Dance Party

That’s American Bandstand, Dear Readers.  It ran from 1952 all the way until 1989.

In 1956, after the emcee, Bob Horn, was fired for a drunk-driving arrest, Dick Clark became the show’s perennially-young host.

On August 5, 1957 ABC began showing it nationally at 3:30 Philly Time.

I could catch it on our basement Sentinel tv set right after grammar school.

Remember Kenny, Arlene, Justine, Bob and Carmen?

They were my heroes.

They taught me how to dance.

Starting around age nine, I started watching the gang intently trying to copy their unbelievably slick dance moves.

And to this day, certain songs bring back vivid memories of dancing in the basement all by myself à la Risky Business.

Author’s Note:  Just watching this clip reminds me of simpler, more innocent times when Tom Cruise was just plain adorable.  Not nuts.

Back to the music.

It’s time to Rate-a-Record!

(Btw, these tunes have a real good beat and you can dance to them.)

This first dance was invented on Bandstand in 1958.  “The Stroll” by Chuck Willis.

This next dance came from Philly, too.   And it also debuted in 1958.   Come on, gang! Let’s do the Bop to “At the Hop” by Danny and The Juniors.

My favorite dance had to be the cha cha.  I was good at it.  And here’s my favorite song to do the cha cha to.

It came out in 1960.  Jerry Butler’s “He Don’t Love You.”

Our next record is by Joey Dee and the Starlighters.   Everybody on your feet for 1961’s”The Peppermint Twist!”

Freddie “Boom Boom” Cannon held the record for the most appearances on American Bandstand.

In his honor, how about dancing to 1962’s Palisades Park?”

Time for a slow dance now, I think.  One where that really cute boy could wrap his arms around you and you two would stand still and kind of sway to the music.

The Beachboys in 1964 with “In My Room.”


But who could ever forget jitterbugging to the great Dion and “Runaround Sue?”

Excuse me, guys. 1961 is calling and I’ve just to go to my basement and practice.

Later, Alligator.

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6 Responses to Dance Party

  1. Ellen Kander says:

    What great memories,Ellen! I was dancing in my basement right next door to you using the pole as my partner. Those people were the “coolest” and that’s where we all learned to dance. I’ll be dancing all morning today to those songs. Thanks for all those memories…. would you believe all those “cool” people are probably in their 70’s&80’s now!

    • Ellen Ross says:

      Wow! Between the two of us we give a whole new meaning to pole dancing. I’ve never had a better dance partner. Glad this one rang a bell. And yes, I can never go to an “oldies” show. I want to keep my idols in their twenties where they belong. Thanks, fellow dancer.

  2. mitchell klein says:

    Cool fact about Jerry “Iceman” Butler, he’s in the Rock and Roll HOF as a member of the Impressions and more importantly he is a Commissioner of the Cook County Board where he was first elected in 1985. That’s his voice you hear in “For Your Precious Love” which we all made out to.

    • Ellen Ross says:

      Thanks, Mitch. Cool facts, indeed. (And love that you put in Jerry Butler’s Nickname. Very nice.)Hope this post alleviated your boredom for a moment or two. Sorry you can’t get up and dance- just yet. You’ll be twisting the night away with that beautiful dancer you married soon.

  3. Judy Lynch says:


    You could often find me pole-dancing at 814 Lawler, too! What great memories!

    And another connection to American Bandstand: Charlie’s fourth grade teacher was Dick Clark’s wife!


    • Ellen Ross says:

      How great was it that our basements had poles and they were our first dance partners? And Judy, that additional DC info is way too cool for school! Thanks, neighbor.

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