1. Bandstand and the Closet


The hit television show American Bandstand has shaped how we understand the 1950s and early 1960s. For many, American Bandstand still evokes nostalgic images of white youth culture and sexually innocent teenage romance: a world made up of malt shops, juke joints, sock hops and drive-in movie theaters. If we look closer at how Bandstand was staged, and what was hidden from sight or hiding in plain view, we can see how the show's creators erased blackness and queerness from the show itself and from the official story of youth culture.

bandstand cover 2.jpg

Hosts and Creators: Gillian Frank and Lauren Gutterman.

Producers: Rebecca Davis, Saniya Lee Ghanoui, Devin McGeehan Muchmore and Jayne Swift. 

Intern: Alexie Glover.

Music: Jesse Blevin “Goodnight Sweetheart," Pat Boone “Tutti Frutti,” The Clovers “Fool, Fool, Fool,” Les Elgart “Bandstand Boogie,” The Five Chestnuts “Teenage Love,” Bill Haley “Don’t Knock The Rock,” Frankie Lymon “I’m Not A Juvenile Delinquent,” “Johnny Matthis, “It’s Not For Me To Say,” The Minors “Jerry,” Sandy Nelson “Teen Beat,” The Nutmegs “My Story,” The Pearls “Let’s You and I Go Study,” Lloyd Price “Stagger Lee,” Little Richard “Tutti Frutti,” The Robins “Rockin’ My Blues Away,” Santo and Johnny “A Thousand Miles Away,” “Tear Drop,” Big Mama Thornton “Hound Dog,” The Virtues “Guitar Boogie Woogie Shuffle,”

Music:  “Low Light Switch,” “Our Names Engraved,” and “Shade Ways” by Blue Dot Sessions

Special thanks to Frank Brancaccio, Ray Smith and Arlene Sullivan for sharing their stories with us. Thank you to Matthew Delmont and Marc Stein for sharing their historical expertise with us.

If you enjoyed this episode, please review us on iTunes or Soundcloud and share us on social media. 

Please support our work and keep new episodes coming by making a small donation to Sexing History. 


Selected Readings