CLOSE YOUR EYES. TAKE A DEEP BREATH. OPEN YOUR HEART.

SHADY DEL KNIGHT, ADMINISTRATOR

SHADY DEL KNIGHT, ADMINISTRATOR
High School Yearbook Photo

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight
HELLO STRANGER ... IT SEEMS LIKE A MIGHTY LONG TIME!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

The Big Picture, Part 1: The Holy Grail!


SOMETHING GREAT HAPPENED

50 YEARS AGO TODAY

ON JUNE 27, 1965...

THE PREMIERE OF A

TELEVISION SERIES THAT

SOON BECAME MUST SEE TV

FOR MILLIONS OF SCHOOL

AGE AMERICAN KIDS.


Look at the picture below.


Can you identify anyone in it?

I searched for years and this is by far the best
picture I have ever seen related to this subject.
I feel like I have found the Holy Grail!

I discovered the rare image in the archives of the
Monterey County Herald. It was taken June 20, 1966,
at Nepenthe, Big Sur, a popular tourist destination on
California's Central Coast where the Santa Lucia
Mountains rise sharply from the Pacific Ocean
offering stunning views to visitors.

Photo courtesy The Monterey County Herald

The picture was snapped during location shooting
for Dick Clark's Where The Action Is, the music
variety television series that aired every weekday
afternoon from June 1965 through March 1967.
Entertainment guest, the late Percy Sledge, can
  be seen performing in front of an ABC camera.
On the bench in back of Percy are the series
regulars, the dance troupe of Pete Menefee
and The Action Kids.

On that same field trip up the California coast to
the Monterey area in June 1966, the Action crew
shot a segment at Fisherman's Wharf. I was
thrilled to find video shot at that location.
Here's the Syndicate of Sound, a garage
band from San Jose, performing their
up-and-coming hit single "Little Girl"
accompanied by The Action Kids.

 "Little Girl" - Syndicate of Sound 
 (June 1966, highest chart position #8, 
 filmed on location at Fisherman's Wharf) 




I'm sure you couldn't help noticing that
the technical quality of the video was
very low by today's standards.

Unfortunately it is typical of the remnants of Action and many other television shows
of the 50s and 60s. Programs that lacked the potential to make money as reruns were considered disposable in those days. Entire series were wiped (bulk erased) and the tapes reused. Apparently all that remains today of the 400+ episodes of Action are a few dozen low tech Kinescopes like the one you just saw, leaving millions of Baby Boomers and younger fans alike wishing and hoping for a remastered DVD of the series that will probably never come. It's a painful reminder that show business is just that... a business.
Quite often it makes dollars but very little sense.

After watching so many grainy, washed out, faded
and distorted Kinescopes salvaged from the 50s and
60s, those of us who came of age during those years
might need to remind ourselves that we experienced
the halcyon days of our youth in living color, not
grainy black and white. That's why this picture
made my eyes pop. It's the only color image of
the Action series I have ever seen.


It is also the first time I ever saw those wonderful
dancers, The Action Kids, in color. In this three part
series I will focus on the talented troupe and show
you some of their greatest performances on Action.


In March 1964, singer Jackie DeShannon released
a cover of the Buddy Holly hit "Oh Boy." In this
video from one of the earliest episodes of Action
in July of 1965, Jackie performs the song in a
bowling alley surrounded by The Action Kids.

 "Oh Boy" - Jackie DeShannon 
 (July 7, 1965 episode of WTAI, 
 single released March 1964, uncharted) 




In another episode from the first season of Action,
the original five female formation of Action Kids
backs up Phil Spector's girl group the Crystals.

 "He'a a Rebel" - The Crystals 
 (August 1965 episode of WTAI, 
 single charted in November 1962, 
 highest position #1) 




Please skip ahead to the 1:50  mark of the next vid
and you'll see intermittent shots of The Action Kids
dancing in the street as the Vogues perform their
top 30 hit, "The Land of Milk and Honey."

 "The Land of Milk and Honey" - The Vogues 
 (July 1966, highest chart position #29) 




Keep in mind that this series is primarily
about the dancing. The music is secondary.
Try your best to disregard the poor sound and
video quality of most of these clips while you
enjoy the fancy footwork of The Action Kids.


They danced in the mountains, at the beach
and in parks. As you'll see in this next clip
featuring the Turtles, they even danced
on sidewalks along busy city streets.
Click at the  1:00  mark of this video and
watch as The Action Kids join Flo & Eddie
in an ebullient celebration of of life
and youth, California style.

 "You Baby" - The Turtles 
 (March 1966, highest chart position #20) 





In Part 2 you'll meet the individual
members of The Action Kids and see
more videos that show off their skill.

 SDMM is Where The Action Is 

 so please be here next time! 

Have a Shady day!

69 comments:

  1. Never heard of this show (before my time), but this seems like a precursor to American Bandstand (which was mostly before my time). Is that right?

