Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Truth About American Bandstand

Just to set the record straight: despite what you have heard or seen on NBC Nightly News and other programs, Dick Clark's American Bandstand was NOT a "Saturday afternoon tradition."

It was, however, a daytime TV gem and a Philadelphia tradition!

The program began as a daytime show on the ABC TV network - it originally ran from between 2 to 2 and a half hours weekday afternoons on WFIL Channel 6 Philadelphia. When introduced to the network, it became available to affiliates in 15 minute blocks or segments. Just outside Albany, NY one could watch (and dance along with) Bandstand from 4 to 4:30 on WTRI Channel 35 (Menands) then switch over to WKTV Channel 13 (Utica) to watch more 4:30-4:45.When 13 moved to Channel 2 it was easier for residents in the City of Albany to watch those segments and then watch the alternates on Albany's new Channel 13.

In the late 1950s and very early 60s there were still a few daytime shows that spanned 15 minutes and many stations ran afternoon movies, so the 15-minute drop-in of Bandstand filled time when needed. There were also multi-affiliated TV stations at the time (WKTV carried programs from ABC, CBS and NBC) that snatched up Bandstand for similar reasons.

Even WikiPedia did a better job than NBC - a lot of kids were sad to see Bandstand moved to Saturday Afternoons - but Dick Clark boosted his daytime presence with "Where The Action Is" until the network found more soap operas, which were the rage before housewives in the U.S. had to get jobs and work full-time (that's another story for another day!)
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  1. Dave, you should tell people to click on that first picture! That was really cool!

  2. @Janey

    I always hide things in plain sight... the techie term for that is "easter eggs"


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