On Oct. 7, 1952, a little TV show called "Bandstand" premiered on Philadelphia's WFIL-TV Channel 6. Sixty years later, the show eventually known as "American Bandstand" is still remembered as one of the greatest pioneering forces in pop music history.
As we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Philly-rooted show, here's a look back at some of the most memorable "American Bandstand" highlights.
1952: "Bandstand," a new dance music show, is hosted by local DJ Bob Horn and is shot live from Studio B at 46th and Market in Philadelphia.
1956: Dick Clark replaces Horn as the show's host, and the daily local show is expanded to a national ABC audience the following year. It quickly becomes a national phenomenon, featuring the biggest Top 40 artists of the day as well as segments like Rate-a-Record, where kids rate new singles on a scale of 35 to 98.
1957: Although he never appears on "American Bandstand" in person, Elvis Presley participates in three telephone interviews with Clark while stationed the Army. Elvis' first interview with Clark is on Aug. 5, 1957, marking "Bandstand's" first nationally broadcast show.
1962: Philly teens Bunny Gibson, Eddie Kelly, Justine Carelli and Carmen Jimenez are among some of the regular dancers on the show, eventually enjoying fan club status and appearances in teen magazines. But according to an article in the Northeast Times Weekly, in 1962 Bunny Gibson is dismissed from the show after her ex-boyfriend starts an argument with her outside of the "Bandstand" studios.
1964: The show leaves its Philly roots behind and heads to Hollywood, switching to a once a week format on Saturday afternoons. Clark tells the Los Angeles Times, "We used to do two hours and 15 minutes a day when we were local. It was a great experience. I was doing 17-and-a-half hours of television (a week) when I was 26."
1977: The show's most recognizable theme song debuts. Barry Manilow's revamped "Bandstand Boogie" remains the show's theme song for more than a decade.
1978: In a rare move, Clark has a "Bandstand" co-host as singer Donna Summer helps Clark host the show and talks about her movie "Thank God It's Friday" in the spring of 1978.
1984: Madonna makes her first appearance on the show, performing her song "Holiday." She famously tells Clark that her dream is "to rule the world."
1989: "American Bandstand" airs its final show on Oct. 7, signaling the end of a more than 30-year run for television's most famous teen dance party.
2002: "American Bandstand's" Philly heyday is immortalized on the NBC drama "American Dreams." Gibson and Kelly make cameos on the show, while Clark is an executive producer.
2012: Clark passes away on April 18, just a few months shy of "American Bandstand's" 60th anniversary. Singer Chubby Checker, whose song and dance, "The Twist," was immortalized on the show, tells Philly.com of Clark's permanent local legacy: "'American Bandstand' was Philadelphia, and Philadelphia was music. There was no other place on the planet. Ed Sullivan had a little taste. But it was really 46th and Market Street, and that was it. And Philadelphia should be proud."
Victoria Leigh Miller is a freelance writer and lifelong Pennsylvania resident.
- Arts & Entertainment
- Dick Clark
- American Bandstand
- Bunny Gibson