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Old March 1st, 2011, 02:19 PM
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Default What ever happened to the variety show?

Lawrence Welk, Donny & Marie, Sha Na Na, Solid Gold .... i've watched them all.

I remember watching these as a kid and loving the "performances".

I guess American Idol and Late Night TV is as good as it gets these days.

What were your favorite variety shows? Mine was probably .... Donny & Marie.
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Old March 1st, 2011, 02:33 PM
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Take a trip to Vegas..Donnie and Marie are sellouts,and have revamped their show to be fresh again.....I liked them as a kid..but, I would rather go see, Bette, Cher or Celine, who is coming back in a few weeks ofr a 3 year deal..

The Carol Burnett show,and Sonny & Cher.... shows I enjoyed..
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Old March 1st, 2011, 04:57 PM
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The Flip Wilson Show
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Old March 1st, 2011, 04:59 PM
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Anyone remember Shingaling? What was that great woman character flip Wilson played? I loved him...
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Old March 1st, 2011, 05:52 PM
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Trip ... we stopped going to Vegas because cruising was cheaper!

I loved the Flip Wilson show .... I can't remember for sure, but the name Geraldine comes to mind. Was that it?
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Old March 1st, 2011, 06:42 PM
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Yes that was it!! My Grandmother loved Lawrence Welk,and the Liberace show..I didn't like either one....She spoke only French,and she would sing along, to beat the band! She also liked wrestling..omg!
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Old March 1st, 2011, 08:54 PM
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Just the other day I watched a clip (You Tube) on facebook, taken from the Smothers Brothers variety show. The brothers were singing round robin style with Peter Paul & Mary, and Donovan, wonderful old folk songs. The folkies were fantastic and the Smothers were hilarious. Man I miss those kind of shows!

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Old March 1st, 2011, 08:58 PM
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Geraldine was Flip Wilson's character.

I enjoyed the Dean Martin Show, Carol Burnett and Ed Sullivan.

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Old March 1st, 2011, 09:56 PM
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My favorites were :

Your Hit Parade
Ed Sullivan Show

These days reality shows are in vogue
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Old March 2nd, 2011, 08:34 AM
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My favorites were:

Lawrence Welk (still watch the re-runs on PBS on Saturday evenings)
Flip Wilson
Carol Burnett
The Ed Sullivan Show
At Linkletter's Houseparty (I guess that would qualify)
Dean Martin

Todd
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Old March 2nd, 2011, 11:46 AM
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i liked watching Donny & Marie, Carol Burnett, Sony & Cher, Tony Orlando & Dawn, Glenn Campbell and Laugh-In
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Old March 2nd, 2011, 12:47 PM
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I was too young for Ed Sullivan, and i don't recall Dean Martin having a show (probably before my time!).

I did enjoy the Smothers Brothers though. I was never a real fan of Carol Burnett, not sure why. I think I mostly enjoyed the shows which had a musical component.

I think it was the combination of music and comedy along with the odd variety act that did it for me.

I wish they would bring Wayne Brady to network television with this sytle of show. He's be great at hosting a variety show.
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Old March 2nd, 2011, 08:52 PM
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Carol Burnett was asked that question at a seminar I attended a few years ago.

"Way too expensive," was her answer. Mind you, she was talking about REAL variety shows, not glorified amateur hours like American Idol or even the kind of shows Lawrence Welk and Mitch Miller used to do--which were just bands and singers playing and singing.

No, she was talking about real variety shows, like Dean Martin, Smothers Bros., Garry Moore, Flip Wilson, Andy Williams, Ed Sullivan (sort of), Red Buttons, Sid and Imogene (Your Show of Shows), Uncle Miltie, and of course, Carol Burnett.

With honest-to-goodness variety shows you spend a fortune on sets, costumes, writing, music clearances, orchestrations, orchestras (or at least pretty decent-sized bands) and top-name talent week after week. Big money, which the networks are not willing to spend when they can run amateur singers, dancers, whatever, out on the same stage night after night and let them do their best--for pennies on the dollar.

