Mar 7, 2014

American Bandstand Collectibles

Promotional merchandise has become such a part of American media marketing that many new movies launch simultaneously with a merchandising push. Disney is a master of such promotion, along with Lucasfilms and Pixar. Most of the merchandise comes and goes quickly, but dolls representing cultural and pop icons linger on year after year, moving from the bedrooms of adolescents to the shelves of collectors.

One such cultural icon is the Dick Clark doll, still making its appearance 45 years after its introduction. Yes, the American Bandstand host had his own doll—along with a host of other products. Dick Clark was a master of promotion, and a record business genius. From modest beginnings in Philadelphia in 1956, he built a music business empire around his American Bandstand franchise.

American Bandstand is the longest-running television show in U.S. broadcast history, airing continuously for 37 years (1952 to 1989). The original show premiered on Philadelphia’s WFIL-TV as Bandstand, and was hosted by WFIL-radio disc jockey Bob Horn. In the spring of 1956, Horn had some very public run-ins with the law and he was fired. Bandstand producer Tony Mammarella filled in as host until Clark was hired. In the spring of 1957, Clark pitched the show to the ABC television network; it was picked up nationally and the show’s name was changed to “American Bandstand.”

The show’s theme song was changed from Artie Shaw’s “High Society” to the now-famous “Bandstand Boogie” by Les Elgart’s Big band. The Bandstand theme was updated over the years as musical tastes changed, and the final version (in use from 1977-1989) added lyrics and vocals by Barry Manilow. Read More...

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