Former ‘Bandstand’ dancers take
to floor of old Philly studio in
By Kristin E. Holmes
Inquirer Staff Writer
Former American Bandstand dancer Tommy “Crazy Legs” Davis leaned in to examine the enlarged pictures on the walls in Studio B, looking for himself in the photos that captured the Philadelphia heyday of the rock-and-roll dance party hosted by Dick Clark.
Back then, Davis was a thin, 129-pound teenager from Roxborough with curly blond hair.
On Saturday, he was an older version of himself with less hair and a few more pounds but the same love for the TV show and Clark, who died Wednesday in Los Angeles at 82.
“My biggest thrill was dancing with Patti Page,” said Davis, 70, of Jenkintown, who was a regular on the show from 1955 to 1957. “Dick pulled me down from the bleachers.”
Davis was among the hundreds of formerAmerican Bandstand dancers and fans who flooded Studio B at the former WFIL-TV station – the original home of the dance program – to bop, stroll, and twist in Clark’s memory.
The building at 4548 Market St. now houses the Enterprise Center, a nonprofit group that helps minority and disadvantaged entrepreneurs start their own businesses. Studio B is rented out for events such as parties and wedding receptions.
The center opened for public tours Saturday because officials had received so many requests to visit the building since Clark’s death, said Della Clark (no relation), who is president of the center.
From the speakers, the sounds of Chubby Checker, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, and the Beatles provided music with good beats that were easy to dance to.
Arnold Jones, a retired bus driver from North Philadelphia, twirled Grace Short, who works in food service.
Jones, 69, danced on the show twice in the late 1950s. Short, 64, of West Philadelphia, was a regular in 1960 and 1961.
“I saw a few black dancers who I watched [on TV], so I figured the show was for anybody who wanted to come,” Short said.
At the show, she saw James Brown perform in person, and even danced with a white partner.
The first-floor studio is lined with plaques, posters, and other Bandstand memorabilia that the center obtained when Clark auctioned off some of his possessions in 2006.
The building, one of the first to be built as a television station, was the home of American Bandstand until the show moved to Los Angeles in 1964. It later housed WHYY Studios, but fell into disrepair when the public-TV station moved in 1979. MORE
‘American Bandstand’ studios reopen for tours in Wake of Dick Clark’s Passing
PHILADELPHIA _ For seven years it was a hot spot of teenage American pop culture.
From 1957 until 1964, Dick Clark hosted “American Bandstand” at the West Philadelphia studios of WFIL-TV, where thousands of teens dreamed of appearing on the hit show.
But few actually got the chance to dance inside the nondescript building in the shadow of the Market-Frankford El at 46th and Market streets.
If you were one of those teens who yearned for your “Bandstand” moment, here’s your chance.
On Saturday between noon and 3 p.m. the current owners will open the former Studio B for three hours of tours, reminiscing, and perhaps, one last Twist on the dance floor.
“We’ll put on some music and let people have their moment,” said Jeff Wicklund of the Enterprise Center, a nonprofit business incubator which purchased the building in 1995. “We’re just trying to be good stewards of the ‘Bandstand’ legacy.”
American Bandstand Dancers Kenny, Arlene, Justine and Bob, American Bandstand Memorabilia, Collectables
Fans of the show have flocked to the building, dropping off flowers and cards since Clark’s death on Wednesday, Wicklund said.
“There have been a lot of people coming through asking to take a few pictures in studio,” he said. “It’s fairly well preserved with photos, mementos and a mural on the wall.”
When the Enterprise Center bought the structure, it had been abandoned for almost 20 years. It’s now on the National Register of Historic Places. Wicklund said the Center has established an endowment to maintain the “Bandstand” studios, which now play host to private parties, high school proms, weddings and fashion shows.
To fund the endowment, the Center is asking for a $20 contribution for admission on Saturday.
“If you can help us out it would be great,” Wicklund said. “But we’re not going to turn anybody away who can’t afford it.”
(c)2012 The Philadelphia Inquirer
VISIT AGAIN WITH KENNY, ARLENE, JUSTINE AND BOB @
See original American Bandstand Dancers get together a few years back to reminisce about their days on American Bandstand in the fifties and sixies. This was before the passing Dick Clark. would be good to get them back and share their thoughts and memories of Clark…
Here we have a 30 Year Tribute to Bandstand (1982), featuring a montage of artists, one for each year beginning about 1958 including great videos of Paul Anka, Rick Nelson, Neil Sedaka,Leslie Gore, Supremes, Petula clark, Mommas and Papas, Aretha Franklin, SimonThree Dog Night etc…
More Bandstand memories @ http://www.OldiesCountry.com/american-bandstand-dancers-kenny-arlene-justine-and-bob
Hard to believe the self-proclaimed ‘world’s oldest teenager’ is gone…
and so is another piece of our youth…but his spirit and extensive catalog of great video, music and memories live on and continue to bring great pleasure to millions…
Dick Clark tributes planned on
‘American Idol,’ Game Show
Dick Clark’s death Wednesday is prompting near-instantaneous tributes from two television venues where his influence was strongly felt: “American Idol” and the Game Show Network.”Idol” host Ryan Seacrest, Clark’s heir apparent, who co-hosted the “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” specials for the past few years, announced on Twitter on Thursday that the upcoming “Idol” show would contain a tribute to Clark.”We’re putting together a tribute for Dick Clark on @AmericanIdol tonight…just talked to @dizzyfeet [“Idol” executive producer Nigel Lythgoe],” Seacrest wrote.A visibly emotional Seacrest made brief mention of Clark’s passing on Wednesday night’s “Idol” by noting, “Without Dick, a show like this would not exist.”Meanwhile, some of Clark’s greatest nonmusical moments will be replayed over the weekend on Game Show Network, where original remembrances of the man also known as the host of “The $25,000 Pyramid” will be played during reruns of the game show on Friday at 3 a.m., 10 a.m. and during a 10-episode run from 7 p.m. to midnight. Additionally, two more episodes will air Saturday from noon until 1 p.m. (all times Eastern).
