Eddie Peabody (born today in 1902) was known as the “King of the Banjo” and the “Happiness Boy”. A Massachusetts native, he broke into vaudeville after being released from naval service at the end of World War One, and played the circuits throughout the 20s and 30s. The balance of his 50 year career was spent in nightclubs, film spots and television. He died onstage during a performance in Kentucky in 1970.
To find out more about the history of vaudeville, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.
Fantastic performance. Like you, I would have found the background corny as a youngster. But Welk was had some pretty amazing talents on his show, Nick Lucas and Johnny Hodges coming to mind. In Canada in the early ’70s, there was a talk show, The Pierre Berton Show, hosted by Berton, one of Canada’s more colourful broadcasters/historians. He interviewed Welk, who claimed that he was an avid marijuana smoker. Welk mentioned that he smoked it before he realized that it was contraband. After he found out, he never turned back and he and the band did smoke up. Often. That adds a strange angle to the champagne bubble motif.
My wife & I saw Peabody in Fresno in 1959. What a great show and showman!