Edited by Azizi Powell
This post provides information about the 1957-1964 Baltimore, Maryland based rock and roll television series "The Buddy Deane Show", with particular attention to that series' segregated broadcasts, and the decision to cancel that show rather that integrate its roster of White teenage dancers.
The content of this post is presented for historical and sociocultural purposes.
All copyrights remain with their owners.
Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post and thanks to the publisher of the video that is featured in this post.
Click http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2016/03/how-madison-line-dance-got-its-name-and.html for Part I of a two part series on "the Madison" line dance. That post provides information about the Madison line dance. Click http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2016/03/al-brown-and-ray-bryant-madison-records.html for Part II of this series. Part II showcases sound files of Al Brown's and Ray Bryant's "Madison" records and six videos of the Madison line dance.
EXCERPTS ABOUT THE BUDDY DEANE SHOW
These excerpts are given in no particular order. They are numbered for referencing purposes only.
"The Buddy Deane Show was a teen dance television show, similar to Philadelphia's American Bandstand, that was created by Zvi Shoubin and aired on WJZ-TV in Baltimore, Maryland from 1957 until 1964. The show was taken off the air because home station WJZ was unable to integrate black and white dancers. Its host was Winston "Buddy" Deane (1924-2003), who died in Pine Bluff, Arkansas after suffering a stroke, July 16, 2003. He was 78.
Winston "Buddy" Deane was a broadcaster for more than fifty years, beginning his career in Little Rock, Arkansas, then moving to the Memphis, Tennessee market before moving on to Baltimore where he worked at WITH-AM radio. He was one of the first disc jockeys in the area to regularly feature rock-and-roll. His dance party television show debuted in 1957 and was, for a time, the most popular local show in the United States. It aired for two and a half hours a day, six days a week. Hundreds of thousands of teens learned the latest dances of their day by watching Committee Members on the Buddy Deane Show.
Teenagers who appeared on the show every day were known as the "Committee." ...
Many top acts of the day, both black and white, appeared on the show. Acts that appeared on The Buddy Deane Show first were reportedly barred from appearing on Dick Clark's American Bandstand. If they were on Bandstand first, however, they could still be on The Buddy Deane Show. Although WJZ-TV, owned by Westinghouse Broadcasting (now CBS), was an ABC affiliate, the station "blacked out" the network broadcast of American Bandstand in Baltimore and broadcast the Deane program instead, reportedly because Bandstand showed black teenagers dancing on the show (although black and white teenagers were not allowed to dance together until the show was moved to California in 1964). The Deane program set aside every other Friday when the show featured only black teenagers (the rest of the time, the show's participants were all white)...
References in Popular Culture
The racial integration of a take-off of the show, dubbed the The Corny Collins Show, provides the backdrop to the 1988 John Waters movie Hairspray starring Divine and Ricki Lake, the Broadway musical Hairspray starring Harvey Fierstein and Marissa Jaret Winokur, and the 2007 movie Hairspray featuring John Travolta and Nikki Blonsky. Although he never appeared on Deane's show himself, Waters attended high school with a "Buddy Deaner" and later gave Deane a cameo in his 1988 film in which Deane played a TV reporter who tried to interview the governor who was besieged by integration protesters."...
Click https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hairspray_(2007_film) for information about Hairspray.
Also, click http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2015/06/timeline-for-cultural-use-of-saying.html for information about the song "The song "Run Tell That!" from the 2002 Broadway show Hairspray.
On ‘Hairspray’s’ 25th anniversary, ‘Buddy Deane’ Committee looks back By Jessica Goldstein January 18, 2013
"The 25th anniversary of the movie “Hairspray” provides an opportunity for members of the dance group of Baltimore’s “The Buddy Deane Show” to get back together and reminisce about the TV show that the movie is based upon.
