Wednesday, April 18, 2012

We're Goin' Hoppin'

Everyone my age grew up with Dick Clark.

On Saturdays, American Bandstand came on in the early afternoon. No matter where we lived, it served as the un-official end to the hours of cartoons we'd all gotten up extra-early to watch. So, I hated AB when I was little, because it meant no more cartoons for an entire week.

Even during the week, Dick Clark could not be avoided. He was the host of a popular game show called The $10,000 Pyramid. During the summer, or if you stayed home sick from school, there he'd be,
coaching celebrities and their non-famous partners, offering hints, friendly commiseration and enthusiastic congratulations.

Still, I'd watch Bandstand once in a while, because there was nothing else on (this was BC, Before Cable). It was either Dick Clark or professional wrestling.

Eventually, I realized that I preferred Bandstand to cartoons.The end of an era.

Dick Clark, Loretta Switt, & McClean Stevenson 
on Pyramid
Dick Clark was our parents' age (or older), but he was still pretty cool. Before MTV, Dick Clark introduced us to bands we'd only heard on the radio. Bandstand was where we studied the dancers and the dances we practiced later with our girlfriends.  

Dick Clark & The Village People 
Bandstand was where you saw what teens in other parts of the country were wearing, how they styled their hair, how they did their makeup. Best of all, you got to see what they thought of the music played on the show. During the Rate-a-Record segment, teens selected from the live audience were asked to tell Dick what they liked about a song, and then to give a score. "It's got a good beat and you can dance to it" - the stereotypical phrase teens used to describe the song they'd just heard.


Dick Clark died today^ and he will be missed.

Barry Manilow singing American Bandstand's theme,
Bandstand Boogie (which he also wrote)