August 5, 1957 – American Bandstand Goes Coast-to-Coast

On August 5, 1957, WFIL-TV Philadelphia’s local weekday afternoon broadcast, Bandstand, went national on ABC, with 27-year-old Dick Clark as host.  Filling the 3:30 PM time slot, American Bandstand was the newly re-named, hour-and-a half-long celebration of all things teen and Top-40.  It continued to be broadcast from Studio B, 4548 Market Street, Philadelphia, an 80′ by 24′ by 20′ room which would become jam-packed with bleachers, cameras, and teens be-bopping to recordings of the latest pop hits.  Like its original incarnation, American Bandstand included musical film clips – early MTV-type material – during breaks in which another waiting set of 200 teens would be admitted to the studio to replace the previous group.  Regulars quickly became recognizable to the viewing audience, who could follow couples getting together, breaking up, and showing off new steps in the process.  Clark would also interview the teens, getting their feedback on the latest songs.


Accompanied by demonstrations of the Slop, the Bop, the Hand Jive, the Stroll, Circle or Calypso, a live singer or band would usually lip-sync their latest hit.  The first song played on the first national broadcast was Jerry Lee Lewis’ “Whole Lotta Shaking Goin’ On”

American Bandstand‘s theme song on August 5, 1957 (and up until 1969) was the absolutely unforgettable, almost culturally liturgical “Bandstand Boogie” by Charles Albertine.  Is there anyone out there in TV-land who can’t immediately sign along to the lyrics:

“We’re going hoppin’ (Hop!)
We’re going hoppin today
Where things are poppin’ (Pop!)
The Philadelphia way
We’re gonna drop in (Drop!)
On all the music they play
On the Bandstand (Bandstand!)”

Image Credits: ABC and WFIL-TV

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