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December 3, 1999     Cape Gazette
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December 3, 1999

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jf CAPE GAZ]gTrE, Friday, December $ - December 9, 1999 - 25 ................. CAPE ...... LIFE American Bandstand reunion brings back rockin' memories By Jim Cresson Nearly everyone who grew up in this relatively rural area during the 1950s will agree that an after- school television show from PhiIadelphia, American Bandstand, played a memorable role in their teenage years. Bandstand, as it was popularly called, not only brought the latest rhythm and blues and rock-'n-roll hits into the homes of young Sussex Countians, but it also fea- tured the newest and coolest dances, done by the show's rockin' teenage regulars. From American Bandstand's television premiere in 1952, host- ed by Philadelphia disc jockey Bob Horn until 1956 when Dick Clark took over as host and cemented both himself and the show into pop-history fame, Bandstand was an integral part of growing up for millions of young Americans. For the regular original Bandstand dancers - all of whom had to be students to gain admis- sion to the show - the years from 1952 to 1962, when American Bandstand went national and eventually moved to Los Angeles, were some of the best years of their lives. They became teen idols themselves for many Philadelphia-region viewers; they met, talked with and even danced with big-name recording artists; and when they graduated from high school and could no longer attend Bandstand, they continued to keep an active eye on the show and kept in touch with the ever- more popular Clark as the years passed. In fact, the American Bandstand Alumni hold an annual reunion hosted each summer by Dick Clark at his BandstandGrill in the King of Prussia (Pa.)Mall outside Philadelphia.  On Thanksgiving Day wek - end, 10 of the early Bandstand regulars gathered at the Reh0th Beach home of Terry Schreffier Lofland for a holiday get-together with plenty of reminiscing, laugh- ing and jitterbugging to the gold- en oldies of their past. The stories they told about those early Bandstand shows were as vibrant today as they were 45 years ago. "It was great being a regular, but sometimes it had its draw- backs," said Terry Lofland. "When I turned 16, my parents rented the Ridley Park (Pa.) Fire Hall and held a dance party for me. My friends and a few regulars were invited to attend. Then Dick Clark announced the party on the show one afternoon, and a whole crowd of South Philadelphia kids showed up, and then a big crowd of North Philly kids arrived and they all had a huge fight in the Fire Hall parking lot. It was a dreadful 'Sweet 16' birthday party. When I went back to the show and told Dick what had hap- pened, he apologized on the air. But each year at our big reunion, he recalls that and we laugh." Bobbi Young, a Kensington- area regular from 1953-'58, told the story of how she was selected Jim Cresson photos American Bandstand Alumni members, l-r: Nino Bambino, Terry Sehreffler Lofland, Barbara Wilston Morrison, Jimmy Wild, Jim Hudson, Maryann Colella Baker, Bobbi Young, Cuz Bonjiorno and Rosalie Beltrante Eerllezza enjoyed a night of dancing and reminiscing at Lofland's resort-area home, Nov. 27. Not shown is American Bandstand Alumni lead exec- utive coordinator Paul Thomas, on the show to accompany Dick Clark to Elvis Presley's first Philadelphia concert, at The Arena in 1956. "We went back- stage after the show and went into Elvis' dressing room. Dick and I were introduced to Elvis, and we sat down to talk with him. The press came in nd took pictures of us all; the next day, my picture with Dick Clark and Elvis was all over the Philly papers. I instantly became a celebrity and got 50 fan letters a week for a while. I wall- papered my room with the fan let- a regular from 1961-'63. ters, and the press came to my house and took a picture of that. It was loads of fun." 'Cuz' Bongiorno, a South Philly-area regular from 1954- '58, smiled broadly as he related what it was like to attend South Philadelphia High School with rock-n'-roll recording artists and teenage idols Frankie Avalon and Fabian. "I was a senior and they were juniors when they had their first hits. It was weird; they'd come out of one class and before they could get down the hall to the next class, they'd be mobbed by girls. I vas impressed, believe me." Bongiorno, who still digs rock- 'n-roll music, says his all-time favorite songs are "Over the Mountain" by Johnny and Joe, "Little Darlin" by the Diamonds and "Still of the Night" by the Five Satins. Nino Bambino, a Kensington- area regular from 1953-'58, and his former dance partner, Rosalie 'Big Ro' Beltrante, of South Continued on page 26 Hunting takes on new meaning in Sussex There definitely is a smell waft- ing through the air, seeping across the land and hanging over the inland waterways during this holi- day season. It's called "Buck Lure Stud, Number 15," and it's used by hunters to lure unsuspecting deer into thinking that some young female is hanging around in bright red see-through antlers and a dress slit up the side, just ready to party to Lou Bega's "Mambo, Number Five." Yes, it's the hunting season, a term normally reserved for moth- ers whose daughter has just turned 40, is single and living in New York, but the term has a different definition for those living in coun- ties where there are high levels of testosterone. Hunting animals, such as deer and waterfowl, is perfectly legiti- mate and has a long history of tra- dition. And it's a sport that you can enjoy even in the privacy of your own bedroom. For instance, now I'm up early, between 6 and 6:30 in the morning. It's not that AROUND TOWN Nancy Katz I'm an early riser, but the sound of gunshots across the water can be deafening. It's a little difficult for those of us who routinely have nightmares of naked Sumo wrestlers chasing them across rooftops and down alleyways. For me, the dream sometimes changes to where I find myself as a contestant in the grueling Iditarod sled race across Alaska, cracking a whip on a pack of dogs, who smoke three pack- ages of cigarettes a day and have major kidney problems. And that's just in the parking lot, before the start of the race. In any case, I've learned to roll on the floor in a tangled heap of bed- sheets and allow the leftover bags of Cheetos break my fall. When I used to live in the Midwest, it took me awhile to rec- ognize it was hunting season. There were a lot of Scandinavians and Norwegians living around there. The women would always say "Yah, dey goo up nor to hut." While the women went about their business of cooking Kookinfroozle, I realized this meant that "The men went up north to hunt." In fact, I never heard of anyone going south to hunt. Anyway, I used to watch the caravans of vehicles, one after the other, heading out, just as their ancestors had done, to stalk their prey on vast uninhabited lands, which now mostly were occupied by strip malls that were run by a lot of ex-cons. The cars and vans were always packed to the hilt with the standby hunting gear, hundreds of cases of Budweiser and stacks of oily mag- azines. And they would have those bumper stickers with their philosophy of life written in red and black: "My wife yes, My dog maybe, My gun never." The men always had these out- fits on that were supposed to help them blend into the terrain, greens, browns and pale yellow. These earth tone outfits are the one item that deer and waterfowl fear the most. Now they can't tell the difference between a hunter and someone who is running for the Senate or the Presidency. Hillary Rodham Clinton wore a rust colored suit in her announce- ment last week that she would be announcing her announcement to run for the Senate. And AI Gore has changed his wardrobe to prove he was only kidding about being the Vice President by wear- ing soft green polo shirts. All of this camouflage, hiding in the bushes, and using fake mat- ing calls, just doesn't seem fair. If you are going to run for office, do it the old fashioned way. But most women find the sport of hunting a little hard to under- stand. Women tend to be more nurturing. And when it comes to animals, they want to be protec- tive and they would think more highly of the hunter if the playing field were even. They would prefer a man to face his quarry, just like Marion Brando in "A Streetcar Named Desire." We all remember him standing out on the street, below the apartment window yelling "Stella" over and over again, It's the same thing here. We would like the hunter to just stand up and face his adversary and yell "Bambi." If he has the heart, that is. It would make us feel better.