Roger Clipp said he could go ahead, as long as his outside business interests didn't interfere with his duties on American Bandstand. For his first venture, Clark turned to American Bandstand's first sponsor, Cheerios.
The popular breakfast cereal was more than willing to pair up with Clark, who narrated an extended play 45 that featured snippets of eight popular songs from the mid-1950s. The record -- Dick Clark Presents "American Bandstand" Favorites -- was available for a mere 25 cents and a couple of Cheerios boxtops.
Not sure how the disk would sell, Cheerios covered its bet by offering a Wyatt Earp ring at the same time for the same price as the record.
William G. Wilson was a staff camera man in the early years of WFIL-TV in Philadelphia. He also worked as a cinematographer at hundreds of sporting events and on Paul Wendkos' film noir classic, The Burglar, which was filmed in Philadelphia. Lesser known is the fact that he was the man behind the camera for Dick Clark's first screen test at Kellman Laboratories in early 1959.
Blavat carries on. As a teenager, Jerry Blavat headed up The Committee for original Bandstand host Bob Horn. When Horn was fired, Blavat led teenagers to picket Horn's successor, Dick Clark. Over the years, Clark and Blavat patched things up and became friends. Blavat went on to have an illustrious broadcast career himself and even carried on a little-known tradition when Clark left Philadelphia for Hollywood in 1964.
From Blavat's book, You Only Rock Once:
“Dick Clark had started a tradition called the ‘Mother’s Club.’ A group of guys would get together one night a month. Every month, we would go to a different house, throw in five dollars apiece, eat takeout food and play blackjack. When Dick went to the West Coast, I continued the tradition at 5859 Overbrook Avenue.”
But does it have a good beat? The Gates, a group of college students from North Carolina won a contest that earned them a recording contract with Peach Records. One of their records was reviewed in the March 23, 1959, edition of Billboard:
A-side: Wrapped In Green Made For a Teen: “The Gates sell this rocker with spirit over a driving backing as the lead tells about his gal’s dancing on the Dick Clark show every day. Listenable wax.”
B-side: Letter to Dick Clark: "On this side the chanter reads a letter to Dick Clark on “Bandstand, USA” about his request to bring his girl back to him. Idea is good and side can get spins.”
Check them out yourself:
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.