From Accent on Youth to Bandstand

From the beginning.

The history of how Bandstand evolved has often been misquoted. The urban myth  has it that Gaby Rogers started a program called Just Music which dissolved  into TV Disc Jockey which transformed into Accent on Youth then into Bandstand. All wrong. Rogers did do a 30 minute show at TCN commencing at 2.00 pm on Thursday 10th September 1959.

Although the programs did follow each other the timeline was this;

5th October 1957 was the first show called TV Disc Jockey hosted by John Godson.

22nd February 1958 was the last show of that series hosted by John Godson.

1st March 1958 was the first episode of Accent on Youth hosted by Brian Henderson.

1st November 1958 was the last Accent on Youth hosted by Brian Henderson.

15th November 1958 saw the introduction of the new format of Bandstand hosted by Brian Henderson

17th June 1972 was the last episode of Bandstand hosted by Brian Henderson.

To my knowledge there were only two episodes of Accent on Youth hosted by anybody other than Brian Henderson and that was by American TV star Tab Hunter .

  

The familiar title of Bandstand. It never changed over the entire life of the show.
There were three producer/directors over the entire life of Bandstand. Warwick Freeman was the original who developed the format 1958-1965. Ray Newell 1965-69 and Morelli 1969-1972
Accent on Youth was an audience participation dance program with a sprinkling of artists performing vocals.
It developed from a seated audience, who were invited to dance, by a compere who was either standing or sitting on a stool.
Production techniques were a little clumsy having to shift audiences to get to the compere.
It was very popular and a much sought after show to attend. Essentially it was a Saturday afternoon program.
Accent gained popularity by the clean cut image, insisted on by the dress code, and the highly professional compere Brian Henderson.
As the weeks rolled over the staging improved and rehearsal of artists increased the quality of the production.
Audience numbers were reduced on the floor to allow better dancing and equal opportunity to be exposed 'on camera.'
Guest artists were staged in front of the dancers and raised by performing on a riser.
Changes were in the air Warwick Freeman was sent to the USA to view American Bandstand to look at the latest production techniques. On 1st November 1958 he launched the new look and changed the name to Bandstand.
From then the production would develop into the most prestigious teenage musical entertainment for 14 years. Brian Henderson's persona made Bandstand the most acceptable show to be allowed into a living room.
The dancers were slowly weaned from attending and more production was created.
Warwick became more involved in directorial techniques as the quality of artists, as Frank Ifield, joined the cast list as a regular.
'Hendo' even joined the cast with much approval from the viewing audience. Bandstand was creating a new look, a new value of quality and a new appeal.
'Cue the elephants !' could easily have described the change of presentation from dancing couples to the ideals used on the new Bandstand.
Much of the credit has to be shared with lighting director Lyle McCabe, sitting, and set designer Sid Fort standing right of frame. Warwick had built a great understanding with this team as to the way ahead for the new concepts.
The cast list for each show was growing. This show had John Laws, foreground in western clothing, Patsy Ann Nobel, Sandy Scott, De Kroo Brothers, Judy Stone. It was becoming a family affair of stars. (The history of Bandstand continues on Page 2 )