Welcome to the Tiki Central 2.0 Beta. Read the announcement
Celebrating classic and modern Polynesian Pop

Pages: 1 3 replies


I just discovered this fun version of 'Chinatown' from a 1960 episode of the Lawrence Welk show. Martin Denny was never like this!



I've been slowly compiling some of my favorite Welk videos (33 so far, and more to come), on a youtube playlist called 'The Hip Side of Lawrence Welk'


Wow, you could never get away with doing a performance like that today! Lawrence Welk and exotica are not as dissimilar as you might think. I believe George Cates was a performer and arranger for Welk for many years.

I actually played Jack Imel's show on cruise ships way back in the day. While he never played this tune in the show I played, tap dancing marimba was his gimmick, and the grand finale was telling everyone that when he played the Lawrence Welk Show, the grand finale was always "jumping over the ol' woodpile." Except by the time I was playing for him, he would leave off the jumping part, just make like he was going to and not go through with it, so it was a gag.

This tune, "Chinatown, My Chinatown," is an old standard from 1910 by William Jerome / Jean Schwartz. It definitely predates Exotica, and despite playing it on the marimba, I would not say this version is to be in any way associated with Exotica or Martin Denny. But, true, you just don't see that kind of stereotyping in mainstream entertainment anymore.

Hamo posted on Thu, Jun 27, 2019 9:41 PM

Great to see you're still adding to your "hip" Lawrence Welk YouTube playlist after all these years, Vern.

This thread seems as good as any to post a few more links to other "exotica" or Hawaiian covers by the Welk music makers.

Jo Ann Castle and Buddy Merrill - "Song of the Islands" (1965)

Buddy Merrill, Bob Smale, and Neil Levang - "Hukilau" (1972)

Gail Farrell and Dick Dale - "Tiny Bubbles" (1971)

Gail Farrell and Dick Dale - "Tiny Bubbles" (1973)

Guy Hovis and Ralna English - "Hawaiian Wedding Song" (1975)

Tom Netherton and Mary Lou Metzger - "Tribute to Hawaii" (1976)

Pages: 1 3 replies