s 26 The Courier SUN • dance • SEPTEMBER 3, 2015 for breaking news visit www.couriersun.com dance s But can you dance to it? By Ronda Addy Long before MTV and VH1 there were two shows that became part of American culture and changed the way w e listened to music. These shows were American Bandstand and Soul Train. Put on your dancing shoes and let’s go back and take a look at the history of these two trendsetters. Bandstand began in 1952 on WFIL-TV in Philadelphia. Bob Horn, a local disk jockey, hosted the live show that showed teenagers dancing to records. The success spawned a radio program hosted by Dick Clark, while Horn stayed in front of the camera. During an anti-drunk driving campaign sponsored by the station in 1956, Horn was arrested and was soon replaced by Dick Clark. The show’s popularity increased, and by the fall of 1957, Clark had convinced ABC programmers to include the show on the network lineup. American Bandstand aired its first show on Monday, August 5, 1957, and from then on Monday through Friday from 3:00 to 4:30 p.m. EST. It was a hit, and on September 7, 1963, it was given a permanent NOW ACCEPTING REGISTRATION! OPEN HOUSE... CALL, CLICK, or Our Caring VISIT TODAY! Instructors Make Learning GLENDALE 70-20 88th Street (Just Off Cooper Ave.) 718-417-8500 MIDDLE VILLAGE 74-02 Eliot Avenue 718-672-3700 Ask About Our FREE Trial Unique Children’s Parties • Established 1987 • Fun Our 29th Year of Fun-Filled Classes The Exciting 2015 Fall Season Begins September 8th Superior Instruction For All Ages & Levels Taekwondo WALK-IN REGISTRATION AND OPEN HOUSE SCHEDULE MIDDLE VILLAGE & GLENDALE STUDIOS: Aug. 25th, 26th & 27th 4PM-7PM SEPT. 1st, 2nd & 3rd 4PM-7PM www.movesandmotionsdance.com Parties Lesson!! Martial Arts • Ballet • Tap • Hip Hop • Jazz • Acrobatics time slot on Saturday afternoon. In 1964, American Bandstand moved from Philadelphia to Los Angeles to be closer to the center of the recording industry. In 1989, the show moved again, this time to the USA Network, along with a new host, David Hirsch. This version of the show only lasted six months. In 1997, VH1 began showing 30-minute versions of American Bandstand highlighting the stars that helped make the show famous. Part of the success of the show can be traced to host Dick Clark, “America’s Oldest Teenager,” and his racial integration of the show. Even when the show went to the network, it kept its racially mixed image, which provided American television with an ongoing image of ethic diversity that was unheard of at the time. Regular features on the show included “Rate-A-Record,” “The Spotlight Dance,” “Dance Contest” and “Top Ten.” In 1969, Don Cornelius, a Chicago disk jockey, produced a pilot and called it S o u l Train after a local radio promotion he had done. So impressed was the Sears Roebuck Company that it gave Cornelius some funding in exchange for the rights to use Soul Train to promote a line of record players. With this funding Cornelius started the show on a local UHF station, WCIU-TV. With Cornelius as its host, the dance show featured guest hosts, soul music acts and dance numbers featuring the Soul Train Gang. It grew in popularity through word of mouth and gained another sponsor, The Johnson Products Company, which made Afro-Sheen. In 1971, Cornelius moved the show to Hollywood. Syndicated in only seven cities, it quickly gained more cities, and by the mid-1970s, it was a force to be reckoned with. Musical groups clamored for appearances on the show, which could be translated to R&B and sometimes even pop chart success. In the 1980s, Soul Train was as popular as ever, and Tribune Entertainment helped launch the Soul Train Music Awards in 1987. The awards are still presented annually in prime time. The show’s current host is Dorian Gregory, and even though he is no longer the host, Cornelius continues his association with the show as executive producer. Soul Train has now become the longest running TV program of any kind in the history of first-run, nationally syndicated programs. It may be hard to measure the exact impact that both of these shows have had on American culture, but they have helped launch countless musical careers and gave TV viewers a look into ethnic diversity that they had never seen before. All in all, that’s not a bad claim to fame.
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