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Then: American Bandstand

Now: American Idol

Every weekday at 3:30 I was glued to our black and white TV(where you had to get up to change the channel) watching American Bandstand, hosted by the eternally young (until recently) Dick Clark.   I couldn't wait to see which of my favorites teen idols would be performing: Paul Anka, Johnny Mathis, The 4 Seasons, to name a few.

But I was even more excited to see the dancers.  Those regulars became part of my life.  I followed their relationships with one another and waited for each new show to see if they were still together.  I guess you could say it was one of the first reality shows.  One without all the glam and back story segments of the shows aired today.  

I also was eager to see the new dances and hopefully learn the moves before I went to our Saturday night high school dance.  The Twist.  The Watusi.  The Mashed Potato.  The Locomotion  The Pony.  The Monkey.  I'm sure I've missed one of them, there were so many.

I'm not sure that a show like Amercian Bandstand could not  survive in today's world of MTV, VH1, iTunes, and You Tube, mediums that provide today's teenagers with close- ups, rewinds, zooms and swirls.  At any hour of the day.  Not just for one hour.    

And how important those sixty minutes were to me!  I spent many hours practicing and pretending that I, too, was an American Bandstand regular.  I'm sure a million other teenagers were doing the same thing in front of their TVs.  

My mom always left the room.  She couldn't stand the music.  And my grandfather called this new rock and roll - barbaric.    

Which is where our generation of Baby Boomers differs greatly from those before us.  The music gap seems smaller between most of us and our children, than it was between our "rock and roll" generation and that of our parents'.   Of course, I don't like all the music my kids listen to, but even what I don't like, I can tolerate.  We sing along in the car.  We dance around the house.

And each year we look forward to a new season of American Idol.  We pick our favorites (mine is one of the judges!) and sit glued to our flat screen HD TV watching as the contestants perform.  

We even play American Idol.  I've gone to Hollywood now about a dozen times and each time my grandkids jump up and down as if it's the first time I performed.  I do the same for them.      

The show not only gives these fabulous young singers a change to make their dreams comes true, as well as inspiring kids all over the country, but it also gives families, such as mine, hours of togetherness.  

When our favorite contestant sings, (so far this year, I'm putting my energy on Danny) we sit on the edge of the couch, holding our breathes, hoping he or she doesn’t sing off pitch. We cheer when the judges agree with us.  And boo them when we think they are wrong.  

And during a fast tune, we get up and dance.  I'm usually doing the Swing or some other "old fashioned" dance according to my family.  

I never would have made it as a regular on American Bandstand.  But who knows?   I may be dancing with a future American Idol!



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Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Sandyde wrote Mar 15, 2009
    • I so remember American Bandstand, and loved it for all the same reasons you did!  

      I too am much more tolerant of my children’s musical preferences than my parents were of mine. But my dad did take me and my friend to see Sonny & Cher when I was about 13. I took my girls to see the Jonas Brothers last summer. They had a blast, and that made me have fun (which I’m sure was about the same experience my dad went through way back when)—I do have some Jo-Bros on my iPod now happy

      Love AI, watch it religously. Danny’s got my vote this season.  

      As usual, Janie...another great blog happy

      Sandy



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Tinaf wrote Mar 15, 2009
    • Hey, Linda, I’ve been to Micelli’s, too!  :)  

      I have to say that I barely remember American Bandstand, and I don’t watch American Idol, but I have spent a few seasons watching Dancing with the Stars and The Apprentice, so I understand the appeal of getting behind your faves and rooting them on to the end!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Janie Emaus wrote Mar 16, 2009
    • Sandy - My granddaughter loves the Jonas Brothers.  

      Linda - Too many never do get discovered and it’s such a shame.

      Tina -  It is fun to cheer for your favorites.

      Thanks for your comments.  You guys are my favorites!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Pamaloon wrote Mar 17, 2009
    • I have to admit - I watched Soul Train! And for all those reasons.  