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    1. Hi, dear Robin! Thank you for being the early bird. Robin = early bird, get it? :)

      Yessum, I understand that Where The Action Is was light years before your time and it doesn't surprise me that you never heard of it. Here is the correct timeline which includes American Bandstand and other TV music shows for teenagers that you might have heard of. Bandstand actually came first, starting in 1952. Shindig premiered in September 1964. The Lloyd Thaxton Show went into national syndication in late 1964. Hullabaloo and Hollywood A Go-Go both started airing nationally in January 1965 and Shivaree in April 1965. Dick Clark's Where The Action Is made its debut in late June of 1965, 50 years ago today. "Action" differed from the other shows because it was shot entirely on location at beaches, mountain ski resorts, parks, city streets, etc. rather than in a studio. As you experience this 3-part series keep in mind that the focus is on the dance troupe, The Action Kids, and not on the artists performing in the clips.

      Thank you very much for coming over, dear friend Robin, and enjoy your weekend!

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    2. Bandstand came first... huh. I guess I learned something. I don't believe I've heard of any of the others.

      I shall keep it in mind as we go along that the emphasis is on the kids and the dancing:)

      Delete
    3. Hi again, dear Robin! It always delights me to have you back over and I thank you for returning. Bandstand wasn't the first program to feature teenagers dancing to recorded music. As I reported in a post last year, Philadelphia broadcast pioneers Joe Grady and Ed Hurst hosted a popular radio show called The 950 Club on WPEN. The show, which ran from the mid 40s to the mid 50s, was the first to feature teenagers dancing to records live on the air. As such, The 950 Club was the predecessor of Bandstand.
      In 1958, Ed Hurst began hosting Summertime on the Pier, later called The Steel Pier Show, a long running TV dance show that originated from Atlantic City's famous Steel Pier.

      Yessum, I've been reminding everyone who is nice enough to comment that in this series The Action Kids dancers take the spotlight. Stay tuned for parts 2 and 3 immediately following this post.

      I hope your week is off to a great start, dear friend Robin. I'll connect with you again soon!

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  2. It is a shame that we never realize what we have until years later. Perhaps bloggers will one day be credited for arresting that trend in our small little ways.

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    1. Hi, Chris! Thanks for coming, good buddy! It makes me ill to think of all the priceless vintage programming that was "wiped" because the men in suits didn't know or didn't care about the long term value of the content. If money was the motive they should have realized that fans of rock 'n roll would be willing to buy copies of those shows. I was lucky enough to locate and buy four episodes of Action on VHS and another four on DVD. They have the original commercials embedded which is an added treat.

      I become mesmerized watching these vintage clips and seeing popular recording acts of the day performing in outdoor settings with groups of kids gathered 'round and The Action Kids doing their thing to the music. I wish you could see all 400+ episodes because it was pure excitement.

      I'm going to emphasize to every person who comments that this 3-part series is about the dance troupe, The Action Kids, and not about the music acts. Please remember to focus your attention on the dancers and skip to the recommended points in the videos to get a good look at them.

      Thanks again, Chris, and have a great weekend!

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  3. I try to live in the moment always, Shady, because we never know when our time is up...or someone else's, and being appreciative or the people in our lives and the time we have is so important. Another great post, thank you so much for sharing, dear friend.

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    1. Hi again, dear Linda! Thank you very much for coming and for sharing your thoughts with me today. I hope you will stay tuned for the remaining two posts in this three part series. Part three, in particular, will surely inspire someone like you. Thank you again for joining me today, dear friend Linda, and enjoy your weekend!

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  4. Funny, I was always well aware of American Bandstand but can't recall the Action kids...Leave it to Dick Clark to come up with the awesome on-location idea. Such a trailblazer, he was. :-) Always a pleasure to read your posts and be transported to a more pleasant time.
    The "Little girl" song might just be the earliest example of rap I ever heard! (talking instead of singing)

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    1. Hi, dear Diedre! I'm very happy to see you here on a Saturday. Thank you very much for stopping by. If you read my reply to Robin's comment (above) you saw my list of popular music variety television series for teenagers. They represent a variety of formats. American Bandstand and The Lloyd Thaxon Show each featured a host, live performances by recording stars and high school age kids dancing in the studio to the live acts and records in between. Hollywood A Go-Go featured a host and live performances by recording stars with the added touch of including go-go dancers on the set (The Gazzarri Dancers). Shindig and Hullabaloo each had a host and live performances by popular acts but did not have kids dancing in the studio. Instead, they also featured groups of go-go dancers to generate extra excitement while recording artists performed. Where The Action Is was the most different show of all. There was no "host," only "voice-over" introductions of the music acts which were recorded off camera by Dick Clark. There was no group of high school kids dancing in a studio because Action constantly took the show on the road around Southern and Central California and even across the country. The Action Kids, the talented dance troupe to which this three part series is dedicated, were as popular with teenager viewers as the recording stars themselves. As the series progresses I invite you to observe the dance steps of these amazing young people. They are something to behold and make me envious.

      Thank you again for being here, dear friend Diedre, and enjoy the rest of your weekend!

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    2. I almost forgot. Thank you very much for choosing to follow Shady Dell Music & Memories, dear Diedre. I am very happy to have you as a new friend!

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  5. They look so middle aged...maybe it is their clothes. Maybe they are middle aged.

    Have a nice weekend, Shady!

