Lea Lane

Lea Lane
Florida, USA
August 26
author, Travel Tales I Couldn't Put in the Guidebooks, available at Amazon.com and on Kindle
“I’ve discovered the secret of life,” Kay Thompson, the eccentric entertainer and “Eloise” author, once said. “A lot of hard work, a lot of sense of humor, a lot of joy and a lot of tra-la-la!” And that's been my life: As a travel writer for over 30 years, I've been around the block (more like around the world), and I write true stories about interesting people and places. (Check out my travel site, Travels With Lea.) I've lived an unconventional life in conventional trappings. Been a corporate VP, worked with foster kids, acted in an Indie ("Nurse 1"), was on Jeopardy!. I've been managing editor of a travel publication, written for the Times, and authored books. OS is my home, but I also blog on The Huffington Post, and I've contributed (mostly anonymously) to everything from encyclopedias to guidebooks. Married young, divorced late; married late, widowed early, I dated lots in-between -- and survived a scary illness. After being happily, peacefully solo for many years, I'm now happily married again. I founded and still edit www.sololady.com, a lifestyle Website for single women. I'm truly grateful for each precious day, each well-earned wrinkle, my family, my cat. Truth, laughter, friendship, late love. And this blog -- on this wonderful site!

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Editor’s Pick
APRIL 19, 2012 9:33AM

Bandstand & The Headband

Rate: 27 Flag


When I heard about Dick Clark's death I remembered how we all used to rush home from school, drop our books and sit in front of the tv watching the kids from Philly dance close and do the lindy on American Bandstand, the show he hosted five days a week.

And one day it was rumored that Bandstand would be coming to the Miami Beach Auditorium for a special performance. Bobby Darin and Connie Francis would be there, and lucky teens could sit in the audience and watch.  My friends and I jumped up and down the halls when we heard it was true!

I must have been ahead of my time in some ways.  I remember dressing the morning of the show, putting on my snappiest outfit, aware that the TV cameras would probably do head shots of the audience, as they often did in the smaller Philadelphia studio. So I pulled out a bright green headband, adjusted it on my hair and off I went. 

And the show went on in all its teenage splendor. Dick Clark looked boyish, as he actually was back then. Bobby Darin, short and smooth, sang "Splish-Splash, I was taking a bath ...." a silly, popular tune, well-below his talent-level. Connie Francis, with a big, pasted grin belted  "Where the Boys Are," a cloying homage to spring break in Ft. Lauderdale, and the movie of the same name, which had just come out.

The show was taped and there was about an hour to get back home and watch it. So we rushed out of the auditorium to see the show again, this time in black and white on a small screen in our living rooms.

I was with some girlfriends and we couldn't get over that we had just been to the show we were seeing on television!

And best of all, midway through Bobby Darin's splishing and splashing, the impossible happened: There was my smiling, excited young face, lingering for maybe five seconds in close up! We all screamed so loud that the dog next door started barking.

This was long before Warhol was a famous painter who talked about everybody having their 15 minutes of fame. It was a time when there were those who appeared on tv and in the movies, and everybody else.

The next day at school as the kids in the hall kept calling out, "I saw you on tv!" I felt as big a star as Connie Francis. 

But I knew that the real star was the bright green headband that caught the cameraman's eye.  And a lesson was learned.



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Lea, what fun! We used to jump around "candidates" to see if we made it on the nightly news. But to be wearing a green head band and a close up....absolutely the best! Wish I had been there to scream with you .
Love it. It's better than being Prom Queen. You can't wear a tiara just anywhere, but a green headband...
Unfortunately, we tend to remember Clark in his New Year's Rocking Eve mode and forget what a force he was in the early days of rock and the lives of our generation. I used to watch Bandstand on occasion but my sister and her friends were huge fans and knew the names of all the "popular kids" (or were they called the "regulars"?)
Thanks for a fun piece that brought back a lot of memories. R
Somewhere in the mouldering archives of CBS News there is footage of me speaking at a 1967 anti-war rally in Berkley. I heard about it from friends but since I didn't watch TV at the time, I never saw it... but that was a different time... here's to Dick Clark and all the talent he found to display on the Bandstand.
The idea of "being on tv" was so different then. Today we have Snookies and NeNes and Kardashians and local access. A different world. I would say "innocent," but only in some ways.
This is just adorable. Charming and adorable, like you, Lea. ~r
You have so fully lived in your times, Lea, that I anticipate your writing about these cultural markers. Brava again for the first- hand reporting and the clever title.
Great story. Here's another.

There were two sides to Dick Clark -- the public and the private, as is the case with many celebrities. And by reputation (at least), he was a hard-nosed (at least) business man.

Beyond his public personae, I can attest that he had at least one winning quality on the personal side. I personally knew a contestant on one of his shows, a fellow who called himself Comet, who did -- you'll forgive the expression -- a dead-on impersonation of John Lennon.

