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Larry Lehmer
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From its earliest moments as a national show, it was obvious that the teenagers dancing on American Bandstand would be copied by teens across the land who wanted not only to dance like the kids from Philadelphia, but to look like them, too. Fortunately for parents across the country, Dick... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Bandstand Beat
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1959 Once it became obvious that the ripples from the emerging congressional investigation into disc jockey payola threatened to swamp American Bandstand, the network’s daytime programming jewel, ABC-TV network officials came to a critical decision — someone would have to keep an eye on Dick Clark down there in Philadelphia.... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Bandstand Beat
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It was not easy to get into American Bandstand. Once the show went national, long lines of eager teenage dancers formed outside the studio doors before showtime -- boys on one side, girls on the other. Although care was taken to admit roughly the same number from either gender, it... Continue reading
Posted Jan 23, 2015 at Bandstand Beat
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Tony Verna, who died Sunday at age 81, gained national fame as the creator of the instant sports replay but, if things had worked out a bit differently, he could have put his creative skills at work on Bandstand, where he worked briefly in the show's early days. Verna, a... Continue reading
Posted Jan 20, 2015 at Bandstand Beat
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Dick Clark was pretty much all business when he took over Bandstand in 1956 but, as time went on, he developed a laid-back personable style that allowed him to make light of situations that could have been catastrophic in the hands of a less-deft host. Like when a record would... Continue reading
Posted Jan 16, 2015 at Bandstand Beat
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1956 “Want to buy a lion cub?” Bob Horn paused just slightly to consider the question before responding. “That’s a helluva idea. I wonder what one costs?” Tony Mammarella was half-kidding when he brought up the question, which was prompted from an ad placed in Billboard magazine by a Louisiana... Continue reading
Posted Jan 13, 2015 at Bandstand Beat
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One of American Bandstand's most enduring influences was how it sparked nationwide interest in dances (think the Stroll and the Twist). Teenagers from Miami to Seattle, Boston to Los Angeles and all points in between wanted to do those dances they saw their favorite Philadelphia teens doing on TV. And... Continue reading
Posted Jan 9, 2015 at Bandstand Beat
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Summer, 1956 By late summer, local viewers started to take notice of the young dancers on Bandstand, writing them fan mail that was often distributed on air. Within a month of Dick Clark’s ascension to the Bandstand podium, the show made local TV history when Billboard reported that WFIL-TV “became... Continue reading
Posted Jan 6, 2015 at Bandstand Beat
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I see that Iowa is planning to issue digital drivers licenses so people can carry them in their smart phones instead of in their wallets. Seems like a dumb idea to me. Those flimsy paper license they typed up at the DMV when I was a teenager probably weren't such... Continue reading
Posted Dec 30, 2014 at Life In the Slow Lane
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Today, a few more tidbits about Dick Clark and the Philadelphia years of American Bandstand. Hopefully, you'll discover something new and interesting here. Also, if you have any stories to share about your own Bandstand experience or have something you'd like to know about the show, let me know. I... Continue reading
Posted Dec 19, 2014 at Bandstand Beat
Journalism is in trouble. OK, I'll admit, that's not really news. Anyone who has witnessed the de-evolution of cable "news" or has followed the gutting of newspapers around the country has some sense of what's going on. But I suspect it's even worse than imagined. The very core of American... Continue reading
Posted Dec 18, 2014 at Life In the Slow Lane
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Although Dick Clark lacked the requisite skills to be a performer on a network musical show, his appearance on Pat Boone’s Chevy Showroom on January 2, 1958, nevertheless proved memorable. Clark brought along Danny and the Juniors, whose At the Hop was the No.1 song in the country. Coupled with... Continue reading
Posted Dec 16, 2014 at Bandstand Beat