If you were a teenager in Baltimore in the late 1950s and early 1960s, you watched “The Buddy Deane Show.” When the final bell rang you sprinted home from school, saddle shoes smacking the sidewalk, knee socks sliding down your shins, until you skidded to a stop in front of your black-and-white TV and turned to WJZ Channel 13 to watch Maryland’s answer to “American Bandstand.” Chances are you wanted to be on “The Buddy Deane Show,” whose stars were ordinary teens turned local celebrities. The Committee, as they were known, could do all the hot dances of the day: the Madison, the mashed potato, the pony. Faced with pressure to integrate the show, something the station (and some Committee members’ parents) refused to allow, WJZ canceled Buddy Deane in 1964. Most people probably would’ve forgotten about “The Buddy Deane Show” ages ago had it not been immortalized by John Waters in his 1988 movie, “Hairspray.”....
[excerpts of the interview with John Waters and some members of “The Committee"]
Marie Shapiro (then Fischer): The first thing, they’d kind of look you over. I’m serious. I hate to say this, but they wanted attractive young people.
John Waters: Mary Lou [Barber] told me once that “a black girl could’ve gotten on the show easier than a fat girl.” . . . In [“Hairspray”], Ricki Lake’s character goes down to audition and they all make fun of her. I don’t think a fat girl ever came to audition.
John Waters: The most amazing thing about “The Buddy Deane” stardom was they would show up not knowing if they would fight or sign autographs. The boys were picked on, because boys didn’t dance then.
Frani Hahn: I think it was easier for the girls. When I was on, the kids at school were cool with it. It was an integrated school, and the black girls would show us all the new dances. I think the guys had a harder time at it. They were more made fun of because they didn’t fit in [and] because people would want to fight them.
The one thing everyone seems to remember about “The Buddy Deane Show” is its ending: amid calls to integrate the almost all-white program (as in “Hairspray,” there was one day a month when African Americans could dance on the show), “Buddy Deane” was canceled. The final episode aired on Jan. 4, 1964. Recollections differ as to whether it was Deane, the station or the parents of the Committee members who refused to allow the show to be integrated. Bob Mathers, who worked with Deane on three radio stations, was a close friend of was a close friend of Deane’s and is an unofficial historian of “The Buddy Deane Show.”
Bob Mathers: We’re looking at the times of 1963, and in 1963, what overrode ratings and popularity were the feelings about race in Baltimore City.
Marie Shapiro: I remember sometimes there would be African Americans at the hops, and it was frowned upon to dance with an African American if you were a Committee member.
Mary Lou Barber: Think of it: In the ’60s, if they were to ask a black guy to lead a dance with me or some other white girl — Baltimore wasn’t ready for it yet. There were riots! You’re going to put it on TV? You have to ease into it.
Bob Mathers: There were a lot of protests in Baltimore, which was a very racially segregated town. In fall of ’63, Buddy called in the Committee members and said . . . “Now, we’re talking about integrating the show. How do you feel about that?” And the kids said, “Mr. Deane, I don’t mind at all. But my mother and father won’t let me come down if you do that.” In early December, Buddy Deane met with station officials and they said, “We’ve decided to cancel the program.” And Buddy said, “So it has to do with integration?” And the station said, “That’s correct. We just don’t know what to do with the show.”
John Waters: By that point, I don’t think “The Buddy Deane Show” was on everyone’s lips anymore. Its time had passed a little.. . . I think Buddy Deane was a target for people who were fighting segregation everywhere. It was a target maybe of people who didn’t even watch the show.
Marie Shapiro: I think we all kind of knew what was coming. Because there were starting to be some demonstrations outside of the studio.
Frani Hahn: I remember being called into a meeting and [being asked] if our parents would allow us, if they integrated the show, to dance with a black person. And there was a big problem with that. [The meeting was with] the Committee members and Arlene and Buddy and the producer of the show. I remember that meeting very vividly.. . . I think the kids never had much of a problem with it; I think a lot of the parents may have.... It reminds me of the way people think now of gay marriage, how so many people are shocked about it and they don’t agree with it. . . . I think my father would definitely have not been agreeable to [integration] at that time.
Mary Lou Barber: Because I was on the Committee and I was president, [I went to] these summit meetings. Heavy-duty meetings. And they told us we were going to go off the air because of it. And we were so sad. We really didn’t want to go off the air. . . . You heard that they wanted to integrate. I don’t know if we were ready or not; who’s to say?