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    1. Hi, Susie! I'm not sure who "they" are, but I can tell you that the oldest performers in this bunch were Jackie DeShannon and The Vogues and they were only in their early to mid 20s at the time these episodes were taped. The Syndicate of Sound, the Crystals and the Turtles were all in their late teens, maybe twenty at most. The same goes for the dance troupe, The Action Kids. Most of the members were in the 18-21 age range. I urge you to keep your eye on those talented terpsichoreans in Parts 2 and 3 coming soon.

      Thanks for dropping by, dear friend Susie!

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  6. It's a pity there aren't more shows like this on television today. Outside of "Dancing With the Stars", I don't get into all those dance-show competitions every network now has. Also - I'm a big fan of Dick Clark!

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    1. Hi, Ahston! Thank you for coming for a visit, dear friend. I have seen debates on YouTube and elsewhere among fans of the various TV music shows of the 60s, people arguing about which series had the best go-go dancers. I enjoyed them all: the Hullabaloo Dancers, The Shivaree Dancers, the Shin-diggers and The Gazzarri Girls on Hollywood A Go-Go; but The Action Kids were my favorites. Here are some reasons why. The Action Kids seemed to have more charm and personality. They seemed more down to earth and accessible, like the kind of kids you'd enjoy hanging out with or have as a girlfriend or boyfriend. The Action Kids didn't dress in the same costumes or uniforms for every show. They wore a variety of cool clothes. They were more mobile than the other dance troupes. They danced on top of buildings, on rocks, on the beach, all sorts of interesting places with choreography tailored to the terrain. They also performed a greater variety of imaginative dance steps than any of the others and boy were they good! I hope you will return for Part 2 and Part 3 when I once again shine the spotlight on this fine group of dancers.

      Thank you again, dear Ashton, and enjoy the rest of your weekend!

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  7. I have never heard of this series but Dick Clark was one budy guy! He must have been doing American Bandstand at the same time. No one higher up took what Desi Arnaz started on the I Love Lucy series when he demanded it be filmed with 3 cameras and have the same quality like a film plus they had the rights-thank god. I know the early years of Johnny Carson are, for the most part, lost as are so many other shows. When one watches Ed Sullivan or others shows one can see the lack of quality in the earlier episodes. This was great to see especially that I would have been only 1 year old in 1965. Love those fashions:)

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    1. Hi, dear Birgit! Thank you very much for coming over tonight. Yessum, Dick Clark was hosting Bandstand while at the same time executive producing another music series, Where The Action Is. Dick's voice can be heard introducing the individual music acts and providing trivia about the shooting locations. It is a terrible shame that the performances of so many music legends were lost when the WTAI tapes were bulk erased. Gone too are most of the sensational dance routines of my featured performers The Action Kids. If you enjoy the music, dances and clothing styles of the mid 60s, then I invite you to stay tuned for Parts 2 and 3. I will introduce the individual members of The Action Kids and you will see them executing their cool dance steps behind another set of popular recording artists. I hope you will join me.

      Thank you again for stopping in, dear friend Birgit. I hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend!

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  8. I want to be one of The Action Kids. I could start the group and show all over again. Unfortunately, I can't dance. WDW is sound asleep and snoring. It's another exciting evening in the Junebug household.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. P.S. I love The Turtles. Playing the music did not drown out the snoring.

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    2. Hello, dear Janie Junebug! Thanks for coming by, kiddo. If WDW snoozes, he loses. It's a good thing you remembered that SDMM is where the action is.

      I think you would have made an excellent Action Kid. As Lou Grant said to Mary Richards, "You got spunk." I will change the quote from that point and remind you that "I LOVE spunk." Wasn't that Turtles clip a joy to watch? That performance by the Turtles flanked by The Action Kids there on a street corner captures perfectly the carefree California attitude of the 60s. They didn't take themselves seriously. The only thing they took seriously was having fun. So it is here on SDMM.

      Thank you again for devoting your Saturday night to spending some time with me in the Shady. Please stay tuned for Pt. 2 and Pt 3 of this series because I'm sure you will have something valuable to contribute after you experience Part 3 in particular. Enjoy your Sunday, dear Janie!

      P.S. - I'm hitting the road again today and living out of a suitcase until Wednesday. I will be using a borrowed laptop and won't have much time for blogging. If I am late to your July 1 BOTB please understand. Okay?

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    3. I forgot to tell you that Where The Action Is aired at 4:30 pm weekdays right after the Gothic soap opera Dark Shadows. Both TV shows became after school favorites for millions of kids. I passed on Shadows but was glued to Action.

      Thanks again, Janie!

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    4. I remember when Dark Shadows was on, but I wasn't allowed to watch it. My best friend's family had a color TV. She got to watch Dark Shadows. You should never worry about what time you arrive. I don't visit as often as I should and want to do. Too many problems. Too many people being pushed around.

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    5. Hi, Janie! I have always loved vampire stories but I never got into Dark Shadows. It moved along at a snail's pace and didn't stimulate me or scare me enough. I don't know what you mean by "Too Many problems. Too many people being pushed around." I hope nobody is pushing you around. If you need to discuss, then please email me and I will reply when I can. Keep in mind I'm on the road again and might not be of much help to you until Thursday when I''m back home. Thank you again for your return visit and kind comment, dear friend. I wish you a safe and happy week ahead!

