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Larry Lehmer
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I wrote earlier this week about Pat Molittierri's dismissal as an American Bandstand regular for writing a column in 'Teen magazine. Dick Clark wasn't fond of 'Teen, but he was fine with plenty of the other fan magazines around, particularly 16. You'll be able to read plenty about Clark's cozy... Continue reading
Posted 15 hours ago at Bandstand Beat
Have you written a letter lately? A personal letter, that is. Not a letter of complaint. Not a thank you note. Not a Christmas letter. And not an electronic one. A real, honest-to-goodness, pen-to-paper retelling of details of your life... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Passing It On
It should not have surprised Dick Clark that one of American Bandstand’s most popular dancers would pop up in a magazine aimed at teenagers. Teen magazines were hot in 1959 and no teens were hotter than those Bandstand kids that most of America could watch from the comfort of their... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Bandstand Beat
When Dick Clark was growing up, he found a hero. He didn't have to look far. He was right across the room, in the bedroom they shared. Bradley Clark was everything Dick Clark wasn't as World War II unfolded, well beyond their comfortable home in Mount Vernon, N.Y. Dick Clark... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Bandstand Beat
Summer, 1956 In the weeks following Bob Horn’s arrest, WFIL executives wrestled with every decision related to Bandstand. Two things were clear, however — Horn was out and the show would go on. Despite Horn’s skills as a hit-maker and his authoritative on-air persona, he was far from a beloved... Continue reading
Posted Mar 17, 2015 at Bandstand Beat
Bob and Justine. Kenny and Arlene. Eddie and Bunny. These are just a few of the better known couples who regularly appeared on American Bandstand. There are many more, of course, but today I want to reflect on some people who once stood in the Bandstand spotlight but are not... Continue reading
Posted Mar 13, 2015 at Bandstand Beat
It was obvious to Bandstand’s young viewers that the dancers were the true stars of the show. To non-regulars who attended the show, the camaraderie among the regulars was abundantly clear. “Some of the regulars back then just seemed like they were, what’s the kind word to say, snobbish?” says... Continue reading
Posted Mar 10, 2015 at Bandstand Beat
American Bandstand has never been quite able to elevate from its small-screen glory to full feature film status, although it's come close in some cinematically curious ways. For one thing, there was National Bandstand on Grease (which also featured Rydell High). Then there was the Corny Collins Show in Hairspray,... Continue reading
Posted Mar 6, 2015 at Bandstand Beat
As Bandstand’s popularity with viewers grew, it went through the growing pains of success. For Hank Latven, it meant new duties. Latven was a relative newcomer to the WFIL-TV staff in 1953. The ex-Marine had returned to his native city after attending college in Alabama and was lucky enough to... Continue reading
Posted Mar 3, 2015 at Bandstand Beat
It was almost a maxim in American rock music during American Bandstand's Philadelphia years: If you wanted to go anywhere in the business, you had to be on the show. Dick Clark's star-making potential was widely known. His business associates were also aware of his skills as a "cunning capitalist,"... Continue reading
Posted Feb 27, 2015 at Bandstand Beat
History, the kind I learned in school, wasn't usually my favorite subject. Memorizing dates, names and places tended to be dry and tedious exercises, unless there was an interesting story attached. Family histories are different. Their relevance is easier to... Continue reading
Posted Feb 25, 2015 at Passing It On
Buoyed by his experience in shaping At the Hop for Danny and the Juniors, Dick Clark tested his influence with another group before the end of 1957. Earlier in the year, Clark had noticed that the dancers on Bandstand did an unusual, slow-moving line dance to C.C. Rider by Chuck... Continue reading
Posted Feb 24, 2015 at Bandstand Beat
I recently wrote about The Buddy Deane Show, a Baltimore TV teen dance show that preempted American Bandstand in that market. There were dozens of similar teenage dance parties around the country in those days so I thought it might be interesting to take a look at a few of... Continue reading
Posted Feb 20, 2015 at Bandstand Beat
Many viewers may not have realized it at the time, but the Drexel Hill apartment complex where Clark lived was occasionally featured on special American Bandstand remote broadcasts. Pool parties in the summer and ice skating parties in the winter were broadcast from the complex. It was also the site... Continue reading
Posted Feb 17, 2015 at Bandstand Beat
One of the myths surrounding American Bandstand is that everyone who appeared on the show became a star. The show had definite star-making potential, to be sure, but it could also be a dream-killer. Consider the fates of a handful of people associated with the record Drive-In Movie. The singers... Continue reading
Posted Feb 13, 2015 at Bandstand Beat
A lot of people these days celebrate “Throwback Thursday.” In case you’re not familiar with the term, it’s commonly used in social media to describe some sort of post about one’s past. It usually involves sharing of a cherished photo... Continue reading
Posted Feb 10, 2015 at Passing It On
Although Charlie Gracie found stardom to be elusive, he was getting regular work — including a few appearances on Bandstand and doing a Sealtest commercial on a circus program, The Big Top— and he was making twice what his father was earning at Stetson. His earlier appearances on The Paul... Continue reading
Posted Feb 10, 2015 at Bandstand Beat
In August 1998, Philadelphia Weekly published a list of "Philly's 100 Greatest Hits," as compiled by PW staff and contributors. It was a bold undertaking, considering that few American cities have as rich a musical tradition as Philadelphia has. Naturally, American Bandstand played a huge role in that tradition during... Continue reading
Posted Feb 6, 2015 at Bandstand Beat
1958 While American Bandstand had accomplished a lot in its first six months as a national program, it was not at all clear that the program (or Dick Clark) could maintain its phenomenal successes. For one thing, the show’s concept was so simple, it was easily duplicated. Billboard estimated that... Continue reading
Posted Feb 3, 2015 at Bandstand Beat
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 Jan 30, 2015 at Bandstand Beat
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 Jan 27, 2015 at Bandstand Beat
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
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
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
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