Wunnerful Wunnerful

Long before my storied broadcasting career, my Mother was the Champagne Lady of the Lawrence Welk Orchestra, performing under the name Jayne Walton. This was in the years before and during World War II. She later worked as a solo artist. When I came along, she retired from full-time singing but occasionally guested on Welk's TV show and in concerts.

Sometime in 1969 or 1970, Welk played a date in San Antonio. My Mom and I met him at the airport and were whisked away with him in a limousine to the home of San Antonio Mayor W. W. McAllister. That night, at the concert, I believe my Mom sang a few tunes, including the one that was most identified with her and the band, Maria Elena.

Around the time of the show, Welk had a bit of a hit record called Chee Chee Kookaroo. The story line, such as it was, involved a man who 'fell in love with a native girl who lived in a bamboo hut.' He married her and 'became a native king. And every night in the pale moonlight, the birds began to sing.'

The song the birds sang was 'Chee Chee Kookaroo.' Several times the song would pause as someone would intone the high-pitched squeal of 'kaw kaw, chee chee kookaroo.'

That night at the concert, the MC duties fell upon Bob Pearson (he later changed it to Pearsun) of KITE. His 'other' responsibilities that night included providing the squawk. Bob had a beautiful baritone voice, ideally suited to radio. However, he reached up several octaves and successfully produced the essential screech, many times over.

Sometime after the concert, Bob 'flew the coop for Houston.'

Click here to listen to Chee Chee Kookaroo.

Dan Rosen

Woody Roberts Notes: Bob Pearson also worked at KONO in 1965. I remember his deep voice, black horn-rimmed (somewhat thick-lensed) glasses and that he was a photography buff.

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