‘American Bandstand’ Dancers: Dick Clark Engaged in ‘Witch Hunts’ to Purge Show of Gays

Frank Brancaccio (pictured, via this interview) and Eddie Kelly (pictured below, from this interview), two gay former American Bandstand dancers tell the National Enquirer that late host Dick Clark had his producers conduct "witch hunts" to "purge gays from the ranks."

BrancaccioClark had his aides comb Philadelphia’s gay hangouts – and if any of the show’s teens were discovered as being openly gay, the horrified host would banish them!

Handsome gay 14- to 17-year old males who helped popularize dance crazes like the Slop, the Continental, the Fly and the Hitchhike could stay on “Bandstand” as long as they looked straight. But any open hint of homosexuality got them kicked out the door – and the teens knew it in no uncertain terms.

[“Bandstand” regular, Eddie] Kelly revealed, “Philadelphia’s Rittenhouse square was known as a meeting place for homosexuals. If you were seen in the square, you couldn’t go on ‘Bandstand.’ So most of us really stayed away.”

But his same-sex secret actually made Brancaccio start going to the show when he was 14 years old!

Kelly“I went to ‘Bandstand’ because I was gay and I was a misfit in my neighborhood. I lived in very tough South Philadelphia,” he says. “I’d see these kids dancing and instinctively I knew I could fit in with them. I went to coffee shops, but I also hung out in Rittenhouse Square and so did many of the dancers. It was no secret. When I used to walk down the streets of Philadelphia and be recognized, I’d be called a ‘Bandstand f*****.’”

The dancers add:

“A high percentage of the popular ‘regulars’ were gay,” declares Brancaccio, now 72 years old and openly homosexual.

And another “Bandstand” regular, Eddie Kelly, confirms, “It’s true. now it’s out and it’s good. When I went to ‘Bandstand’ in 1959, I found most of the males were gay, but that could never have gotten out to the public.”

Comments

  1. Jere says

    In Clark’s defense, this was 1950’s America. Any hint of homosexuality around BANDSTAND would have meant that the show, not only would not go national, but would probably be cancelled entirely. Best case scenario: Clark is busted back down to radio for the rest of his career. Worst Case: he gets blackballed from the industry forever and he’s done completely with broadcasting. Personal feelings may or may not have come into it, but Clark, like most of America, likely evolved on gay issues over the next 50 years.

  2. stevetalbert says

    Whoever wrote the Title is totally wrong.. and should change it to “American Bandstand Protected Gay Youths in the 1950s”..

    >>>>When I went to ‘Bandstand’ in 1959, I found most of the males were gay, but that could never have gotten out to the public.”<<<

  3. Derrick from Philly says

    Very interesting article.

    Without Gays there could be no TV dance shows or videos–and that’s true today.

    What about “Soul Train”? SNAP! SNAP!

  4. Derrick from Philly says

    Very interesting article.

    Without Gays there could be no TV dance shows or videos–and that’s true today.

    What about “Soul Train”? SNAP! SNAP!

  5. John Scuder says

    Not so to above poster. The show was called ” Bandstand” in the beginning it was a locsl Philadelphia show. The “American” came in during the 60s when it went national.

  6. Rory P. Rentmeester says

    Not True. A boyfriend of mine was openly gay and danced on American Bandstand for many years. These are probably just people trying to make a quick buck.

  7. Derrick from Philly says

    @ JAMAL49:

    I’m surprised you feel that way. One of my worst verbal Gay bashing experiences happened while watching old “Soul Train” episodes.

    It was in a barbershop in North Philly. There was an evil piece o’ trade sitting across from me getting his hair cut. There was a TV monitor showing the “Soul Train” dancers. The evil piece of trade looked at the TV then looked at me.

    “Look at them f.ggots shakin’ they azzes like b.tches.” then he turned to look at me, “…they ought to take all the f.ggots and line ’em up and shoot ’em down”

    I was stunned and so humiliated. That was about 1980. It’s one of most painful memories I have.

    But my point is that everyone thought most of the “Soul Train” male dancers were Gay.

  8. Queer Supremacist says

    Another worse case scenario is that some of the dancers could have gone to jail for sodomy laws. As painful as it is to remeber, it’s one thing I hope future generations of gays choose never to forget: it used to be illegal to be openly gay in the “Land of the Free.”

  9. Derrick from Philly says

    Hey, FRANK & JAMAL49:

    I think we have misunderstood each other.

    I think what JAMAL49 was talking about was that there was no effort TO RID “Soul Train” of its Gay male dancers–unlike what we’re reading here about “American Bandstand”.

    Very important distinction.

    I apologize, JAMAL.

  10. mitch reid says

    Soul Train had an openly gay dancer named Jermaine Stewart who went on to have a semi-successful solo artist who’s biggest hit was “We Don’t Have To Take Our Clothes Off”.

    He often danced with his best friend Jody Watley.

  11. Fox says

    Having gay male dancers would guarantee the boys would stay the appropriate number of inches away from their female partners while dancing, not touch their breasts, or grab their asses; thereby resulting in fewer problems with network censors.

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