BEYOND AMERICAN BANDSTAND…WITH BOB CLAYTON AND JUSTINE CARELLI…KENNY ROSSI AND ARLENE SULLIVAN
May 21, 2012
Arlene Sullivan and Kenny Rossi danced together on American Bandstand for a little more than a year. At the height of their popularity, they received as many as 500 letters a day. Arelene, whose mother was a devoted fan, claims she danced on the show “to get my mother’s attention.” Within three months, Arlene was a regular appearing five days a week. “I was always surprised,” she says,” that people wanted my autograph. I danced on a TV show; nothing I did was different than kids were doing in their basements. But maybe that’s why we were so popular. We were them, and they were us.”
Justine Carelli and Bob Clayton were the dream couple of the show, the star struck lovers. Justine started dancing on Bandstand in 1956, when she was still in junior high school. She spent almost an hour, five days a week, on the fifteen-mile bus ride from her school to the WFIL studios just to dance. Meanwhile, in Wilmington, Delaware, a young high school school student, Bob Clayton, was watching the show and falling in love with Justine. He made his way to the show in 1957 and asked Justine to dance. Letters poured in, and Justine and Bob became the most popular and best known couple on the show. The couple was on magazine covers, in newspaper articles, and appeared at scores of dances and shows.
AFTER I POSTED MY TRIBUTE TO DICK CLARK , MY LONGTIME FRIEND AND PUBLICIST BOBBI COWAN PUT ME IN TOUCH WITH BUNNY GIBSON, ONE OF THE ORIGINAL “AMERICAN BANDSTAND DANCERS” WHO TOLD ME THE MOST FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTION WAS, “WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE AMERICAN BANDSTAND REGULARS? DICK SAID HE WISHED HE HAD A NICKLE FOR EVERY TIME HE WAS ASKED THAT QUESTION THROUGHOUT THE YEARS.
HERE IS A CBS NEWS FEATURE THAT SHOWS BOB AND JUSTINE, KENNY AND ARLENE AS THEY ARE TODAY! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g6ixZwnjsUw
SPECIAL THANKS TO BOBBI COWAN http://bobbicowan.com, BUNNY GIBSON http://bunnygibson.com, and HISTORY OF ROCK.COM http://www.history-of-rock.com/american_bandstand_pictures http.htm for helping with this article.