Plus, Carol would never say this, but I will: assuming you wanted to do a variety show, where will you find people with the grace of a Garry Moore, the world-class comic genius of a Carol Burnett, the unblelievable writers from Your Show of Shows (Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner, Selma Diamond, Neil Simon, and others of that ilk all in the same bloody room writing a TV show!). No, we shall not pass that way again. TV was young and brave then, and it had visionary leaders like my old friend and colleague Frank Stanton, who honestly believed that the phrase "Thank you for allowing us to come into your homes" really meant something. That was an expression of the serious responsibility that early broadcasters felt for their audiences.

Just the ravings of an old fool, I suppose. But maybe not. After all, we still have those old tapes and kinescopes to help make the point. I'll watch those.

In any case, you're not going to see any new variety shows of the kind we remember so fondly. Not gonna happen.
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Old March 2nd, 2011, 10:04 PM
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For most of my generation, we had a tv that had legs...if we were lucky we then moved on up to the console...One tv...not one in every room,and many times one person controlled what we watched.

The picture rolled, and the test pattern came on late at night. You had to adjust the rabbit ears with tin foil,and the remote when it came out had 2 buttons Those were the days..maybe with rose colored glasses
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Old March 3rd, 2011, 10:49 AM
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Quote:
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Carol Burnett was asked that question at a seminar I attended a few years ago.

"Way too expensive," was her answer. Mind you, she was talking about REAL variety shows, not glorified amateur hours like American Idol or even the kind of shows Lawrence Welk and Mitch Miller used to do--which were just bands and singers playing and singing.

No, she was talking about real variety shows, like Dean Martin, Smothers Bros., Garry Moore, Flip Wilson, Andy Williams, Ed Sullivan (sort of), Red Buttons, Sid and Imogene (Your Show of Shows), Uncle Miltie, and of course, Carol Burnett.

With honest-to-goodness variety shows you spend a fortune on sets, costumes, writing, music clearances, orchestrations, orchestras (or at least pretty decent-sized bands) and top-name talent week after week. Big money, which the networks are not willing to spend when they can run amateur singers, dancers, whatever, out on the same stage night after night and let them do their best--for pennies on the dollar.

Plus, Carol would never say this, but I will: assuming you wanted to do a variety show, where will you find people with the grace of a Garry Moore, the world-class comic genius of a Carol Burnett, the unblelievable writers from Your Show of Shows (Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner, Selma Diamond, Neil Simon, and others of that ilk all in the same bloody room writing a TV show!). No, we shall not pass that way again. TV was young and brave then, and it had visionary leaders like my old friend and colleague Frank Stanton, who honestly believed that the phrase "Thank you for allowing us to come into your homes" really meant something. That was an expression of the serious responsibility that early broadcasters felt for their audiences.
Just the ravings of an old fool, I suppose. But maybe not. After all, we still have those old tapes and kinescopes to help make the point. I'll watch those.

In any case, you're not going to see any new variety shows of the kind we remember so fondly. Not gonna happen.
Not an old fool, and your certainly not rambling. In fact, the bolded sentences above very much struck a chord with me.
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Old March 3rd, 2011, 10:57 AM
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Quote:
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For most of my generation, we had a tv that had legs...if we were lucky we then moved on up to the console...One tv...not one in every room,and many times one person controlled what we watched.

The picture rolled, and the test pattern came on late at night. You had to adjust the rabbit ears with tin foil,and the remote when it came out had 2 buttons Those were the days..maybe with rose colored glasses

You know Trip, its funny. I find myself thinking back to my childhood, and then feeling sorry for my kids that they won't experience life the way I did. But then I think of all the opportunities that they have today and what greater things they may achieve in life because of the opportunity that technology gives them.
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Old March 3rd, 2011, 11:03 AM
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Queen, sadly, the kids today,literally don't know what they are missing. The outisde fun we had as kids,is a total unknown factor today. Technology has taken over to the extreme. The sense of having fun, is totally different today

Technology is a wonderful tool to send us forward in so many ways, but at the expense sometimes, of a child, just being a child.
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Old March 3rd, 2011, 11:20 AM
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This is why TV Variety shows died - one of the last ones (1980) was called:

Pink Lady and Jeff:
Pink Lady And Jeff: The Last, Worst Variety Series Bought To The USA In 1980 By NBC President Fred Silverman, Who Found Out Too Late That This Japanese Singing Duo Didn't Understand A Word Of English.