      Spending that time with your family (and dancing!) must be one of the reasons you are the youngest person I know. :)

      Great post - off to put on some tunes!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Janie Emaus wrote Mar 17, 2009
    • Pam - Dancing aroung with my grandkids is great exercise.  I forgot about Soul Train.  I watched it, but not as much as I did Bandstand.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Chattycathie wrote Mar 17, 2009
    • When you were talking about American Band stand, it made me think of the movie Hair Spray.  

      I watched it, but I must be a little younger than you, because I was more a teen in the 70’s.  But it is funny that you likened it to American Idol, because my sister and I always call Ryan Seacrest The New Dick Clark.  

      My top 4 this year are Adam, Danny Gokey, Lil Rounds, Allison
      The rest can go, but those have to be the top 4.

      I love American Idol, and have downloads from most past winners. No matter what people say about the show, they have to admit it has put some really great talent into stardom, and given us some talented singers to appreciate. But what is great about the show, is you get to see them turn from their early beginning and watch them grow as artist after the show.  We can all say, I knew them when...

      I love your post.  Sometimes I just stop by this site to see what you wrote this week.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Janie Emaus wrote Mar 17, 2009
    • Cathie - And I really appreaciate you stopping by.   I agree with you about this year’s Idol contestants.  Those are my favorites, too.

      Have a great day.

      Janie



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Janie Emaus wrote Mar 18, 2009
    • Annie - I can’t say I love ALL the music my daughter listens to, but I’m okay with most of it.  And I haven’t heard anything by Britney Spears on her iPod.
      Have a great day.
      Janie



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Janie Emaus wrote Mar 18, 2009
    • Hi - It does sort of sound like that.  Not a song I would my grandkids to listen to!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Clyn wrote Mar 18, 2009
    • wow now Im feeling nostalgic, I have a need for a pony boy; soc’s vs. greasers movie.
      I was big on Solid Gold, I wanted to be a SG dancer



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Janie Emaus wrote Mar 18, 2009
    • Hi - I remember Solid Gold!
      Thanks for stopping by.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Vikki Hall wrote Mar 18, 2009
    • Oh I used to watch American Bandstand, Soul Train and SolidGold too. What was that one with Danny somebody? I also like a lot of my kids music but the funny thing is they like mine too.
      I have them all convinced that Kashmir by Led Zeppelin is the greates song of all time.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Wittymom wrote Mar 18, 2009
    • Vikki I watched all three as well.  I would watch any dance show and try to imitate the moves. On Soul Train,  I had my favorite dancers, and at my wedding we HAD to have a soul train line!
      I listen to my daughters music as well, she loves alot of different kinds of music, and 90% of what she listens to is ok with me..she loves my old school music as well, and gets a real kick when she hears “my music” that has been sampled by one of her artists. Music is the circle of life!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Janie Emaus wrote Mar 18, 2009
    • Vikki - That’s how it works around here, too.  We all listen to the each other’s music.  I don’t remember a show with someone named Danny.

      Have a great evening.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Janie Emaus wrote Mar 18, 2009
    • Wittymom - Well put.  Music IS the cirle life.  I like that.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Vicki55 wrote Mar 18, 2009
    • I watched all three as well.  The Soul Train line was the best.  We had to make sure we sat at watched that.
      And they are so fun to do......  In my daughter’s wedding we had one, and there is this very funny picture of me, thinking I look cool....not, but it was so fun.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Janie Emaus wrote Mar 18, 2009
    • Vicki - I bet you did look cool! How could you not? It was your daughter’s wedding.

      Have a great evening.

      Janie



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Diane Klapper wrote Mar 31, 2009
    • ME  3 I WATCHED THEM ALL AND JUST TONIGHT DANCED WITH MAY DAUGHTER AND GRANDSON VIA WEB-CAMS I‘M READING THIS ON 3/30/09



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