It was déjà vu in West Philadelphia on Monday August 6, as the multi-purpose room at the Enterprise Center on 45th Market Street, transformed into the American Bandstand studio.
The Enterprise Center, which is located on the exact location where the popular televised dance show WFIL-TV was produced decades ago, held an anniversary celebration where some of the original dancers of the program returned for a reunion.
There were 1950’s checkered tablecloths on the tables, a DJ from 98.1 FM and people dancing on the floor to songs from the Bandstand era.
“Today’s event is recognizing American Bandstand and what it meant to Philadelphia and what it meant to the people who are here attending today,” said Della Clark, president of the Enterprise Center. “This was their life at 13, 14, and 15-years-old and to come back to the old studio which represented their hopes and dreams.”
Clark said the reunion revitalizes the hopes and dreams that were once inspired by American Bandstand.
The broadcast, said Clark, identified local talent and helped to shape such talent. In this way, the Enterprise Center has the same goal.
“So we are just keeping the tradition alive,” she said. “As we say in the Enterprise Center ‘The beat goes on.’”
Bunny Gibson was an original dancer on the hit show and said she was excited about the event.
“American Bandstand was a real turning point in my life and probably one of the biggest things that ever happened to me,” she said.
Gibson met her husband, who saw her dancing on the show and arranged to meet with her. As a result of her appearance on Bandstand, she went on to perform in other venues.
“If it wasn’t for Della Clark, this whole building might have been torn down,” she said. “God bless her for saving our studio and now, thanks to her, I just think it’s great that we are giving back to the community and the studio is still helping people.”
Nicholas Fiorentino, known as “Nicky Blue” was also a regular on the show and referred to Bandstand’s host, Dick Clark, as a “stellar guy” who helped shape and mold him as a young man.
Recording artist, Dee Dee Sharp was on hand to attend the anniversary and was greeted by a throng of regulars anxious to meet her.
“Dick Clark actually promoted my record in 1962,” Sharp said. “I’m 67 now and was about 16 years old [then]. American Bandstand changed my life because no one knew who I was.”