, I also watch American Life Television network (when I travel, it’s not available on cable where I live) because they carry episodes of ‘The Color Honeymooners’, re-titled from old episodes of ‘The Jackie Gleason Show’.

    I’ve always wondered why PBS hasn’t followed up on the success of ‘The Lawrence Welk Show’ (it is one of their higher-rated staples, albeit skewing mature) by reprising several other music-variety or comedy-variety series from yesteryear. PBS has gotten some of their highest ratings from the Christmas episode specials they aired of ‘The Andy Williams Show’ and ‘The Hollywood Palace’, but what about some of the other gems of televisions earlier era.

    Were I a PBS programmer, here’s what I’d track down rights for and offer up to affiliates:

    -> ‘The Judy Garland Show’
    -> ‘The Julie Andrews Show’
    -> ‘The Johnny Cash Show’
    -> ‘Dolly’
    -> ‘The Frank Sinatra Show’
    -> ‘This is Tom Jones’

    -> ‘Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In’
    -> ‘The Carol Burnett Show’
    -> ‘The Dean Martin Show’
    -> ‘Mary’
    -> ‘The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour’
    -> ‘Fridays’

    -> ‘The Ed Sullivan Show’
    -> ‘The Bob Hope Special’

    According to reports from several weeks ago, later this year, PBS is going to join in the Neilsen Television Index as part of their weekly reporting. Wouldn’t it be nice to see PBS getting its top audiences from some forgotten and overlooked vintage variety programming?

  2. ABC’s prime-time promos during that period usually stresssed one show, or “two-fer” spots [two shows on the same evening], and, occasionally, “three-fer” spots. This one, seen at the beginning of the season, covered the first half of their Saturday night line-up that fall {“Saturdays Really Sing”}. The featured (kinescoped) excerpts from both series are from the previous season, as I’ve seen some of the same footage in the network’s ’63 “fall preview” presentation [shown only at their summer affiliate convention]. A live staff announcer would have added, around :54, “Tonight/Saturday, beginning at 7:30, 6:30 Central Time, over most of these stations”.

    The reason “HOOTENANNY” failed was because ABC “went for broke”, betting the folk music boom at that time would be enough to draw a sizeable alternative audience of younger viewers, by converting it from a half-hour [8:30pm] in the spring of ’63 to a full hour that fall- directly opposite “THE JACKIE GLEASON SHOW: THE AMERICAN SCENE MAGAZINE”, of which very few of “the competition”‘s series were able to survive [the previous season, ABC threw Roy Rogers & Dale Evans opposite “The Great One” in a country-flavored variety show (hoping to draw a sizeable alternative audience of rural viewers), which lasted one season]. By the time “HOOTENANNY” ended, “The British Invasion” was in full swing, and more teenagers were listening to The Beatles and their fellow English rock stars than, say, The Limelighters (w/Glenn Yarborough), The New Christy Minstrels, The Brothers Four, The Serendipity Singers, et. al.

    Of course, the biggest gamble on Saturday night was Jerry Lewis….but TWO HOURS? Even Jay Leno at 10pm(et), “across the board”, was more successful than Jerry’s attempt to be a “one-man variety show” every week…but even Jay lasted two months more in prime-time than Jerry did back then. He didn’t attempt another variety show until 1967 (a bit more “standard” this time, only an hour), and it managed to last two seasons.

    1. I thought what proved fatal to HOOTENANNY was ABC’s refusal to let Pete Seeger appear on the show without signing a loyalty oath…thus resulting in a boycott by most of the top folk artists.
      (in the fall of ’63, folk music was at its cultural high water mark–and no one foresaw the British Invasion, so an expanded HOOTENANNY seemed right as rain)

  3. I would want Julie Andrews & Carol Burnett at
    Carnegie Hall in 1962 and Julie Andrews & Carol
    Burnett at Lincoln Center in 1971.

  4. The Lawrence Welk estate donated the tapes of the Lawrence Welk Show to PBS. That is why they air the shows.

    I calculated that the core audience of the Lawrence Welk show is 110 years old, with the secondary fan base averaging 80 years old.

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