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American BandstandAmerican Bandstand - American Bandstand - The popular rock and roll music program for teenagers AMERICAN BANDSTAND/ABC/1957-87/SYN/USA/ 1987-89 started as a local dance program in Philadelphia in 1952 (hosted by Bob Horn under the title BANDSTAND) and ran for thirty years under the guidance of its ever-youthful host Dick Clark beginning October 7, 1957. The program featured the music and film clips of current recording artists of the time, and a select audience of teenage regulars who danced to the tunes of such favorites as Frankie Avalon, Bobby Rydell, Chubby Checkers, Fabian, James Darren and just about every major rock singers (who lip synched their latest hit).

To some of the loyal viewers, the real stars of the show were the teenage dancers who appeared weekly on the program (some even had their own fan clubs).

One such teen was Tommy DeNoble, a dancer and singer who became one of the most popular regulars on the show. He developed his own following, recorded a couple of records and appeared in the 1965 films The Monkey's Uncle and Ship of Fools. Tommy went on to have a long career in broadcasting in Philadelphia. He died at the age of 64 in Chalfont, Pennsylvania.

Dancing Teens on AMERICAN BANDSTAND

Over its long history, AB dancers shuffled and swayed to the gyrations of a variety of dance trends which included the show's popular Line dance, as well as the Twist, the Frug, the Watusi, the Hustle, among others. In 1964, the show relocated to Los Angeles where it remained until the series ended.

TRIVIA NOTE: For more information read: The History of American Bandstand written by Michael Shore with Dick Clark (Ballentine, 1985).

In 2002, the NBC drama AMERICAN DREAMS featured a fictional 15-year-old, Meg Pryor (Brittany Snow) who became a dancer on the American Bandstand program. This clever format enabled the show's producers to bring out of mothballs all the old rock and roll TV footage from the original American Bandstand series and use it as legitimate backdrop to help sell each week's storyline.

Other programs to feature teenagers dancing to music included:

  • SONG AND DANCE/NBC/1948-49
  • SATURDAY NIGHT DANCE PARTY/NBC/1952
  • THE LLOYD THAXTON SHOW/SYN/1964
  • SOUL TRAIN/SYN/1971+ (a black counterpart
    of AMERICAN BANDSTAND hosted by Don Cornelius)
  • DANCE PARTY USA/1986-92
  • DANCIN' TO THE HITS/SYN/1986
  • DANCIN' AT THE HOT SPOTS/TNN/1993-94

See also NICKNAMES: "America's Oldest Living Teenager" 


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