Philadelphia Memories

Philadelphia is an ever-changing city. For those of us who grew up here, we've seen and experienced things you just can't have in small-town America.Remembering people, places and things, this blog is dedicated to life in Philly from the early 60's to the early 80's.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Hey, It's RJ!

Dick Clark's American Bandstand is probably the "gold standard" for all TV dance shows. It started here in Philly back in 1957 and stayed here until 1964 when Dick moved the show to Los Angeles until it's demise in the 1980s. If it were true that he sold his soul to the devil, he got a bum deal. Dick Clark's show didn't last forever, he had his health problems of late, and the restaurant in King of Prussia where I and some of my co-workers sometimes did lunch is no more.

Since then, there have always been dance shows on the tube. Most of them were laughable in my humble opinion, whether national or local. Remember Denny Terrio's Dance Fever? Perhaps you do, but probably not because it's one you've grown nostalgic over. Another show for the TV junk heap.

OK, does anyone remember RJ's Hollywood? RJ (real or alleged real name Ron Joseph) was a local host back in the 1970s. There were a number of kids from the neighborhood who would dance on the show on Channel 29 (WTAF then, now WTXF), my sister included. Whether she'll want to admit it or not, I don't know. Sometimes we'd rather forget our past. Then again, it's just my opinion. I never liked that dance type music. Back in my teens, I had strange friendships that somehow worked. One of my best friends would indulge in smoking pot often while we hung out, I never touched it. Other friends who I hung with regularly were disco fans, with their designer jeans, gold chains, and velour shirts. I listened to rock, wore Lee's and Wrangler's, and non-descript T-shirts. They said disco would rule and rock would die. Of course, history proved them wrong. They missed RJ's show by a few years. Would they have danced on that program if it had still existed during their time? I don't know. Would they have admitted if they did? I doubt it, I know I wouldn't have. Every so often someone brings back bad memories with the question "Do you remember when you..." This would be one of those times. Back in that era, there were no VCRs. Maybe that's a good thing, saving a generation of kids from blackmail tapes as they ramble through their adult lives and careers.

Photo borrowed from the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia website at

There was another show that came on in the mid to late 70's on Channel 6 in the late afternoon, in the spot now occupied by Oprah and her annoying gabfest. They were big on playing KC and the Sunshine Band and Wild Cherry's greatest hit (Play That Funky Music, White Boy). Can you remember the name? I can't, so no, this isn't a trivia question, I'm just grasping for an answer.