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    6. I mostly meant that my mother decided what was on the TV. I used to pretend to know what the other kids were talking about when they discussed shows. I was still doing that in high school when a boy I dated asked, Did you see Happy Days last night? I said "no" but pretended to understand his description of the episode. To this day, I have not seen Happy Days. Probably doesn't matter. I read a lot and practiced the piano. I don't like vampires or anything creepy or paranormal. I can't dance, but oh my! Favorite Young Man can dance like nobody's business. He seldom dances because when he does, everyone else stops to watch him. He is a thing of beauty in many way, as is The Hurricane. I love to think of the way she moves her hands and the way she holds them, with her long, slender fingers in this certain, perfect position. I'm not pushed around literally anymore, just figuratively.

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    7. You remind me of Kathleen Mae Schneider. She will be the first to tell you that she missed a lot in the 50s and 60s because she was studying classical music and art was not exposed to popular music or television.

      Truth be told I was not a big fan of Happy Days. Happy Valley (BBC One) - YES! Thanks to my dear friend Janie Junebug who gave that series her highest zeal of approval.

      It's interesting that your children are such good dancers. I always wanted to be a better dancer. At the Dell I watched in envy and awe as guys who were nimble on their feet swept girls off theirs (and out the door to their cars).

      Don't let anybody push you around, literally or figuratively. Janie Junebug: You Shall Overcome.

      Thank you again for the return engagement, dear friend, and enjoy the rest of your week!

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    8. I asked FYM where he learned to dance. He said he taught himself.

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    9. There's a good chance he used Bandstand (which aired until the late 80s), Soul Train or one of the other television music programs as a tutorial. That's what I did (or tried to do).

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  9. I watched American Bandstand for years, but was also too young to have known about The Action Kids. I'm glad you were able to track down the only color photo. It's a shame the performances were compromised over time.

    Julie

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    1. Hi, dear Julie! I am very happy to welcome you back to SDMM. Thanks for coming! I started watching Bandstand in 1958 at age 8 and remained a regular viewer more than twenty years. Where The Action Is, the spin-off series that I am saluting in this three part series, is my all time favorite TV show of the genre for many reasons, not the least of which is the cool yet accessible group of dancers known as The Action Kids.

      Yessum, my eyes popped when I stumbled upon that ultra rare Holy Grail photograph in living color. Nobody I contacted since then knew of its existence. It is a shame that all we have left of the actual performances are those grainy, faded black & white clips.

      I invite you to stay tuned for Parts 2 and 3, dear Julie, because I think you will find them educational and inspiring as well as entertaining. Thank you again for coming by, dear friend, and enjoy your Sunday!

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  10. I remember watching American Bandstand and Soul Train and Hullabaloo and Where The Action Is and Shindig. Funny now, but so many of the teen music show's bands were lip-synced back then--not that we knew what that meant or cared. We were used to hearing 45s--remember sock hops?! I think that's why shows like Ed Sullivan were exciting because it was live music. I'd wait through the acrobats and plate twirlers to hear the latest hot band...live.

    But I never thought of Where The Action Is to be focused on the dancers. Interesting. It was still the bands and the music for me and they were just background dancers. I never paid much attention to them, to be honest.

    These were great clips to find. I think the networks thought of them as cheaply-made, afternoon, throw-away shows so it doesn't surprise me little or nothing was saved. Brought back a lot of memories. Thanks, Shady!

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    1. Hi, dear Rita! Thank you very much for coming down for my 50th anniversary salute to Where The Action Is. It's cool to know that you watched the same shows I did, even Soul Train. You are absolutely right. Back then there was no shame in lip syncing. It was a very common and cost effective practice, especially for shows like WTAI which presented artists singing on the beach, in parks, in boats on lakes and on top of mountains. I'm glad you remember the acrobats, jugglers and plate spinners on Ed Sullivan, a program that I watched every week with my family.

      It's interesting that you didn't pay much attention to The Action Kids dancers. They were as important to the show as the guest recording artists and received tons of fan mail. I will be featuring my favorite members of the troupe in parts 2 and 3. Isn't it funny how one person's throwaways are another persons treasures? For years fans have been asking why Dick Clark Productions never released the WTAI series on DVD. The answer, sad but true, is that most of the taped episodes were destroyed by the end of the 60s, long before DVDs were invented.

      I am very happy to have triggered some happy musical memories for you, dear friend Rita. Thank you again for coming and have a wonderful week ahead!

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  11. Fun! Fun! Fun! I loved Where the Action Is...I must have watched it mostly in the summer because I always associate that show with summer and the beach and wishing I lived in California! Looking at those videos makes me smile at how bad the lip-syncing was! But the music is great and I'm looking forward to learning about the dancers...that would have been my dream job back in the day and I learned how to dance from those kids! Thanks for the big smile today!

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    1. Hi, dear YaYa! Thank you very much for reporting in as I pay tribute to my favorite TV dancers The Action Kids. You would have made a super Action Kids dancer, dear friend, and this 3-part series is tailor made for somebody like you. I am so glad that you and Rita (above) both watched WTAI along with me back in the day. Can you believe the show made its debut 50 years ago this week? Isn't that an amazing color picture of the Action Kids dancing behind Percy Sledge?

