Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Thanks For The Memories

Some of you may recall me mentioning that I was a Regular on American Bandstand in the 197o's.
I would feel re-missed had I not shared a few memories of
Dick Clark who was a concement professional that treated us teens with the utmost of respect. He may have ran a tight ship, but he always made time to engage with us in between takes. He'd always make sure we were well cared for by his staff.

There's a specific occasion that always comes to mind.
One common fear amongst us teens was.....having an embarrassing moment on camera. Without immunity this fear came to fruition for me. As the cameras were rolling...I was dancing on the riser next to the podium where Dick Clark stood. Just as the camera panned over to me..... I tripped on a snag in the linoleum floor. I looked at my partner with a panic stricken face, feeling myself free falling to the ground, ( my heart was racing at the horrible thought filming might be halted over my fumble).
I tried desperately to catch myself in mid flight and by some miracle I was able
to maneuver my tumble into an awkward dance move, avoiding a direct face plant to the floor. The music ended and we faded into commercial. As I was trying to compose myself I (immediately) turned to Dick to apologize for my ungraceful moves. But before I could utter my apologies he began praising my rebound. Turning what could have been a traumatic experience for me into a non event.
In his true nature he showed
his genuine concerns for my well being.
His sincere compassion was the perfect remedy for my bruised confidence.

I feel homered to have had the privilege of dancing on American Bandstand but, more so for having this extraordinary experience with Dick Clark, who made those moments memorable.

Part II
The American Bandstand Journey

I was invited to be a Regular on Bandstand after my initial visit My dance partner and I were asked if we wanted to appear in a "spotlight dance." I was beyond nervous, because this is usually reserved for the regulars. So, with our stomachs in a nervous knot we proceeded with 4 other couples to the risers. Having mere seconds before the music was queued, we mapped out our routine. As Three Dog Night started to play we began to dance the *Bump*. Which was the current dance move, some of you may recall.
At the end of our performances the producer added our name to the list of regulars.
I'm in this intro clip, but it runs too quick to focus on me.
I originally had a video clip of me siting in the bleachers with Dick Clark, as he was introducing Abba. Unfortunately DC productions no longer allows American Bandstand videos on You tube.
I was thrilled when my hubby and children were able to see me on the televised AB reunions. They couldn't believe their eyes!
They got such a chuckle over watching the 18 year old me dancing.
We were not allowed flash photography on set.
But there were those rare occasions as guest were coming and going where we could sneak a candid shot.
Security was extremely tight.
Upon arriving to the studio gates we had to present security with our invite. The second security check point was at the stage entrance. That's where our hands were stamped under fluorescent light.
As time went on that didn't seem to keep teens from trying to sneak in. The studio later added a towering chain length fence around the entire entrance to the AB stage.

We taped around 6 shows once a month on a Saturday.
Dancing from 10am to 8pm with breaks in between for wardrobe changes along with hair and makeup touch ups. Outfits, hair and makeup for each show were our individual responsibility.
After several hours it became difficult to "keep smiling." So a little trick we'd use on occasion was to rub Vaseline on our front teeth. The feel of the sticky film when we'd relaxed our smiles was yucky enough to keep us smiling, which of course was the point of the application. Most times the incentive was just the mere thought of having to use the application that kept our smiles on.
Before air time the producer would carry or send a paper cup around the set for a last minute deposit from those of us who may have forgotten to get rid of our chewing gum. It's odd but true. No chewin' allowed on camera.

Joann Ardelle and Peaches (mentioned in the video) were two of the girls who danced when I was on the show. Yup, if the show was still on air Joann would still be dancing her "free style" dance.
Dancing on American Bandstand carried many of our careers into various venues. Some persuade acting rolls, landing permanent spots on Happy Days. I continued with my dancing passion as an instructor and choreographer.
Thank you for allowing me to share my journey with you.

Sweet Wishes,