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

Monday, February 15, 2010

Same Year, Different Del: A Movie Review by Shady Del Knight

Del: "Pick a College Yet?"
Vicky: "College?.....Del, I'm a GIRL!"

Ah, yes...1965...a time when the only glass ceiling that girls like Vicky knew about was the one in daddy's greenhouse.

Vicky and Del (no relation) are the central characters in The In Crowd (Orion 1988), a movie that I highly recommend.

While Hairspray is set in 1962 and revolves around a televised dance show for teenagers in Baltimore...

The In Crowd changes the venue to Philadelphia and moves the timeline forward to 1965. Once again, a popular local TV dance show is the focus; but, contrary to what has been written in customer reviews on the web, The In Crowd is not about Dick Clark and American Bandstand!

It is instead a sweet, nostalgic baby boomer musical that brilliantly captures the essence of Philadelphia radio and TV legend Jerry Blavat, the Geator with the Heater, and his Discophonic Scene.

Jump to the 4:30 mark of this clip and witness Del, a suburban Philadelphia teenager played by Donovan Leitch, Jr. (son of 60s folk rock superstar Donovan) as he watches Perry Parker on TV and practices his dance moves. Del's plan is to audition and win a spot as one of the regular dancers on the show. Gail, the girl next door (played to perfection by Wendy Gazelle), drops by to do what she does best - bring Del back down to earth.

Del sneaks into the studio so that he can join the cast of dancers on The Perry Parker Show. At the 7 minute mark of this clip you will find a realistic scene in which Perry Parker inspects the troops (including newbie Del) prior to air time.

Here's my favorite scene of the movie!

Joe Pantoliano, as popular Philly dance show host Perry Parker nails his portrayal of Jerry Blavat. I mean, Pantoliano doesn't just play Jerry Blavat...he becomes Jerry Blavat! Joe Panto does the Geator better than the Geator does the Geator!

Watch the first two minutes of this clip and you will witness an amazingly authentic depiction of Jerry Blavat and Discophonic Scene.

The ego...the patently pompous patter...the mixed metaphors - they were all things that we came to know and love about Jerry Blavat.

In this scene, Perry Parker barges in on Del's lit class and dispenses some of his infinite wisdom, addressing one of his favorite subjects...the pompatus of love:

The In Crowd boasts several entertaining production numbers including a musical interlude at the 40 second mark of this clip that finds Perry's yon teenagers dancing in the street to the energetic beat of "I Do" by the Marvelows:

The In Crowd is a delightful high school musical that explores stereotypes while avoiding predictability. The characters are likeable; no cynical, mean-spirited heroes or heroines to drag you down. Even the bully finds redemption. It's a feel good movie that every member of the family can enjoy. The In Crowd is available on original Orion VHS and has also been released in the form of tape to DVD-R transfers by independent companies. In recent years the movie has been presented in glorious HD on the MGM-UA cable channel. One way or another, I truly hope that you get a chance to see it!

Next time we'll turn our attention to the movie's title song "The 'In' Crowd" by Dobie Gray. I hope you'll join me!

Have a Shady day!


  1. Shocked?
    Awe struck?
    Smiley face?
    Please forgive me, my friend, but I am not fluent in internet slang or emoticons. Whatever you are expressing here you are most welcome to do it and I sincerely thank you for visiting my blog!

  2. liz rudolph crowamonghens@earthlink.netMarch 23, 2012 at 10:36 PM

    one of my absolute favorites. encapsulates 60's philly perfectly.

  3. Hi, Liz! I absolutely agree with you. No other movie does as good a job of capturing the essence of 60s Philly or of Jerry Blavat and his dance show. As far as I know this great teen musical still isn't available on DVD and I can't understand why. However it is shown occasionally on cable channels and is available in HD on NetFlix. Thank you very much for your comment, Liz!


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