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Series / American Bandstand

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Dick Clark during the series' early years.

"We're goin' hoppin' (Hop!)
We're goin' hoppin' today where things are poppin' (Pop!)
The Philadelphia Way!
We're gonna drop-in (Drop!)
On all the music they play on the Bandstand! (Bandstand!)
- The 1977 version of Bandstand Boogie, sung by Barry Manilow

As the host of this dance show on ABC, Dick Clark became known as "America's oldest teenager". American Bandstand originated in Philadelphia, and went national in 1957. It was a weekday show until 1963, when it switched to Saturdays only. In 1987, the show left ABC for First-Run Syndication, where it lasted only one year before moving to the USA Network, where it ended in 1989.

While working on American Bandstand, Clark was host of a few other shows:

  • The Dick Clark Saturday Night Beechnut Show, another dance party show, 1958-60
  • The $10,000 Pyramid and successor series
  • TV's Bloopers and Practical Jokes with co-host Ed McMahon
  • New Year's Rockin' Eve, an annual special where Clark would host the dropping of the ball at midnight in Times Square on New Year's Eve. It started in 1972 and has continued right up to this day; however, the 2012 edition was Clark's final TV appearance.


  • The Announcer: Charlie O'Donnell until 1968, who would later become famous as the announcer of Wheel of Fortune, The Joker's Wild and Tic-Tac-Dough, among others.
  • Broadcast Live: The show was initially done this way. Starting in 1963, the five shows of a given week would be prerecorded the preceding Saturday. When the show switched to Saturdays only later that year, the taping schedule was changed to three shows on Saturday and three shows on Sundays every six weeks.
  • Dueling Shows: with Soul Train in the 1970s and 80s. Although neither Clark nor Don Cornelius really competed with each other, fans compared them all the time.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The show first started out as simply Bandstand in 1950 and featured short musical films produced by Snader Telescriptions and Official Films, one of several "precursors" to music videos. The more familiar dance show format debuted in 1952; the films were still used for a while as filler while they switched dancers. Dick Clark didn't host until 1956 and the American Bandstand name was only adopted when the show went national the following year.
  • Invisible Backup Band: Could be seen for many solo acts, since they were lip-synching.
  • It Will Never Catch On: The Beatles' "She Loves You" was featured on the "Rate-a-Record" segment shortly after it was first released in the US in September 1963. It got a mediocre score.
  • Long Runner: 37 years exactly, 10/7/1952 - 10/7/1989.
  • Retool: While the show generally had changes as it pertains to sets and what have you, the show's most drastic retools occurred in 1969 (debuting the iconic "AB" logo, ditching "Bandstand Boogie" et al) and 1986 (dropping the show to thirty minutes).
  • Reunion Show: The 25th, 30th, 33 1/3rd, 40th and 50th anniversary specials, airing in their respective years from the Philadelphia show’s start in 1952.
  • Show Within a Show: It actually served as one in American Dreams (with contemporary artists playing the roles of classic acts from The '60s); Clark was one of the show's executive producers.
  • Title Theme Tune: "Bandstand Boogie", originally by Les Elgart and his Orchestra. Re-recorded by Barry Manilow in 1977.
  • Transatlantic Equivalent: Top of the Pops. (American Bandstand is likely part of the reason why an attempt to launch an American Top of the Pops didn't work.)