When I heard about Dick Clark's death I remembered how we all used to rush home from school, drop our books and sit in front of the TV watching the kids from Philly dance close and do the lindy on American Bandstand, the show he hosted five days a week.
And one day it was rumored that Bandstand would be coming to the Miami Beach Auditorium for a special performance. Bobby Darin and Connie Francis would be there, and lucky teens could sit in the audience and watch. My friends and I jumped up and down the halls when we heard it was true!
I must have been ahead of my time in some ways. I remember dressing the morning of the show, putting on my snappiest outfit, aware that the TV cameras would probably do head shots of the audience, as they often did in the smaller Philadelphia studio. So I pulled out a bright green headband, adjusted it on my hair and off I went.
And the show went on in all its teenage splendor. Dick Clark looked boyish, as he actually was back then. Bobby Darin, short and smooth, sang "Splish-Splash (I Was Taking a Bath)..." a silly, popular tune, well below his talent level. Connie Francis, with a big, pasted grin belted "Where the Boys Are", a cloying homage to spring break in Ft. Lauderdale, and the movie of the same name, which had just come out.
The show was taped and there was about an hour to get back home and watch it. So we rushed out of the auditorium to see the show again, this time in black and white on a small screen in our living rooms.
I was with some girlfriends and we couldn't get over that we had just been to the show we were seeing on television!
And best of all, midway through Bobby Darin's splishing and splashing, the impossible happened: there was my smiling, excited young face, lingering for maybe five seconds in close up! We all screamed so loud that the dog next door started barking.
This was long before Warhol was a famous painter who talked about everybody having their 15 minutes of fame. It was a time when there were those who appeared on TV and in the movies, and everybody else.
The next day at school as the kids in the hall kept calling out, "I saw you on TV!" I felt as big a star as Connie Francis.
But I knew that the real star was the bright green headband that caught the cameraman's eye. And a lesson was learned.
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