Bill Rancic Defends His Wife Giuliana After Fashion Police Controversy: 'I Tried to Get Them to Release the Footage' 41 years, 2,189 covers and 55,436 stories from PEOPLE magazine's history for you to enjoy
- VIDEO: Why Bethenny Frankel Hates Tinder
- Read the Cover Story: The Kennedy Family's Darkest Secret
- Blake Lively Shares Funny Gym Photo, Says Her Trainer Knows 'How to Kick My Butt'
- Baby on the Way for So You Think You Can Dance Host Cat Deeley
- Queen Elizabeth 'Lights Up' When She's Around Prince Philip: Inside Their Amazing 68-Year Romance
On Newsstands Now
- Matthew McConaughey: In His Own Words
- Jessa Duggar's Wedding Album
- Brittany Maynard's Final Days
Pick up your copy on newsstands
Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine
People Top 5
LAST UPDATE: Tuesday February 10, 2015 01:10PM EST
PEOPLE Top 5 are the most-viewed stories on the site over the past three days, updated every 60 minutes
- January 06, 1986
- Vol. 25
- No. 1
Heeere's Vlasta! A Polka Queen Who Can Roll Out the Charm
But wait a minute. Vlasta is Czech. For another thing, that was indeed Vlasta plugging in the mike for her accordion, twirling around in her century-old traditional costume and barreling through a rousing rendition of The Johnny Carson Polka recently on The Tonight Show.
Vlasta's showbiz career began in Central Europe in the late 1930s when, billed as "The Shirley Temple of Czechoslovakia," she starred in some 20 feature films. Emigrating to the U.S. after World War II with her mother and brother, Vlasta settled in Chicago, married her beau, Jan, at 16 and raised two children while working in an appliance factory. When the boss laid her off, Jan told her: "Vlasta, go do your dream." And do her dream she did, thanks to an ingenuous talent for self-promotion.
In 1979 she cut her first record: The Pope John Paul II Polka, in honor of the pontiff's visit to Chicago. Six years later she sent a copy of The Happy Birthday President Reagan Polka to the White House. When Reagan visited Chicago Heights last June, sure enough, she was invited to serenade the President.
When Vlasta saw that it was time "to bring polka out from the ethnic radios," she gave the world The Deejay Polka, which Steve Dahl, a wacky FM-radio personality, quickly adopted as his theme song. Dahl invited Vlasta to play at rock clubs, fronting his band Teenage Radiation.
Then came The Johnny Carson Polka.
Dubbing their campaign "Vlasta Aid," Chicago deejays Jeff Elliott and Jerry St. James urged listeners to write Carson's producers, who agreed to have Vlasta on after seeing a P.M. Magazine segment in which she said, "You can't get higher. That's my dream: to appear on Johnny Carson."
The reality was a payoff, says Vlasta, for all those years of "shlepping the bars, often playing for nothing, playing even flea markets." She's not one to apologize for her success. But she does occasionally marvel at it: "I never thought I'd have enough marbles in my head to do all this."
September 03, 2015
Treat Yourself! 4 Preview Issues
The most buzzed about stars this minute!