Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Open The Good Stuff, Drink and Remember

Norma Zimmer, aka The Champagne Lady from The Lawrence Welk Show, is dead.

If your first reaction is "who?" then you are either too young, or grew up in a household that didn't tune in regularly to the Welk Show. Zimmer was a singer and dancer who joined the show in 1960, thus spending more than 20 years with a show that ran nationally for nearly 28 years.

Her singing style recalled the Hit Parade era of Doris Day and similar pure, unaffected delivery of pop tunes that sound schmaltzy to the modern ear. Let go of irony and your rock & roll ways and Zimmer's buttery vibrato feels like a hug -- possibly a hug from grandma, but who couldn't use one of those from time to time?

[Image courtesy of]

Zimmer's death falls into place after a string of deaths we should have noted here. Yvette Vickers' passing was certainly the most tragic. Gone as well are Arthur Larents, John Walker, Body Snatcher rebel Dana Wynter and Dolores Fuller.

We probably should have given a nod to Wynter's passing, for if you need a smart woman by your side as alien invaders gradually infest your sleepy coastly burg, she was the lady for the job. And Vickers -- what could we say that hadn't been said already?

Norma Zimmer died on May 10, 2011. She was 88. There are other Welk Women still dancing, singing and playing, but only one got the title The Champagne Lady.