      Hold onto your go-go boots, dear friend, because I carefully selected the YouTube videos that give you the best glimpses of the gifted Action Kids dance troupe and you'll see what I mean in parts 2 and 3. The music, tinny sounding tho it might be on these old Kinescopes, still excites me and brings back that carefree era. So does the dancing of The Action Kids. Their combined performances paint a portrait of the SoCal lifestyle of the Sixties, an endless summer of fun and frolic.

      Thank you again for being here for me, dear friend YaYa, and have a wonderful week ahead!

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  12. Wait! Wait! Don't let the sun set another day without my comment! Yessirree, I've been out in the Wi-Fi free zone that my cellphone provider failed to mention when I purchased my high dollar phone and bought into all the hoopla.

    First, I want to say that one of my guilty pleasures is YouTube and the vast amount of musical history represented in free video! It's always a delightful surprise.

    Second, right behind my video joy, is the amazement that there is so much that is lost! I don't know diddly whop about film and production costs - but I know they do have a cost, and it's not cheap! Why would those film clips be tossed or erased? Like you said - they are and many of my television memories have gone poof! It's a shame.

    The picture of Percy Sledge is PERFECT. I love it. There are so many artists from the 60s that I've only seen in black and white stills & movies. The dancers look far out, groovy and cool. The cat's meow! The most - to say the least!

    The Turtles were one of my favorites and years later, when the "Classic Superfest" tours happened ('88 maybe??, I got to meet Mark Volman and Howard Kaplan. Mark talked to me a long time and it's imprinted on my brain - he was very funny and cordial.

    The great state of Tennessee lays claim to Mark Volman now! He is the Chair of the Entertainment Industry Studies Department in the Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee.

    Perhaps I need to make a lunch date...

    I'm exhausted and brain drained, but I had to log on and read my buddy's post! Have a good evening, Action Figure Shady circa 2015.

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    1. Hi, dear friend Cherdo! Thank you ever so much for making time during your hectic weekend to come over and see me.

      As you know I used to work in television. It was common practice at the three stations where I worked to bulk erase tapes of unwanted television programs (many of them newscast airchecks). Stations saved money by using the same tape over and over again. Another consideration was storage space. In those days program tapes came on large reels and the tape was 2 inches wide. It didn't take long to fill a room with racks of those tapes and those rooms had to be kept refrigerated to prevent the tapes from breaking down over time. All that added to a station's costs. I got an eerie feeling whenever I bulk erased a tape by running it through a machine that exposed it to a powerful electromagnetic field. I knew that all traces of content would be gone in an instant. As I have told other readers, it makes me sick to think of all the priceless material that was wiped away in seconds and lost forever during the 60s. Where The Action Is aired every weekday for two years. Think of it. That's a lot of episodes. During that time span hundreds of top pop, rock and soul acts appeared on the show. All of those classic performances were lost because some weasel sitting up in his ivory tower decided the series had no rerun value. Why would he even think that? Kids love to watch reruns of their favorite bands performing. In the mid 60s, many of the decision makers were shortsighted. They were primarily a bunch of older guys who didn't understand or like music made by teenagers for teenagers and they didn't realize how marketable it was.

      Keep in mind that this three part series is not about the music acts you'll see. I want you to focus your attention on the WTAI dance troupe, The Action Kids. You will see them performing custom choreographed variations of many different popular dances of the mid 60s and they will be showing off the grooviest 60s clothing and hair styles. Please stay tuned for parts 2 and 3 coming up as soon as this post completes its run.

      FYI - I am coming to you from that other city across the state where I will be staying until late Wednesday. Please understand that in the days ahead I will be tied up with family matters and my blogging will be limited. I might be late getting over to your blog one or more of those days, especially on Wednesday, July 1, which is BOTB day. That's the day I will be traveling back home.

      Thank you again for coming, dear friend Cherdo. I will make it over to your place a.s.a.p. tomorrow. I am using a borrowed laptop so please be patient with me. I wish you a safe and happy week ahead!

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    2. I forgot to mention how cool it was that you met Flo & Eddie in the late 80s. I'd like you to see another Turtles performance of this same song, "You Baby," on Where The Action Is. This time the group entertained at a beach location. Watch as two of The Action Kids dance on the roof of a structure that appears to be a lifeguard station.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S2ejck-lBNI

      Thanks again, dear friend Cherdo!

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    3. The Turtles were such hams. They crack me up. I've talked to the two remaining guys in America and the two remaining dogs in Three Dog Night. Also met the guys who call themselves The Guess Who, but the only original was the drummer. All of these people were friendly and pleasant.

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    4. You had quite a few "brushes with greatness" as Letterman used to say. One of the greatest days I ever had started out with me chatting with Jewel Akens, the soulful singer who had a hit single with "The Birds and the Bees." That night I was stage manager for an oldies show and worked with The Chiffons, The Earls, The Coasters and Freddy Cannon and met special guests The Tokens and The Flamingos. After the concert I sat next to Freddy Cannon at dinner and he autographed my napkin. I'm not worthy!