"... fans of the early video movement (pre-MTV) will enjoy this because of the vintage Blondie (Shayla and Eat To The Beat), Alice Cooper (Clones) and Cheap Trick (Dream Police) music videos on here."

"There's no doubt about it that this is hands down one of the worst variety shows ever made. It make the Brady Bunch Variety Hour look like an Emmy award-winning masterpiece."

"Everytime I begin to ***** about how bad television is today, I just put this on, and suddenly I am so glad that some thirty years separate myself from this radioactive excrement that smells so badly I have to put on a DVD of "My Mother the Car" to clean the place up."

"There's not much to be said about this set except that it is truly awful and worth every penny."

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Old March 3rd, 2011, 01:30 PM
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Quote:
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Queen, sadly, the kids today,literally don't know what they are missing. The outisde fun we had as kids,is a total unknown factor today. Technology has taken over to the extreme. The sense of having fun, is totally different today

Technology is a wonderful tool to send us forward in so many ways, but at the expense sometimes, of a child, just being a child.

BUT, times have changed. When we were kids, we could run freely around our neighbourhoods, walk several blocks on our own ... heck, I walked over 1 mile to go to school by myself at 6 years old. Today, I would NEVER, EVER, EVER, in a million years let my 5 year old out of my eyesight. There are a whole new world of predators out there. I'm not saying this is the case for every child; but some kids are kept in side for their safety. In the summer, my kids get 1-2 hours of supervised play at the park with their friends. But I cannot imagine, just letting my child come and go; as my brothers and I did 35 years ago. So, when we keep them locked in doors .... technology serves its purpose! [not suggesting that my kids watch tv/internet as their only indoor activity!]
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Old March 3rd, 2011, 09:08 PM
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In my opinion, Carol Burnett wins by a mile. The skits and guest were absolutely outstanding. Her regulars were beyond funny,,,,they were hilarious! I simply can't think of any show before, or since that was that good.

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Old March 3rd, 2011, 10:22 PM
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i was much more intoo music, but I liked Laugh-in, Smother's Brothers, and when I was young I reallu loved Red Skelton and Danny kaye.

Your Show of Shows was ahead of my time, but I imagine ot was just hilarious for its day.
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Old March 3rd, 2011, 10:28 PM
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Laugh In and the Smothers Brothers were great .I have a Smothers Brothers LP from the early 60's but unfortunately the last of my turntables just stopped functioning .
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Old March 3rd, 2011, 10:31 PM
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When Gary Moore had his morning show, it was sponsored by Lipton Tea. His co star was Denise Lorr,and they had a promotion to get a set of teacups,fashioned with faces, supposed to be them...As a tea lover my Mom raced to get them.

In later years, not being a saver,she got rid of them.I was very sad...I saw them at a flea market, and, jumped on them,and they are dear to my heart.
We both loved that show...
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Old March 3rd, 2011, 10:36 PM
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When Gary Moore had his morning show, it was sponsored by Lipton Tea. His co star was Denise Lorr,and they had a promotion to get a set of teacups,fashioned with faces, supposed to be them...As a tea lover my Mom raced to get them.

In later years, not being a saver,she got rid of them.I was very sad...I saw them at a flea market, and, jumped on them,and they are dear to my heart.
We both loved that show...
In the 1930's ,movie theaters in NYC had dish night .Every wednesday if you paid your ten cents admission to a movie you came home with a saucer ,cup ,etc .

