Shoes were a big deal on American Bandstand. If a WFIL-TV cameraman wasn't zeroing in on a tight shot of a slow-dancing couple, odds were good he had his camera pointed down at the studio's concrete floor to concentrate on the action of a few jitterbugging feet.
Gumdrop shoes, black suede shoes with three lace tie.
Dick Clark recognized the importance of shoes in 1958 when he signed a merchandising deal with Mary Jane Shoe Stores to sell American Bandstand dancing shoes for $8.95 a pair. He collected shoes of other people, too. Among his estimated 20,000 musical memorabilia items are shoes once worn by Bo Diddley, Elton John and Fred Astaire.
Penny loafers, high heels.
Dick Clark wasn't the only Philadelphian to make a shoe deal in the Bandstand years. Bobby Rydell had a merchandising deal with Ansonia Shoe Corporation to market a shoe for girls called PhoToes. It came with a color photo of Rydell in a plastic pocket on the toe. And Chubby Checker had a deal with Thom McAn for black-and-red Chubby Checker Twisting Shoes.
Pointed toe shoes., T-strap shoes.
Ernest Evans was a shoeshine boy before he became Chubby Checker. Theater ushers at the finest Philadelphia movie palaces were instructed not to shine their lights above the top of men's shoes Wilt Chamberlain, the one-time basketball sensation from Overbrook High School, used to wash his shoelaces before big games.
Ballerina pumps, moccasins.
Dick Clark was meticulous in his public appearances so it should come as no surprise to learn that Clark included shoes as part of his splendid sartorial plan. Before slipping into a pair of tuxedo pants, Clark would first put on his shoes, take great care in tying the perfect knot before sliding his legs into the trousers. Doing so, Clark explained, kept his pants from getting wrinkled by sitting down to tie his shoes.
Just for fun. The Twist enjoyed a resurgence in 1961 because older Americans and Europeans were finally discovering it. Nowhere was its popularity greater in Europe than in France. Here's a taste:
Author Larry Lehmer is writing a book about the Philadelphia years of American Bandstand. The book is called Bandstandland. It has lots of details about the show you've never read before. If you have any stories about American Bandstand or Dick Clark that you'd like to share in the book, contact Larry.