In the late 1950s, the biggest generation in American history was introduced to two new exciting forms of media. The first was TV, which became the primary source of family entertainment. The second was Rock and Roll music, which teenagers loved!
The two powerful forces combined in one epic show called ‘American Bandstand’ starring Dick Clark. It is perhaps the most culturally significant show of the era. Boys were dancing in suits and girls wore beautiful dresses and ‘bee-hive’ hairstyles.
Dick Clark made rock and roll music safe for mainstream America. Clean-cut teens were pictured dancing to songs with suggestive lyrics, and it all came across as good clean fun from the first broadcast in 1952.
The longest-running show in ABC’s history aired in various versions from 1952 to 1989. The Philadelphia-based show saw its fair share of stars as Dick welcomed Jerry Lee Lewis, Perry Como, Chubby Checker, and more.
The show would film 3 shows on Saturday and 3 shows on Sunday every six weeks to enable a new show to be broadcast every week. Many regular teen dancers became household names due to the show.
Once it took over the airwaves on weekday afternoons, the program became a hit. Over 20 million viewers tuned in by 1959. Every major star was a part of it. The recording industry knew it had to go through Philadelphia and Dick Clark if they wanted a hit record.