That was before my time
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Old March 3rd, 2011, 11:05 PM
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Henry,

The dish give away was popular in cities and towns throughout the US during the same period. It's well before my time as well but being somewhat of a nostalgia buff, I read Reminisce, Reminisce Extra, The Good Old Days and Looking Back

When I first started with Reminisce years ago, most of the stuff was either before my time or when I was awfully young. But time flies and as I'll be 64 on the 11th, more and more of the stories (all those magazines are either completely or mostly reader written) are ones which which I can totally relate.

For folks our age such publications can become addictive.

Todd
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Old March 3rd, 2011, 11:17 PM
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I had the pleasure of working with Garry Moore and Arthur Godfrey on various projects. We can't leave Godfrey's Wednesday night show out of the pantheon of classic variety shows. Ironically, he also did the Talent Scouts show on Tuesday nights in the 50s, which along with Ted Mack's Amateur Hour were the shows from which the tarted up American Idol was spawned. Mack inherited the show from a guy named Major Bowes who did it on radio.

The thing about Godfrey and Moore that many don't remember was that they were among broadcasting's "iron men." Godfrey had a morning show, plus the Talent Scouts plus the variety show ("Arthur Godfrey and his Friends"). To this day he remains the only performer in the history of television to preside over three top-rated shows simultaneously. Somebody figured out that he was on the air LIVE some eight hours a week. (The morning show was simulcast on CBS radio, and if memory serves it was a half-hour longer than the TV version.) On top of that, for a while he did a 15-minute filler show on CBS where he gave ukulele lessons. He was far more popular (adjusting for population and sets in use) than Oprah ever dreamed of being, and he appealed to a much broader demographic. And could that man sell soup!

Of course, Godfrey was already doing his show on radio with great success when TV came along. Once, after a recording session, we repaired to his place for wine and conversation and I asked him if making the transition to TV was hard for him. He said it was brutal. He told me that at first he insisted that the cameras be put in the balcony of the theater because "I didn't want anything getting between me and my people." Eventually of course, like all TV performers, he had to make his peace with treating the camera as a person. Recently a friend gave me a DVD of one of Godfrey's Talent Scouts programs--it was in fact the night the McGuire Sisters were on the show for their first nationwide shot that launched their careers. I was fascinated to see that even then, Godfrey played more to the studio audience than to the cameras. Not many could get away with that, but he did. Of course, the medium was young and everybody was still feeling their way along.

Same story with Garry Moore. He had a daytime show as Trip points out, and he had the nighttime variety show, and he hosted the "I've Got a Secret" quizzer. Later, he did "To Tell the Truth."

These guys and others like them were giants. We owe them so much.
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Old March 3rd, 2011, 11:50 PM
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AR,

I'm glad you wrote again as one can't PM you. You might well be able to help me. My grandmother, following the death of her second husband, sold around '50 or '51, a very opulent and very large home they custom built in the late forties. Built of stone, surropunded with stone walls, a massive patio and constructed in a heavily wooded area at the top of a hill on fifteen acres outside of Carmel, New York, one of the big names in early TV desperately wanted to buy it. The home had it's name (Blueberry Hill) in Bronze plaques set in stone on either side of the entrance (the plaques were long gone) when back in the late seventies my late Aunt visited us in Dutchess County from Florida and took us to it. She got me to drive all the up the drive and as it turned out the home was at the time unoccupied and probably for sale because it was in excellent condition (at least from the outside). I also have an album of formal photographs of the inside taken at the time of completion and furnishment.

Unknown to the public, the TV personality had suffered polio (a la Roosevelt) and while he could walk after a fashion, he could not negotiate the climb required up stone steps to actually get to not only the house but also because of the nature of the terrain from the parking area as well as, if I remember correctly, something about being unable to build an airstrip. I can't for the life of me remember now who it was but I did know. I think it may have been Garry Moore. If not Garry, it was someone of that same stature and era. You may well know if Garry (or absent he, someone) who had such a handicap about which the public was unaware.

Hopefully, you may be able to help me solve my conundrum.

Thanks,

TDH
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Old March 4th, 2011, 12:49 AM
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I had the pleasure of working with Garry Moore and Arthur Godfrey on various projects. We can't leave Godfrey's Wednesday night show out of the pantheon of classic variety shows. Ironically, he also did the Talent Scouts show on Tuesday nights in the 50s, which along with Ted Mack's Amateur Hour were the shows from which the tarted up American Idol was spawned. Mack inherited the show from a guy named Major Bowes who did it on radio.

