They twisted, coffee-grinded and jitterbugged their way into the nation's living rooms on the original "American Bandstand" in the 1950s. Now, older and a little less svelte, they're back in the city where it all began to recapture their glory days.
On Thursday, for the first time in a quarter-century, 27 of the original Bandstand dancers, including Joe, Kenny, Arlene, Carole, Flossie and Jim, reunited to rehearse their steps for a rock 'n' roll celebration over Labor Day weekend in Philadelphia."Any place there's dancing, I'll still go," said Joe Fusco, who was 15 when he joined the show.
Fusco, now 46, of south Philadelphia and Lis Braun of the Hot Foot Agency, a talent agency for dancers, cooked up the idea of bringing the gang together to dance, gossip and reminisce at the rock 'n' roll event, called Rock `A' Rama.
Fusco developed the two-hour show with Braun, contacted the dancers and helped with the choreography.
"American Bandstand" started life as a Philadelphia TV show in 1952, with Bob Horn as master of ceremonies. Dick Clark took over as host in 1956, and the show made its network debut on ABC-TV on Aug. 5, 1957.
Clark moved the show to California in 1964, but many fans remember it as a Philadelphia phenomenon.
The Bandstanders invented steps that are still given a whirl: the bunny hop, the calypso and the stroll.
"You were like a big star. Girls chased ya; the guys hated ya," said Fusco.
So in a dance studio Thursday night, remembering the glory days, they practiced their jitterbugs and coffee-grinding and listened to Bobby Darin, Frankie Avalon and Neil Sedaka.