The Aragon was best known as the hall where Lawrence Welk and his big band, the "Champagne Music Makers," parlayed a scheduled four-week engagement in the spring of 1951 into a ten-year stint and a legendary television show. Welk's orchestra played to crowds numbering as high as 7,000. Klaus Landsberg, the manager of ABC affiliate KTLA, offered Lawrence Welk the opportunity to appear on television. On May 11, 1951, KTLA began broadcasting a weekly show live from the Aragon featuring Welk's big band. The show evolved into The Lawrence Welk Show, broadcast each Saturday night on ABC and later in syndication for more than three decades.
The opening date of the Venice Beach Aragon is unclear, and may be lost to the ages. Welk left the Aragon in 1955 and moved "The Lawrence Welk Show" to a television studio in Hollywood. The Aragon soon went into decline. It was demolished sometime in the 1960s.
Venice Beach: Showtime USA! If You're after Peace and Quiet, Venice Beach, Los Angeles Is Probably Not for You. but If You're Looking for a Neverending Carnival ... Photographs by Martin Salter. Words by Andrew Gumbel
Jun 12, 1999; "So what do you do for a living?" asks the man in the Hawaiian shirt and reflector shades to his neighbour at the Sidewalk Cafe....