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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Such Devoted Sisters. 5.

I think it's safe to say that the McGuire Sisters virtually paved the way for the
Lennon Sisters.
Except that there were three McGuire Sisters and four Lennon Sisters.
Their mutual approach to music and performing was precisely the same.
They were all brought up with heavy religious backgrounds.
They all dressed identically, with the same coifs.

The Lennon Sisters never had their own hit single records.
This is probably for two reasons.
They started recording at about the time that the McGuire Sisters stopped.
And the McGuire Sisters stopped pretty much because of the Elvis Tsunami.
Also, the songs that the Lennon Sisters might have had big hits with were all the
songs that the McGuire Sisters DID have big hits with.
The McGuire Sisters' material suited the Lennon Sisters perfectly, but I don't recall
the Lennons ever attempting to cover the McGuire's hits.
It probably would have been too blatant.

The Lennons will forever be associated with Lawrence Welk.
I think some of the younger ones (There were more than four, and the older ones have
retired,) are still working at Welk's theater, appropriately enough, in Branson Missouri.
They show Welk every Saturday night like clockwork on my local PBS station.
And yet they still ask for donations during pledge weeks.
And we of course have it on the Tivo, because it is my 88 year-old mother-in-law's
favorite show.
I think there is a line of demarcation regarding Welk as to when it was watchable and when it wasn't.
It was watchable in the old days, when we were at the mercy of network programmers
who provided us with "the least objectionable programming",
This is when it was on in black-and-white.
And it actually had some entertainment value.
Once it went to color, it was "Abandon ship!"
And of course, most of what they show on my PBS station are the ones in color.
But just recently, they showed the first ever Welk show. From 1955.
And it was a lot of fun.
There were people on it who were intentionally funny, like violinists Bob Lido and
Aladdin, and trumpeter Rocky Rockwell.
And of course, there were people who were unintentionally funny, like Lawrence Welk.
On this premiere show, he actually said "My friends in North Dakota won't let me
get away without my doing an accordion solo, so my good friend Myron Floren will
join me in a duet.
So they proceeded to do Welk's accordion solo as a duet.
No explanation.
You've got to love it.

In the late sixties, the Lennons then branched out into their own series.
Or at least half their own.
It was a variety show called "Jimmy Durante Presents The Lennon Sisters"
Probably the most ludicrous title of any TV show, ever.
Now, I love Jimmy Durante as much as the next guy.
Hell, more even.
Even more than that nuchshlepper Eddie Jackson, whom he kept alive all those years.
But I just couldn't bring myself to watch "Jimmy Durante Presents The Lennon
I was just too embarrassed.
But about twenty years later, when cable was still young and I was older, they started showing reruns of it on something called "The Nostalgia Channel"
I was now not too embarrassed to at least check it out.
What I found was one of the most entertaining variety shows that I had ever seen.
It was produced by Bernie Kukoff and Jeff Harris, who had produced "The Steve Allen Show"
So major comedy creds were involved.
It certainly wasn't hard for them to write good sketches, and Jimmy Durante was, of course, hilarious. But they also managed to make the Lennon Sisters funny.
And the girls interacted great with Durante.
And they seemed to be singing better than ever.
So, mainly due to this show, which I have now seen just about every episode of
(they were only on for about a season and a half), I have nothing but kind thoughts and affection for the Lennon Sisters.


My books ,"Show Runner" and it's sequel,"Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
Along with the newer ones, "The Man Is Dead", and "Report Cards".
You can search by typing in my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne & Shirley, The Odd Couple, or Happy Days.
Check them out.
You don't need a Kindle machine to download them.
Just get the free app from Kindle, and they can be downloaded to an IPhone, IPad, or Blackberry.
The paperback, "Mark Rothman's Essays" is still available for people without Kindle.
I have many readings and signings remaining, and the thing about Kindle is you can't sign one.
If you'd like one, contact me at
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne & Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube.



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About Me

Hi. I am, according to my Wikipedia entry,(which I did not create) a noted television writer, playwright, screenwriter, and occasional actor. You can Google me or go to the IMDB to get my credits, and you can come here to get my opinions on things, which I'll try to express eloquently. Hopefully I'll succeed. You can also e-mail me at Perhaps my biggest claim to fame is being responsible, for about six months in 1975, while Head Writer for the "Happy Days" TV series, for Americans saying to each other "Sit on it."