It’s Welk on America
Flanagan, Barbara. "It's
Welk on America." n.d.
I think I’ve discovered Lawrence Welk’s
source of youth. He eats a banana a day.
Welk, 72, said he also stays “young”
and healthy eating broiled meat and avoiding sweets except for
ice cream. He drinks tea “and an occasional glass of sweet
wine like Mogen David,” he said, but no champagne or beer.
“The only time I ever liked beer was back
in North Dakota at harvest time,” he recalled. “When
you were out in the fields threshing, you’d get so hot and
dry and thirsty. Then, a cold beer tasted good to me.”
Welk, who is 5 feet, 11 ½ inches tall and
weighs 164 pounds, once weighed 204 pounds, “but I never
liked fat men, including myself,” he said, “so I sold
my car and walked back and forth to my jobs and that did it. Now,
I try to lose a pound a year.”
After reading Welk’s newest book, “My
America, Your America,” I wondered if he planned to run
for political office. The book, which he autographed yesterday
at Dayton’s, states his philosophy of life and his views
about what’s wrong in the United States.
“There’s a fellow in Santa Barbara who
keeps starting a Welk-for-president campaign,” Welk said,
smiling. “But I’m not interested in running for office.”
“Of Course, I am concerned with our land and
the direction we’ve been going. I’m in favor of the
free-enterprise system. If I was in politics, in one sense I’d
have more of a voice. My feeling about this country is my reason
for writing this book.”
Welk, who explains in the book how his employees
do not have written contracts with him and how he prefers to train
his people for the show in his own way, believes the same methods
might provide an incentive to other businessmen to offer on-the-job
training to young people.
He states in the book that such a training program
could work if the government offered a tax credit to businesses
for training young people and if unions would relax their rules
to allow for such training.
“I would love to see an America in which all
kinds of businesses were allowed to flourish-union, government,
and profit-sharing business such as the one I’ve been describing
(Welk’s orchestra),” he writes. “In fact, a
youngster trained in our (Welk’s) system could most certainly
join the union as a fully qualified professional later on, if
he so desired. And that would be fine, because each of us should
be free to work in whatever system pleases and serves as best.
Each of us should have the right of free choice.”
Welk, a union member, believes union demands caused
the end of the “big band era” and the shutting down
of theaters and ballrooms. Free enterprise, he said, needs competition
to thrive, but when people are paid not to work, there is no incentive.
“I believe that the government and the unions
and our schools have been going in the wrong direction if they
really want to develop our people and preserve our free-enterprise
system,” he said.
I asked him how Tom Netherton, our blond and handsome
Bloomington baritone, is doing in the Welk “family.”
“Tom’s got a good noodle,” Welk
said. “And he’s a showman. If he continues to work,
I think he’ll make it. In fact, I’ll be Tom could
run for president.”
In the immediate future, however, Welk is making
a new record with Netherton. “Tom’s going to sing
the 12 best love songs,” Welk said.
Sounds wunnerful, doesn’t it?