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  13. I was going to say it looks like the tiled floor from American Bandstand. I might have to check out this other show, though.

    After work, I'll listen to more of the music. :)

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    1. Hi, dear Jessica Marie! Thank you very much for becoming my newest follower! I am very happy to welcome you to Shady Dell Music & Memories, your home away from home.

      You have a good eye. In my excitement over seeing Percy Sledge and The Action Kids in that Holy Grail photo I didn't even notice the checkerboard floor on which Percy was performing. I have never visited that scenic overlook at Nepenthe so I am not sure if that floor was a permanent fixture on the terrace where other entertainers routinely performed or whether it was a portable piece intended to tie-in with the tile pattern used in the studio on AB. Maybe another reader knows for sure.

      I do hope you'll return to play the videos and enjoy the music and dancing. Keep in mind that this three part series is devoted to The Action Kids, the WTAI dance troupe. In Parts 2 and 3 you will see them performing fantastic dance routines and wearing the cool casual California clothes of the mid 60s. I hope you will enjoy watching them and feel some of the excitement that I experienced all those years ago.

      Thank you again for joining me here, dear Jessica Marie!

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    2. I'm going to return tonight to view the videos! The past few nights have been between applying for full time work and mapping my New York day trip on Friday. (I just have to print out the maps today either at job 1 or 2). I'm excited to see the videos.

      I can't wait to read more! :)

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    3. Hi, Jessica Marie! I just returned from your blog and share the excitement over your upcoming trip to NYC. When I was there in the summer of '83 the heat radiating from those sidewalks between the skyscrapers was intense so remember to pack light clothing. It should be much cooler, however, in Central Park where you plan to spend some of your time.

      I am very happy to know that you are taking an interest in my music and memories. People of different generations have much to learn from each other and I welcome you here with open arms. I hope you enjoy the videos even though they are poor quality Kinescopes. Remember to keep an eye out for The Action Kids dancers because they are the focus of this three part series.

      Thank you again, dear Jessica Marie, and enjoy the rest of your day!

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  14. Tom, I do not remember this TV series. I first met Dick Clark on American Bandstand and I loved watching that show every Saturday. I remember my girlfriends and I would push aside the coffee table in my parents living room and dance with the kids on the show. Those were fun times that now fill my mind with forgotten memories. Thanks for sharing. I can't read the next edition!

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    1. Hi, dear Cathy! Thank you very much for joining me for my 50th anniversary salute to Where The Action Is and, specifically, the show's dance troupe, The Action Kids. I'm sorry you missed the series when it was broadcast in 1965, '66 and '67. I know you were very young at that time and the show did not go into reruns because it was erased. A female cousin got me started watching Bandstand with her in the late 50s and I continued to follow the series through the mid 70s. Dick Clark's WTAI was intended to be a summer replacement program but caught fire and joined the regular ABC schedule weekdays at 4:30 after Dark Shadows. It was canceled in 1967 when the network threw the 4-5 pm time slot over to local affiliates to fill with news or syndicated programming.

      I am very happy to know that these sounds and images fill your mind with forgotten memories. I invite you to join me for Parts 2 and 3 when I will introduce the individual members of The Action Kids dance squad and present videos that show off their incredible talent.

      Thank you again for your visit and kind comments, dear friend Cathy, and enjoy the rest of your week!

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  15. Hi Shady! I remember most of the songs but only from the radio. I never saw, 'Where the Action Is.' I had an older neighbor who watched it all the time. Funny that it was about the dancing and not the music. I loved to dance, still do, so it probably would have been fun to see.

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    1. Hi, dear Dixie! Thank you very much for dropping by for my tribute to The Action Kids, the resident dance troupe on Where The Action Is. I'm sorry you never got to see the show. It was pure excitement. Paul Revere & the Raiders were the house band and the show presented a who's who of the popular recording acts of the period. Ever present were The Action Kids who danced in the background as artists lip synced their hits. Far from typical "go-go dancers," The Action Kids also performed one or two solo routines per episode, doing elaborate choreographed routines to popular records.

      I hope you will join me for parts 2 and 3 when you will meet the individual members of The Action Kids, learn some interesting trivia about them and see them performing some of their dance routines clad in their groovy Sixties fashions.

      Thank you again for coming, dear friend Dixie, and I hope to see you next time.

      Please note that I am out of town until Wednesday night, handling various family matters and using a borrowed laptop. My blogging time will be limited in the days ahead and I might not have an opportunity to visit your blog and vote in your Battle of the Bands until sometime Thursday. Thank you for understanding, dear friend Dixie!

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    2. Paul Revere and the Raiders were the house band? Okay, I did see this one time - wow! Then I bought one of their albums. Gosh I was still in elementary school then.

      No problem on BOTB! I'll miss your own post up, but if you are able to come listen and vote on mine, I would be very happy. Looking forward to your next post on this topic, (smile).

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    3. Hi, dear Dixie! Yessum, Where The Action Is aka Action had no official host. Dick Clark voiced over all the intros and Paul Revere & the Raiders were the house band of the series until sometime in 1966 when they left and were replaced by The Robbs. The Action Kids dancers appeared in every episode. Regular performers also included Linda Scott, Steve Alaimo and a Paul McCartney look-alike, Keith Allison.