The thing about Godfrey and Moore that many don't remember was that they were among broadcasting's "iron men." Godfrey had a morning show, plus the Talent Scouts plus the variety show ("Arthur Godfrey and his Friends"). To this day he remains the only performer in the history of television to preside over three top-rated shows simultaneously. Somebody figured out that he was on the air LIVE some eight hours a week. (The morning show was simulcast on CBS radio, and if memory serves it was a half-hour longer than the TV version.) On top of that, for a while he did a 15-minute filler show on CBS where he gave ukulele lessons. He was far more popular (adjusting for population and sets in use) than Oprah ever dreamed of being, and he appealed to a much broader demographic. And could that man sell soup!

Of course, Godfrey was already doing his show on radio with great success when TV came along. Once, after a recording session, we repaired to his place for wine and conversation and I asked him if making the transition to TV was hard for him. He said it was brutal. He told me that at first he insisted that the cameras be put in the balcony of the theater because "I didn't want anything getting between me and my people." Eventually of course, like all TV performers, he had to make his peace with treating the camera as a person. Recently a friend gave me a DVD of one of Godfrey's Talent Scouts programs--it was in fact the night the McGuire Sisters were on the show for their first nationwide shot that launched their careers. I was fascinated to see that even then, Godfrey played more to the studio audience than to the cameras. Not many could get away with that, but he did. Of course, the medium was young and everybody was still feeling their way along.

Same story with Garry Moore. He had a daytime show as Trip points out, and he had the nighttime variety show, and he hosted the "I've Got a Secret" quizzer. Later, he did "To Tell the Truth."

These guys and others like them were giants. We owe them so much.
The Horn and Hardarts Children's Hour hosted by Ed Herlihy was also a forerunner of American Idol . I was a contestant on that show but did not get air time .
Re Arthur Godfrey ,yes he was an innovator but there were also the scandals involving the firing of Julius Larosa and the alledged anti-semitism .
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Old March 4th, 2011, 11:00 AM
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Todd--

I'll do a little research and see what I can find. It certainly wasn't Garry Moore; he had no orthopedic problems. My best guess is that it was probably Bill Cullen, who clearly did have mobility problems, which he didn't particularly try to hide on the air (although some accommodation was always made). He hosted many Goodson-Todman quizzers like the original Price Is Right and a boatload of others.

Let me see what I can find out.
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Old March 4th, 2011, 12:43 PM
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Quote:
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When Gary Moore had his morning show, it was sponsored by Lipton Tea. His co star was Denise Lorr,and they had a promotion to get a set of teacups,fashioned with faces, supposed to be them...As a tea lover my Mom raced to get them.

In later years, not being a saver,she got rid of them.I was very sad...I saw them at a flea market, and, jumped on them,and they are dear to my heart.
We both loved that show...

Trip, not quite the same thing .... but red rose tea (only in Canada, pity!) [okay, that was for the Canadians] used to have little stone figurines in every box of tea. I remember as kids, fighting to see who got to search for the figurine. We had 100's of them (we drank a lot of tea!). My mom had these in her curio cabinet. Worthless for sure, and I always thought she would divide these amongst us kids one day. A few years ago, when preparing to move from one home to another, she threw them all out. I was so upset. Every now and then, I will see these at flea markets, and contemplate rebuilding the collection.
__________________

Royal Oasis of the Seas - 2013 {pending}
Disney Fantasy - 2013
Disney Dream - 2012
Royal Freedom of the Seas - 2011
HAL Eurodam - 2011
Royal Grandeur of the Seas - 2010
Carnival Dream - 2010
Grand Princess - 2002
Royal Voyageur of the Seas - 2000
Royal Sovereign of the Seas - 1999
Carnival Ecstacy - 1991

Last edited by Queen of Oakville; March 4th, 2011 at 12:48 PM.
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