Bob and Justine. Kenny and Arlene. Eddie and Bunny. These are just a few of the better known couples who regularly appeared on American Bandstand. There are many more, of course, but today I want to reflect on some people who once stood in the Bandstand spotlight but are not so well known today.
Ronnie Caldora was a teen who often visited a cousin in South Philadelphia and had a huge crush on Bandstand regular Frani Giordano. He eventually met Giordano and became a regular himself. He was fully aware of Clark's rule that the teens who danced on the show were not allowed to financially capitalize on their fame.
"There had been a scandal over some of the kids getting paid for touring with [Bandstand] sock hops across the country. I was part of that group but I didn’t get caught," Caldora told Margit Detweiler of the Philadelphia City Paper for an article published on April 3, 1997. "We’d take limousines to places like Wilkes-Barre and get $500 for dancing at these things."
Bill Bradley was not a Bandstand regular, but the future NBA star and U.S. Senator from New Jersey once persuaded his parents to drive him to Philadelphia so he could dance with a regular he'd been watching for two years. The 6-5 Bradley finally got up the nerve to approach her.
"I asked her to dance and she said. 'No, you're too tall'," Bradley told Jill Lawrence of USA TODAY in a Sept. 8, 1999, article.
For about five years, 16 magazine devoted space each issue to gossip about American Bandstand. This includes a few months of news about the Philadelphia regulars even after the show moved to California in 1964.
A Bandstand Beat column from that time of transition mentions a girl who may have been the only regular to follow Dick Clark to L.A.:
“Watch for Laura Codimat when Bandstand tapes some shows on the West Coast! She has moved to California and will once more be a regular on the show.”
Do you have any stories about Bandstand, Dick Clark or growing up in the Philadelphia area during the show's run at WFIL-TV? Please share them in the comments section or e-mail them to me.
Photo: Bill Bradley