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Yesterday in La Crosse

We tiptoed through the tulips at a televised wedding, 50 years ago

Brad Williams

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Tiny Tim was getting married at Christmas-time, 50 years ago.   And by Tiny Tim, we don’t mean the little boy in the Charles Dickens story.  This was the long-haired, ukulele-playing Tiny Tim, a singer who became famous for performing “Tiptoe Through the Tulips” on the “Laugh-In” TV show.  In December of 1969, about 45 million people stayed up late on a Wednesday night to watch Tim marry his teenage fiancee Miss Vicki on the “Tonight Show.”  Johnny Carson had invited Tim and Vicki to have the wedding ceremony on his talk show.   

A much more private wedding was planned in Minnesota that month, between a former monk and a former nun.  Gregory Robertson was a former president of St. Mary’s College in Winona, and he would marry an ex-nun named Maura Coughlan.   

Neill Armstrong was coaching football that fall.  Not the Armstrong who walked on the moon that year.  This Neill Armstrong was hired as an assistant coach by the Minnesota Vikings after resigning as head coach of a Canadian Football League team.  The Vikings were headed to the Super Bowl for the first time, Super Bowl number Four, against Kansas City.  It was the last Super Bowl before the AFL merged with the NFL.   

Mary Lynn Rash was named the “Best Dressed Coed” for 1969 at La Crosse State College.  Rash won the honor from among a group of 10 female students, judged for their appearance in casual, school, and formal clothes.  The judges were local clothing retailers and university staff members.

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