Lennon Sisters Show, The

The Lennon Sisters were four toothy young ladies — Dianne, Peggy, Kathy and Janet — who became famous singing on The Lawrence Welk Show. How they got on that series is one of the simplest “rocket to stardom” stories in the history of show business. Lawrence Welk’s son Larry went to school with them and told his father about these sisters who were such fine vocalists. The elder Welk auditioned them and quickly added them to his “musical family,” which meant they got a lot of television exposure but not the highest paychecks.

They appeared on the Welk show from 1955 to 1968 when they decided it was time to do bigger, better-paying jobs. They’d had several successful record albums and this prompted ABC to star them in a special with special guest Jimmy Durante. (That was how Jimmy always spelled it despite the type on the above ticket.) The special did well enough to lead to a weekly series that began in September of 1969. It was called Jimmy Durante Presents The Lennon Sisters Hour.

The series began on a sad note: Six weeks before debut date, the father of the Lennon Sisters was shot to death in a parking lot. The shooter was a deranged fan who believed he was married to Peggy Lennon, and that the father was attempting to break them up. Perhaps that contributed to the low entertainment value of the series, which was cancelled in mid-season.