Kids dancing to rock music on American Bandstand was harmless entertainment. When I watch old clips of those times, however, I wonder if the youth movements of the sixties didn't really start in the fifties among the pre baby boomer generation, those who came right before the great wave.
The kids look so wholesome in the clips, the girls in skirts and saddle shoes, the boys in sweaters. But this was also the time when parents fretted over the influence of Elvis and the wave of black artists like Fats Domino and Chubby Checkers. Morals were loose, they worried. Juvenile Deliquency was in the news.
There were movies about teen pregnancy such as Blue Denim and A Summer Place. There were movies about kids gone wild like Blackboard Jungle. Watch teenagers of the day screaming at an Elvis concert and you get the feeling that if can get large groups of teenagers ginned up, one might lose control of them.
There were efforts during the fifties to ban rock and roll. But no one can stop an idea whose time has come. When the kids came together at a concert, they sensed their power, the power of numbers.
I suspect that the seeds of the sixties youth movements had already been planted in the fifties, and it was only the increase in numbers that set them loose. There was no turning back. The youth were on the move. It was the parents who needed to adjust. And Dick Clark, for a time, was right in the thick of it.