BUNNY GIBSON…BEYOND AMERICAN BANDSTAND

May 19, 2012

 

Dick Clark said that the most frequently asked question was “Whatever happened to.the American Bandstand regulars)”.  said he wished he had a nickel for every time he was asked that question throughout the years.
“Dick was like a father figure to all of us.  American Bandstand became our home.  It w
as more of a home for some of us than our own homes.  There was a life force that I felt the first time i entered the two green doors of “Studio B” at 46th & Market Streets in Philadelphia.  it was magical and I felt it was home for me.  For the first time, I felt like I belonged.
 
My life was forever changed that day when I was thirteen and decided toplay hooky from school and find my way to American Bandstand.  That first day on the show, I was so excited and nervous, I just sat in the bleachers watching Dick Clark and the regulars I saw dancing on television from my home in Darby, Pennsylvania:  I was in awe seeing, in person, Dick, Arlene & Kenny, Carol Scaldeferri, Frani Giordana, the Beltrante sisters, Eddie Kelly, Johnny Alamia, Steve Colarnero and all the other famous dancers!
 
When Eddie Kelly’s partner, Mary Ann Cuff, didn’t show up one day, Eddie asked me to dance.  I was thrilled and all the practicing with my bannister and refrigerator door paid off as we jitterbugged well together. We were both tall so we had a good fit.
I became a “Regular”.  It was official when I received my first fan letter.  It was the first of many and soon I would see myself in teen magazines listed in “Popularity Polls” along with Elvis and the other great rock ‘n’ roll artists of the day.  Magazine articles were written for me like “Social Butterflies are for the Birds” in “16” Magazine and it was always a surprise to see what article I wrote but didn’t write!

But the biggest surprise AB gave me was the day Don Travarelli saw me dancing on the show.  He fell in love with me watching me dance and set out to come to the show after he practiced his dancing with his niece, Robin.  Don was twenty years old and never managed to get into the show because the age requirements were 14 to 18, but he did find a way to meet me and the rest is history!  

Dick Clark and American Bandstand played “Cupid” in my life and Don and I were married.  I was sixteen at the time and had my Mom’s permission to marry just as long as I finished high school, which I did.

Don and I had two daughters, Angel and Maria, and now four grandchildren: Lea, Chirstopher, Alexis & Nicole.  I am glad Don watched AB and not another channel!

Dancing on Bandstand has come full circle for me as I became an actress and dancer eventually moving to Los Angeles.  I felt blessed to be on “Glee”, “How I Met your Mother”, “The Back-up Plan” and “CSI – Las Vegas” as a dancer.  I was more excited than anyone on the set remembering my teenage years dancing on Bandstand. 

Recently, being on “Dancing with the Stars” was another special moment going full circle from being on the #1 dance show as a teenager in Philly to the #1 dance show in 2012.  DWTS gave a special Tribute to Dick Clark and we were honored to be a part of that Tribute. Carrie Ann Inaba became an “Honorary Bandstand Club” member that day and she said “If it wasn’t for us, there wouldn’t be a “Dancing with the Stars”.  Now that is quite an honor- thank you Dick! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uPRzpRNjWos

As an actress, I have many credits on television and film.  My recent films are “Lola’s Love Shack” and “The Killing of Leonard Riley” and just recently shot a “Goya” commercial in Puerto Rico. And, for charity, I’ve hosted the American Heart Associations’s “Heart Ball”,  “America on Wheels” Museum Gala and many other events. My next Rock ‘n’ Roll event, created by Frank Cona, will be for the Veterans in Detroit and will feature the Edsels, Mitch Rider, “The Reflections”, plus Jay and The Americans.

One of the best “full circle” moments in my life is when i hold “Dance Contests” for foster children through “Day of the Child”.  Each year, I have the pleasure of seeing one thousand foster children come to the event, (some of them not feeling good about themselves) and leaving the event feeling the “joy of dancing” and the “joy of how special they are inside”.  At the end of the day, nobody wants to stop dancing!  Each child is a “Winner” in my contest.  All they have to do is “shake their booty” and they get a “prize”.  I raise these prizes throughout the year and welcome all support for “prizes” and being a “mentor” for these precious foster children.

Looking back when I first came out to California in the “80’s”, I went to see Dick at DC Productions. When he saw me walk through the door, he didn’t say “hello”.  Dick said “I knew I’d see you again”.  I think when Dick saw my smiling face dancing in 1959 and he saw that smile continue as I danced to 1961, he knew I would be back in front of the cameras.  He could see my dancing joy and happiness – which has lasted a lifetime.

Thank you Dick.  Thank you American Bandstand.  There is a “Beyond Bandstand” but the experience of dancing on American Bandstand has lasted a lifetime. 
 
(For some fun memories, visit my website:   www.BunnyGibson.com)  and you can write me at Bunny@BunnyGibson.com
 
Thank you Artie Wayne for helping me to share my memories of Dick Clark, American Bandstand and the impact it has had on my life!”
to reach Bobbi Cowan http://bobbicowan.com 

Copyright 2012 by Artie Wayne  https://artiewayne.wordpress.com/2012/04/10/celebrating-two-million-views-today-on-artie-wayne-on-the-web/

BACK TO ARTIE WAYNE ON THE WEB  https://artiewayne.wordpress.com

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