Thursday, December 09, 2004

Dick Clark's Saturday Night Show

In his comment down below, the crusty Cap'n Bob mentions Dick Clark's Saturday night show. This, of course, sent me into a veritable frenzy of nostalgia. The show, as I recall, was sponsored by Beechnut Gum, and its Saturday evening timeslot conflicted with my parents' favorite: Perry Mason. We had only one TV set at our house, and in fact I didn't know a single person in those days whose family owned more than one. One TV set was considered enough. There was never even any discussion about it, as far as I can recall. And of course the VCR (not to mention the DVR, TiVo, etc.) was so far in the future that we would have considered it the stuff of science fiction. So what was a poor boy to do?

My grandmother provided the answer. She lived next door to us, and she told my mother that I could come over to her house and watch the Dick Clark show. This was a tremendous surprise to me, since this grandmother (my father's mother) hardly ever spoke to anyone in the family. I don't think she liked us, and I've always suspected that my mother somehow coerced her into letting me go over and watch the show. But I didn't question my good fortune. I just went over there, turned on the TV set, and sat in the floor while I watched. My grandmother sat in the room's only chair, a rocker (no pun intended), and spoke not a word during the whole thing. When it was over, I left. Maybe I thanked her. Maybe not.

The performers on this show, as on Bandstand, all lip-synched their numbers, with the exception (as the Cap'n makes note) of Jerry Lee Lewis. I remember seeing him on the show, and others I remember seeing for sure were Chubby Checker, Jack Scott, the Big Bopper, Buddy Holly, Paul Anka, the Silhouettes, and the Royal Teens. There must have been many others.

The show continued at least into my first year of college, but when I went to college, my TV viewing came pretty much to a standstill. Nobody had a TV set in the dorm. That was unheard of. The dorm had one tiny set, down in a dank dungeon-like room in the basement, and that's where I watched the special on which Frank Sinatra welcomed Elvis home from his overseas service in the Army. That was the only show I saw during the nine months of college for my freshman year (1959-1960). While I missed out on the Dick Clark shows that year, it still remains one of the fond memories of my teenhood.


Cap'n Bob said...

"Crusty?" Here I write a wistful, nostalgiac paean to an American icon and I get called crusty. I'll never live down that one isolated time I stabbed an old woman for talking in a theater.

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed reading your memories of the Dick Clark Show. Although I was only in 4th grade, it was a favorite of mine. And no competition with Perry Mason at my house. My Dad directed the show.

Unknown said...

Cool. Your dad did a great job.