      You know that I will be there for you and your band battle a.s.a.p., dear friend Dixie, and I thank you very much for continuing to follow my blog even though I have dropped out of the group. Thanks again for the return visit. I'll see you soon!

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  16. Hi Shady,

    "I wish that I could be like the cool kids"-- is a big hit on today's charts! When I see your post it reminds me of that song!

    Yes, the Action Kids (as well as Bandstand, Dance Party and Dancin on Air Kids) knew how to set the bar with their dance moves, trends, fashion and hairdos! I always looked up to them and tried to simulate them.

    What a nice treasure you found with that color pic!
    The scenery/background is so beautiful in California. I was lucky enough to have visited Big Sur, Monterey, Carmel and of course LA. about 5 years ago. Where else can you go where the ocean meets the forest? Nature at its finest.

    Fun post, Shady-- you've got me dancing like a teen again today!

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    1. Hi, dear Toni! How are you, my special friend? Thank you very much for attending the launch of my special three part series dedicated to The Action Kids, the talented teenage dancers on Dick Clark's Where The Action Is. The Action Kids were my favorite dance troupe on 60s television. They weren't your typical go-go dancers. They were more like a bunch of guys and girls next door who happened to be extremely gifted and versatile dancers. Yessum, you will see them performing many of the hot dance steps of the early and mid 60s and you will get a glimpse, albeit grainy and faded, of the popular clothing and hair styles of the period. Of course, I feel very fortunate to have found that rare color image showing the dancers in motion behind the late great Percy Sledge up there in the mountains at Big Sur.

      I'm so glad I got you dancing (and feeling) like a teenager again, dear friend Toni. (Mission accomplished.) Please join me for parts 2 and 3 of the series and get a closer look at The Action Kids and their groovy dance moves. See you then! God bless!

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  17. What a cool blog. Love the article. I absolutely love nostalgia. The videos were awesome, but I caught a quick glance a the start of one of the videos of Bordon's Chocolate Milk Shake in a can. I'm particularly fond of commercial nostalgia and quickly looked to see if I could find a video of that forgotten product. I was glad to find it and bemused when I discovered the end of the video matched up perfectly to the beginning of the same video that interested me, your presentation of "The Land of Milk & Honey". I think I shall be back since I've discovered this is where the action is.
    Cheers mate!

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    1. Hi, Jeffrey! Welcome to Shady Dell Music & Memories! I am thrilled to have you here. I love vintage television adverts, too. They reveal as much about the times as the programs in which they are embedded. I was fortunate to locate and buy two episodes of Where The Action Is, one on VHS format and the other on DVD. Both have the original commercials included - Thomas Adams gum, Clearasil, Cover Girl make-up, etc. I treasure those reels especially because they also include great solo performances by the dancers that I am featuring in this series, The Action Kids.

      Thank you very much for your visit and the kind compliments, Jeffrey. I hope you will stick around for parts 2 and 3 of the series. I know you'll enjoy it!

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    2. Yes, I shall be back. Put your blog in my feedly. :)

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    3. Great, Jeffrey! I appreciate it. You know your stuff and leave great comments so welcome aboard, my friend!

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  18. OH, and sorry to go on with an additional comment, I forgot to reply on your comment about videos being wiped back in the day. I'm all to familiar with this as well. As a big fan of Doctor Who, it's interesting to note many of the original episodes from the 60 were also wiped. In the BBC's case, to make room for more television series on their shelves. Obviously they had no idea of the commercial value it would be one day. Sadly, many original episodes are now gone forever.

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    1. Hi again, Jeffrey! I certainly don't mind multiple comments. If you check you'll see that many of my friends report back in again and again, and it really doesn't matter if you stray off topic. What matters most to me is forming genuine friendships with people and I can tell that you and I are already well on the way to becoming friends. It doesn't surprise me that you also have knowledge of favorite series being erased by shortsighted decision makers who didn't realize their long term value. I never missed an episode of Where The Action Is and I can testify that hundreds of great performances by solo artists, groups and bands were lost as a result of that policy, not to mention most of the dance routines of The Action Kids. As you pointed out, many other fine programs suffered the same fate.

      Thank you again for your visit and comments, Jeffrey, and I hope to see you again soon!

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  19. LOL, my 17year old son asked me to turn the sound down cuz its so bad. We really listened to this, and liked it? I remember "being" the remote that changed the mono tv between 12 channels. The Kids simple dancing probably wouldn't go over too well with audiences now either. Those were the good days, huh?

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    1. Hi, Donna/Dolorah! (Please let me know which name you prefer.) Thank you very much for dropping in to see me again.

      The actual black and white broadcasts of Where The Action Is were at least a little better in sound and picture quality than these old Kinescopes would lead people to believe. It's such a shame that this is all that's left of the great series. Meanwhile, similar shows like Shindig, Hullabaloo. Hollywood A Go-Go and Shirvaree have more surviving episodes and most are of better quality. I'd like to know why they were saved and not WTAI. It's hard for today's teenagers to imagine what it was like for us 50 years ago listening to scratchy 45s and tinny transistor radio broadcasts and watching most TV shows in black and white. Yet, those simple pleasures delighted most of us. I'd like you to reserve judgement on The Action Kids until you have seen more of their dance performances in parts 2 and 3. I think people of any age would be impressed with their agile moves and creative routines. I do hope you will join me for the next installment coming up this Sunday.