Unfortunately, in his early forties, Comet was diagnosed with terminal cancer. One of his last requests was to get a call from Dick Clark. My brother-in-law put in a call to Clark's people, and I happened to be there when the return call came thru from Dick Clark himself. It was a very generous thing to do, and it was a thrill and a final wish fulfilled for Comet, who died shortly thereafter.
Thanks for the really interesting layer, Tom. It's amazing how this new media allows for more nuanced understanding of celebrities and times. That's one of the best things about it, how we see connections and reality behind the spin.
Great story. How to attract a cameraman's eye with color when most people would see it in black and white. I wonder if the camera was color for the few existing sets? Great tactic, great result, though of course the possibility exists that it wasn't the headband at all that got you the shot.

Tom, another great story.

Thank you both.
This is one of those times when it feels so cool to be old enough to remember the "olden days" of pop culture. Bright and shiny things usually do attract the cameras, Lea, but it helped a lot that you were a knockout, I'll bet.

Lordy, I mighta seen you! I used to watch the show every afternoon.
Dick Clark is more than an icon in the music industry. His legacy was his keen sense of civilty and his fans throughout the ages will miss his candor and optimistic outlook during the height of civil unrest during the 1960s.

Dick Clark is a genuine gentleman.
The Midnight Special
American Bandstand
Soul Train
Lea, you've got the greatest stories!!
of *course* you were on bandstand, lea! i wish we could see the tape. i loved that show and tried so hard to look/be one of those girls who danced with the handsome boys to a 'fifties slow song. sigh. great story.
Oooh, how exciting! And I am glad to see I'm not wrong about thinking green accessories are often the way to go!
Lea, I agree about the absolute thrill of being on TV in those days. You girls were probably on cloud 9 for the month! Great story Lea..thanks for sharing. I used to sit with my sister on the floor and watch ABS on our old B & W cabinet set. My sister explained the public lives of the stars to me....fond memories indeed....RIP Mr Clark....
Thanks for this wonderful reminiscence.
I'm not surprised you were destined for stardom--and on American Bandstand, no less. Wow!
It was fun to read about your five seconds of fame. I just posted my own remembrance of American Bandstand ("It's Got a Good Beat and You Can Dance to It"), but yours is better! I was never anywhere near the TV studio itself. I was watching it from Texas, after school, in black and white, like you did. r
Lea, you've been everywhere! You're amazing. What a double bill. I don't suppose he was singing Mack the Knife at that point in his career. He was a wonderful talent. /r/
Just smiling through the whole post. The screaming of teenage girls can overwhelm the roar of a jet engine.
And here's to our Zelig of OS.
That's funny, I call my older son "Zelig" because he really seems to be everywhere. I guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree ....
What a great memory!
Oh boy! I stopped in because I figured you MUST have had an encounter with Dick Clark and posted. Great story. I agree you're the Zelig of OS!
Lea, I just loved this. The perspective this lends to youth is precious, rare and beautiful. Thank you for sharing that green headband with us. Pity my parents believed color TV would make them sterile or something. (My dad finally won one in a raffle in 1973 when sterility was no longer an issue, so they kept it).
Thanks for your remembrances, Lea. It was a fun time. And you knew that Dick Clark had a successful concept when many of the cities would have their very own derivative show, at least we did in Chicago.
These would spawn Soul Train and others. But I'm glad that you had your moment and the cool thing is, that you have seen it in perspective. And you have built on your greening moment in this very warm, receptive forum. Thanks for sharing such great times.
Thanks for your remembrances, Lea. It was a fun time. And you knew that Dick Clark had a successful concept when many of the cities would have their very own derivative show, at least we did in Chicago.
These would spawn Soul Train and others. But I'm glad that you had your moment and the cool thing is, that you have seen it in perspective. And you have built on your greening moment in this very warm, receptive forum. Thanks for sharing such great times.
You, Lea Lane, being ahead of your time? Reading this came as no surprise. Another great Lea Lane experience, green head band or not. You always shine. This sounds like a great teenage time.
Whooop!! Whooop!!! I felt like I was there, screaming in your living room with you. A slice of life.
Yes, a slice of life and a slice of innocence, long gone.
Perfect story, I'd expect nothing less. Where's a pic of you, even if not in green headband? We Philly girls all watched Bandstand, tried the dances at home and knew all the "Bandstand couples." We were juusst too young to go to the studio on our own until the last year before the show moved to LA. Of course I have a Dick Clark story. Wish I could type long enough to tell it, but mine is about his kindness, already told so well by Tom. You should give your beautiful granddaughters green headbands for luck.
I love this story. Wish you could find a video of the show. this is SO awesome! RRRRR
Amy, I don't think they kept tape in "those days." Maybe I can find out.