One of the myths surrounding American Bandstand is that everyone who appeared on the show became a star.
The show had definite star-making potential, to be sure, but it could also be a dream-killer. Consider the fates of a handful of people associated with the record Drive-In Movie.
The singers on that particular record were Bandstand's original "America's Sweethearts," Bob Clayton and Justine Carrelli. By the time the pair entered the recording studio, they were clearly stars in the eyes of many of the millions of teens who tuned into American Bandstand every day to watch them dance.
But, instead of a ticket to successful recording careers, the song proved to be a ticket out of American Bandstand for the popular duo since it was a clear violation of Dick Clark's "no-pros-allowed-on-the-dance-floor" rule.
The people behind the record didn't fare so well, either.
The Fransil label was founded by Silvio Scerbo and Bob Scale (real name Orlando Scaltrito) in Philadelphia in 1959, but issued just a handful of singles in its two years of existence. Scale was a member of The Esquire Boys and once played guitar on a couple of Bill Haley sides. Scales was being mentored by Jack Howard, an early Haley supporter and publisher of his music, yet couldn't make a go of it with Fransil.
Drive-In Movie and its flip side, Dream Girl, were written by Joe Matt, the pen name of Joseph Matarazzo. Joe Matt was an aspiring 24-year-old songwriter at the time and had dreams of being a jazz trumpeter like his inspiration, Kirk Douglas, in the movie Young Man With a Horn. Although he also wrote songs that were recorded by Elena Faith, Sonny Vito and Al Martino, Matt never achieved the same level of stardom as better-known Philadelphia songsmiths of the era.
Matt had another connection to American Bandstand -- he also wrote songs recorded by his nephew, Dean Randolph (real name Frank Pescatore). Although Randolph was once under the tutelage of Bob Marcucci, who touted him as "the next Frankie Avalon" and managed to get him on American Bandstand, Randolph never achieved the star status of Chancellor labelmates Avalon and Fabian.
Joe Matt's son, Chris Matarazzo, posted a moving tribute to his dad on his Hats and Rabbits blog after Joe Matt died in December 2013. You can read it here.
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.