      Once again it is a pleasure to welcome you back to SDMM, dear friend Donna/Delorah. Enjoy the rest of your week!

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  20. Hey Shady,

    Apologies for the late visit. I had a party so lot's of planning and then hosting it. I look forward to your next posts. I do have the storyline in my head and am looking forward to putting pen to paper. I gained a distinction for my Psych Unit so I find blogging very freeing - how about you.

    That's all for now

    Allie-Millie

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    1. Hi, dear Allie-Millie!

      Thank you very much for reporting in, my Australian friend. You arrived in plenty of time because this post doesn't expire until Sunday when I will present Part 2 of my tribute to The Action Kids. I hope you'll join me for it.

      If you are referring to your next short story then I'm glad it's coming along and I can wait to read it.

      Thank you again, dear friend Allie-Millie. Have a great Friday and safe and happy weekend!

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  21. Thanks for this great history lesson on "Where The Action Is", Shady. I was deprived from watching the show, as it didn't air in Europe (at least where we were), but I did read about in the teen mags of the day, like "16" and "Tiger Beat". The songs were all familiar, at least. ☺ Looking forward to part II. Have a Happy 4th of July!

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    1. Hi, Debbie! Thank you very much for coming down, my dear friend! That's right. If you were living in Europe in the mid and late 60s then you will be experiencing a lot of my music and memories for the first time. I'm glad you at least heard of Where The Action Is. It was my favorite of all the music variety shows aimed at teenagers and The Action Kids were one of the main reasons why. Try to filter out the grainy, faded B&W images and the tinny sound and imagine these show clips in living color and HD picture and sound quality. Look for the sensational dancing of The Action Kids in Parts 2 and 3 of the series beginning this Sunday.

      Thank you very much for your visit and comment, dear friend Debbie. I also wish you a safe and happy 4th!

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  22. Whoa, I am wayyy late and I'm sorry. Anyway, I would have loved to be an Action Kid. Imagine getting to dance to your favorite songs with the artists! I would have been in heaven.

    'Little Girl' I remember very well and liked it. I don't remember the group though. I don't recall hearing Jackie DeShannon's version of 'Oh Boy.' but I did have a ruffled crop-top just like one of the Action girls.

    'He's a Rebel' is a favorite of mine. I always love the Crystels. I also had a blouse identical to the Crystel in the middle! I love seeing the old fashions.

    Now, the Turtles were amazing. I adored them and 'You Baby' was a favorite. I love seeing these old videos. The sound was good on all but one and the picture was fine. Can't wait to see part 2.

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    1. Hi, dear Belle! Thank you very much for coming down as I launch my special 3-part series on Where The Action Is. Can you believe the series made its debut 50 years ago this week? I think I watched each and every episode. I remember racing home from the bus stop every afternoon to make sure I didn't miss a minute of the program.

      I'm so glad you enjoyed seeing some of your favorite music acts in these videos. I never heard Jackie DeShannon sing that Buddy Holly song until I came upon it on YouTube. If you enjoyed that Turtles video, please watch another clip from Action showing the group performing the same song at a beach location, accompanied as always by the talented dance troupe, The Action Kids.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S2ejck-lBNI

      I will admit right away that I fell in love with the female members of The Action Kids. I have selected the videos that best show off the Kids' fashions, hairdos and dance moves, so please stay tuned for more Action in Parts 2 and 3 beginning this Sunday.

      Thanks again for your visit and kind comments, dear friend Belle. I wish you a happy Friday and a safe and happy weekend! God bless!

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  23. So originally I was going to ask if the picture was taken at the Griffith Observatory in LA but you mentioned it was in Big Sur. How awesome to be on the traveling troupe of dancers.
    A show I stay glued to now is So you think you can dance. Its of course so modern and different but the dancers are truly amazing and many performances each season bring me to tears or leave me smiling for days. I was born in the late 60's so I missed this group on the Dick Clark. Thank you for sharing this with us.

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    1. Hi, dear Holli! I'm sure you are too young to remember the late 50s hit record "Born Too Late." I can't help selfishly wishing you were a little older just so you could have experienced this great TV series and these dancers during the show's mid 60s run (before the tapes were erased). Dance lover that you are, I know you would have been a regular viewer.

      Thank you again for making time for a visit and thoughtful comment, kiddo. I really appreciate hearing from you!

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  24. I used to watch this show most days after I got home from school. Too bad the episodes weren't preserved as they had some classic acts on the show. I'd watch those reruns.

    Lee
    Wrote By Rote

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    1. Hi, Lee! I'm right with you there, good buddy. I'm sure that millions of boomers would love to watch reruns of Action if only they existed. Somebody dropped the ball way back when.

      Thank you very much for your visit and comment, Lee!

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  25. Shady....great WTAI history. I was a huge fan during the broadcast years. Thanks for sharing the memories.

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