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‘American Bandstand’ studios to reopen for tours Saturday

This news story was published on April 22, 2012.
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By Sam Wood, The Philadelphia Inquirer –

PHILADELPHIA — For seven years it was a hot spot of teenage American pop culture.

From 1957 until 1964, Dick Clark hosted “American Bandstand” at the West Philadelphia studios of WFIL-TV, where thousands of teens dreamed of appearing on the hit show.

But few actually got the chance to dance inside the nondescript building in the shadow of the Market-Frankford El at 46th and Market streets.

If you were one of those teens who yearned for your “Bandstand” moment, here’s your chance.

On Saturday between noon and 3 p.m. the current owners will open the former Studio B for three hours of tours, reminiscing, and perhaps, one last Twist on the dance floor.

“We’ll put on some music and let people have their moment,” said Jeff Wicklund of the Enterprise Center, a nonprofit business incubator which purchased the building in 1995. “We’re just trying to be good stewards of the ‘Bandstand’ legacy.”

Fans of the show have flocked to the building, dropping off flowers and cards since Clark’s death on Wednesday, Wicklund said.

“There have been a lot of people coming through asking to take a few pictures in studio,” he said. “It’s fairly well preserved with photos, mementos and a mural on the wall.”

When the Enterprise Center bought the structure, it had been abandoned for almost 20 years. It’s now on the National Register of Historic Places. Wicklund said the Center has established an endowment to maintain the “Bandstand” studios, which now play host to private parties, high school proms, weddings and fashion shows.

To fund the endowment, the Center is asking for a $20 contribution for admission on Saturday.

“If you can help us out it would be great,” Wicklund said. “But we’re not going to turn anybody away who can’t afford it.”

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