Dick Clark had a notoriously rocky relationship with Teen magazine in the 1950s, but other members of the emerging teen press of that era found him to be charming, photogenic, affable and best of all, accessible. That was particularly true of 16 magazine, which could accurately be described as the official publication of American Bandstand.
In 1959, Susan Stamberg (now of National Public Radio) had an unusual summer job - as secretary to 16 editor Gloria Stavers. One of her duties that summer was to pick the winner of an "I Miss Elvis Because" contest.
"It's not that I was such an Elvis fan," Stamberg explained to her NPR audience in March 2008. "I was named judge because apart from editor Gloria and 16's publisher, Jacques Chambrun, I, the secretary, was the only other person in the office."
Stamberg went through bags of mail, splitting the top prize between a grandmother and a three-month-old whose handwriting "was most impressive for a child so young."
"I am sure that the grandma is long gone," Stamberg said almost 50 years after the contest concluded. "But if you were the three-month-old baby in the summer of 1959 and remember winning that contest and what your prize was, I do hope you'll get in touch."
I haven't found any record that the winning tyke ever came forward.
Can This Be True Dept? An item from the July 1961, issue of Television Magazine: "I am reliably informed that on the Dick Clark show the teenagers arrive wearing brown lipstick so they will look their best on camera."
Time to Get Hitched Dept. Modern Screen, Columbia Pictures and Dick Clark's Drexel Productions sponsored a contest in April 1960 to promote Clark's first feature film, Because They're Young. All that was required was to fill out an entry form for a drawing. The grand prize was a "Perfect Honeymoon, All- Expense-Paid Trip for Two" (including a Parrot Paradise cruise and alligator wrestling) to "a luxurious Miami Beach hotel for 6 nights and 7 days."
Second- and third-prize winners received an all-expenses paid trip to the "honeymoon village" at Mount Airy Lodge in Mt. Pocono, Pennsylvania, where winners were promised "unsurpassed bridal accommodations and privacy."
Author Larry Lehmer is putting the finishing touches on 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.