Remember hurrying home from school in the '50s and '60s and turning on that old black-and-white TV at 4 o'clock to watch all those kids dance live on "American Bandstand" live from Philadelphia.
The show began as a local program at Studio-B at WFIL, TV Channel 6 at 46th & Market Street in Philadelphia on Oct. 7, 1952. The show was first hosted by Bob Horn and was called "Bob Horn's Bandstand." On July 9, 1956, the show got a new host, Dick Clark. After Horn was fired from being host, Dick Clark brought the show to national attention on ABC-TV on Aug. 5, 1957.
Hundreds of kids each day would line up after school, hoping to be one of the lucky ones who got to dance alongside the regulars on the show. If you watched the show every day, just as I and my twin brother did in Ripley, W.Va., you could just tell what kids were making up or breaking up. The first song to ever be played on the show in 1957 was Jerry Lee Lewis' "Whole lot of Shaking Going On." The show's first guest was Billy Williams & The Chordettes. B.B. King was the only performer in history who never lip-synced on the show. American Bandstand was such a part of Americana that Dick Clark's Podium today now resides in the Smithsonian Museum.
Whatever happened to all those regular dancers on the show that received more than 15,000 fan letters a week? I always wondered. In the early 1990s, I was able to track down a few of them to write this article.
Remember Justine and Bob, who were the most popular dancers on the show? Justine Carrelli went on to write a screen play titled, "It Wasn't All Dancing," recalling her days on "American Bandstand," and her romance with Bob Clayton and the difficulties they faced when "American Bandstand" was over for them. Justine, today, owns a real estate company in Nevada, along with her husband, Woody Bosco. Bob Clayton and his wife own gift shops in Wilmington, Del. In the '60s, Justine and Bob recorded a song together called, "Drive In Movie," which made the Billboard charts, recorded on the Fransil record label. And today this record is valued at $500 to $1,000 to record collectors, depending on the condition of the record,
Remember Kenny and Arlene? Kenny Rossi today owns a construction company in Philadelphia. Arlene Sullivan is married and lives in Atlantic City, N.J.
What happened to Bunny Gibson and Eddie Kelly? In the '90s, Bunny was living in Los Angeles. dividing her time between acting, modeling. If you remember, Bunny was chosen for inclusion in Peter Jennings' book titled, "The Century." Eddie Kelly was the hardest for me to track down. Today he's record manager for a law firm in New York City.
Remember Pat and Carmen? Pat Molitteri was credited for inventing the dance "The Hop" by combining elements of the dance called "The Slop." Pat's mother told me on the phone Pat died in the mid-1970s of a heart attack at age 36. Carmen Jimenez lives in Philadelphia.
On April 18, Dick Clark died after suffering a heart attack. Thank you, Dick Clark .. you'll never be forgotten.
Larry Koon is the author of several price guide books on antiques and collectibles. Send letters to Treasure in the Attic, c/o The Marietta Times, 700 Channel Lane, Marietta 45750; or e-mail him at email@example.com. When writing, send a complete description of the item, along with size, color, any markings on the item along with condition the item is in, and how the item was obtained, and any other information. If possible, send a photograph. Letters will be answered through this column. His column appears every Monday on Life.