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Today, a few more tidbits about the Philadelphia years of American Bandstand. Hopefully, you'll discover something new and interesting here. Also, if you have any stories to share about your own Bandstand experience or have something you'd like to know about the show, let me know. I look forward to... Continue reading
Posted Dec 12, 2014 at Bandstand Beat
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To many people, Cameo and Swan were the same company. Indeed, the labels shared office space in the same Locust Street building in the late 1950s and Swan’s first LP release — Treasure Chest of Hits — included just five songs that were Swan singles while including six Cameo releases... Continue reading
Posted Dec 9, 2014 at Bandstand Beat
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Today, instead of posting an excerpt from my work-in-progress book, Bandstandland, which covers the Philadelphia years of America's historic teenage dancing program, I'm giving you a few tidbits about the show. Hopefully, you'll discover something new and interesting here. Also, if you have any stories to share about your own... Continue reading
Posted Dec 5, 2014 at Bandstand Beat
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1959 Instead of spending the evening of his seventh wedding anniversary with his wife, Dick Clark spent the night mingling with musicians while presenting The Record Years in prime time on ABC-TV, which was described as a “tribute to the recording industry.” Lip-syncing was the order of the day for... Continue reading
Posted Dec 2, 2014 at Bandstand Beat
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Pamela Beasley was upset. While watching American Bandstand from her home in the small town of Madisonville, Texas, shortly after the show went national she couldn’t believe what she was hearing: some kids on the show debating which city was the capital of Florida. “I was just outraged that these... Continue reading
Posted Nov 26, 2014 at Bandstand Beat
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Not everyone was convinced that WFIL-TV’s new venture would be a hit. Indeed, some referred to the launching of Bandstand as “FIL’s Folly.” Station manager George Koehler described the show merely as “a time eater,” a generous description according to other staffers. “The people in the studio thought this was... Continue reading
Posted Nov 19, 2014 at Bandstand Beat
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By the time WFIL-TV made the move into its new studio in early 1949, general manager Roger Clipp’s programming was coming together. He persuaded Temple University professor John Roberts to do newscasts and Walt Maguire handled the sports duties. The new studio included a kitchen where the accident-prone Mary Durante... Continue reading
Posted Nov 12, 2014 at Bandstand Beat
One of the most common rationalizations I hear from people for not preserving their own family history is that "My family isn't all that interesting." Are you sure? Truth is, most families have a very interesting history and just don't... Continue reading
Posted Nov 6, 2014 at Passing It On
Summer 1956 Staying current with the contemporary music scene was a laborious process for the new Bandstand team of Dick Clark and producer Tony Mammarella. Fortunately, Philadelphia had a flourishing radio market they could tap into, especially WDAS and WHAT. Shortly after buying WDAS in 1950, owner Max Leon oversaw... Continue reading
Posted Nov 5, 2014 at Bandstand Beat
Dick Clark’s first day at WFIL was May 13, 1952; Bobbi Mallery was to graduate from college in early June. The couple decided to get married in Salisbury, Md., on June 28. While Bobbi worked out the wedding details, including buying her own wedding ring, Clark took up residence in... Continue reading
Posted Oct 29, 2014 at Bandstand Beat
It started with a simple question: "Are there any politicians you admire?" It came from a fellow Timely Talker, a member of a discussion group my wife, Linda, and I attend each week. I had been grousing about how politicians in Washington no longer represent the people whose votes put... Continue reading
Posted Sep 17, 2014 at Life In the Slow Lane
For Pete's sake. How sad is it that Americans, with their hundreds of cable channels, have to go to Al Jazeera America to get international news outside of the traditional evening TV network news windows? Cable news, which once held such promise to inform and educate, has spiraled into its... Continue reading
Posted Mar 13, 2014 at Life In the Slow Lane
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There was a time a few years back when I was dissatisfied with my job. Actually, the job was OK, but the company I worked for was one of those mega-corporations that had gobbled up a family-owned enterprise and was milking it for all it was work, funneling profits to... Continue reading
Posted Feb 21, 2014 at Life In the Slow Lane