Clark began hosting the show, then called “The $10,000 Pyramid,” in 1973 on ABC. The title was changed to “The $20,000 Pyramid” in 1976. It was canceled in 1980 but returned in 1982 on CBS with a higher top prize, “The $25,000 Pyramid.” Clark hosted until 1988.
Stars pay tribute to American TV
icon Dick Clark
By Hollie McKay
Published April 18, 2012
In the wake of news that Dick Clark, 82, passed away on Wednesday, legions of stars and fans expressed their condolences and shared their fondest memories of the iconic American television personality.
“I am deeply saddened by the loss of my dear friend Dick Clark. He has truly been one of the greatest influences in my life,” tweeted Ryan Seacrest, who worked closely with Clark for “New Years Rockin’ Eve.” “My thoughts and prayers are with his family.”
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg was also prompt in expressing his gratitude toward Clark for making Times Square the prime destination to ring in the New Year.
“Times Square is considered the crossroads of the world in no small part because Dick Clark’s New Years Eve celebrations there were beamed across the globe,” he said in a statement. “I remember one New Years Eve, he and I stood in Times Square marveling about how much the area – and the City – had improved over the years. But Dick Clark never had to change – he was a great entertainer who stood the test of time. Generations of Americans grew up with Dick, and yet he seemed forever young. His spirit will always live on in Times Square, and in hearts of millions of New Yorkers.”
Debbie Gibson, a former guest on “American Bandstand,” referred to Clark as a “gentleman,” and tweeted that things “won’t be the same without him.” Fellow bandstand alum Sheila E offered “prayers to (her) friend Dick Clark.”
“Dick Clark to sensor Sheila E’s wardrobe for American Bandstand. He told the network to let me do my thing… I loved him from that day!” she added.
Marie Osmond went on to tweet that “In 1974, my first time on BandStand, I thought Dick Clark was the most handsome man in show business,” and Joan Rivers tweeted: “Very sad to hear about Dick Clark. What a great life. What a great career. Relevant until the end. He will be missed!”
Janet Jackson also took to twitter to convey her thoughts and prayers.
“Dick Clark changed the face of musical television,” she wrote. “He was wonderful to many artists including our family. We will miss him. God bless.”
Roseanne Barr tweeted a “RIP,” adding “he was always nice to me,” famed baseball player and manager Tommy Lasorda noted that he was “always a gentleman” on the occasions they met, Blake Shelton tweeted: “so proud I had the chance to shake hands with Dick Clark in my lifetime… Great man,” while Scott Baio tweeted that he “had the pleasure of meeting him. What a huge loss.”
And according to Larry King, Clark was a man of many talents.
“Dick Clark was a great friend, true legend, & a master journalist. Nobody did what he did better,” he tweeted. “It was a pleasure to be in his company.”
A slew of stars also credited Clark for inspiring themto pursue careers in entertainment and praised him for his vast contributions to show business.
“REST IN PEACE to the DICK CLARK!! U were pioneer n a good man!! Thank u sir,” said rapper Snoop Dogg, as Loni Love thanked him “for helping black artists to get the exposure they needed so we could ALL enjoy their music!”
Neil Portnow, President/CEO of The Recording Academy, stated that “Dick Clark was an entertainment icon, bringing music into the homes of millions of Americans over his nearly 60-year career.”
“Our deepest heartfelt sympathies go out to his family, friends, fans, and all who have enjoyed his great contributions to music and entertainment,” Portnow continued. “He will be terribly missed, and his legacy will live on forever.”
Others remembered Clark for more than just his youthful love of music and fanfare.
“You may remember Dick Clark as the world’s oldest living teenager,” wrote Danny Bonaduce. “I’ll remember him as the man who beat me in a pushup contest – he was 74.”
Dick Clark, New Years Eve, American Bandstand and even Ryan Seacrest all became top trending topics on Twitter as news of his death circulated, with hundreds of thousands of fans joining celebrities in sharing their favorite Clark-related moments. But for some, the most fitting way to pay tribute was by retweeting one of his most memorable quotes.
“If you want to stay young-looking, pick your parents very carefully,” thousands tweeted on Wednesday.