Art of Aging: Senior co-authors "Bandstand Diaries"

Tamala Edwards Image
Thursday, June 7, 2018
Art of Aging: Senior co-authors "Bandstand Diaries"
Art of Aging: Senior co-authors "Bandstand Diaries." Tamala Edwards reports during Action News at 12 p.m. on June 7, 2018.

SOUTH PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A South Philadelphia native says her life changed forever when she was chosen to dance on "American Bandstand."

She was only a teenager when it became the most popular daytime show back in the 1950's.

Action News caught up to this famous "regular", who is still on the dance floor today.

Arlene Sullivan is the co-author of "Bandstand Diaries." She says she watched American Bandstand for two years before being invited to the studio.

"I was a shy kid so it was hard for me. I didn't even know how to dance," she said.

Sullivan says she originally went on the show to get her mother's attention and approval

She soon became one of the most celebrated regulars from 1956 to 1960.

"I watched everyone on the show and that's how I learned little by little," said Sullivan.

Her frequent dance partner was Kenny Rossi, and the adorable duo got hundreds of fan letters every week.

"The letters started coming in more often, and I'd get more and more and more," added Sullivan.

In its heyday, 20 million people watched Bandstand, making celebrities of the Philadelphia High School students who became known as The Regulars.

But more than the fame, Sullivan says it was the friendships formed on the dance floor that she appreciated most.

"We all bonded together, and a lot of these kids were loners, and we all found each other, and to this day, we're all friends," she said.

After graduating from Bartram High School, Sullivan spent decades working as a blackjack dealer in Atlantic City. She is now reliving her teenage glory days in a new book called, "Bandstand Diaries"

"The book is from 1956 to 1963. It's really a lot of nostalgia in here," she said.

Though Sullivan says she doesn't like to live in the past, there's one part of her past she still very much enjoys.

"I still like to dance and as long as I'm walking, I will continue to dance and its fun, its fun," she said.


Send a News Tip to Action News

Learn More About 6abc Apps