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.