Wayne Hahn: Us kids, we all went to school with black people and had black friends. It was really no big deal to us. But the parents, I guess, back in the early ’60s and late ’50s, things were a lot different.
Vicki Defeo: I’ve tried to think this through, because it sounds ridiculous, but [integration] was a non-issue to us. We didn’t sit around and say, “We don’t want to be around black kids.” [But] .. . . at that time, our parents would not have gone along with integrated dancing. And it sounds dreadful. I have two mixed-race grandchildren whom I adore. And if I ever had to explain this to them, it was just, I couldn’t.
Selected comments from this article;
doveliezer2001, 1/22/2013 10:13 PM EST
"I was not quite old enough to be on the show, but I did run home from junior high every day to watch it. I believe Mary Lou went to my high school (Woodlawn). I was shocked when I started 10th grade and saw her in the hallway. Yes, race was a huge issue in Maryland in the early '60s. The state was as segregated as anyplace in the South. I tell kids today that I never saw an African-American in a restaurant until I was 15. Of course they think I'm making it up. I had to explain to friends in LA, where I lived in 1988, that Waters' movie was more documentary than fantasy. I remember the Royalettes winning a contest to record a song. Where are they now?"
Sonny Goldreich, 1/19/2013 5:52 PM EST
"More than a little creepy that with all the work that went into this story that it included no comment from any of the black kids who danced twice a month."
Marie Cooke Shapiro, 1/26/2013 10:04 AM EST
"Unfortunately there was no black "committee" ,i.e. regulars, who appeared every time the black show was on. I wish there had been a call out for people who appeared on the show on those days. There's just no way to contact them b/c they were all "guests". Maybe someone could do a follow up story, but I don't know how you would find these people. Also, remember, we are all now in our 60's and 70's. Many committee members have passed and I'm sure many of the black kids who were on the show have passed as well."
The discussion thread for the YouTube video of The Buddy Deane Show that is embedded below includes comments from a Black woman who indicates that she appeared on that show. Those comments are also found below.
Notice that that television station as well as some of the parents of the White teenagers featured on The Buddy Deane Show, if not Buddy Deane himself, had no problem with accepting Black people as entertainers including having Black artists perform on the show, and doing Black originated dances to Black originated music. But they could not accept Black people as equals and would rather cancel a popular (and probably financially solvent if not profitable) television series rather than integrate their teenage dancers. smh.
But that decision to cancel that television series rather than permit Black teenagers to dance (often to Black originated dances) to (often Black music) sent the message to Black people that not only weren't we equal to White people but that there was something about us that was so bad (meaning not good) that to even be around us was harmful to White people. Think about how that action and that kind of messaging has resulted in the racial problems in Baltimore, Maryland in 2015 and now.
BLACK MUSIC MOMENT #96: Short-Lived Integration Of The Buddy Deane Show, Jun 1, 2011 By TheUrbanDaily Staff
"Where: 800 N. Charles St, Baltimore, MD 21201
When: Summer 1963
What: The Buddy Deane Show was a teen rock-and-roll dance television show that aired on WJZ-TV in Baltimore, Maryland from 1957 until 1964. The Deane program was a segregated show: white and Black teenagers danced on separate broadcasts. But an intrepid group of local and national civil right activists staged a “dance in” where they crashed one of the “white only days” and integrated the show. Deane and the station were purported to support integration, but cancelled the show rather than risk inflaming white supremacists and segregationists in the local area. The incident was fictionalized for the movie and play, “Hairspray.”
In celebration of Black Music Month, TheUrbanDaily’s “It’s All Black Music” presents 100 Rewarding Black Music Moments, sponsored by Southwest Airlines.
Each Black Music Moment is associated with an actual place that you can visit."
FEATURED VIDEO WITH SELECTED COMMENTS
Dancin' the Madison on "The Buddy Deane Show"
MarylandPublicTV, Uploaded on Apr 30, 2008
Clip from Shake, Rattle, and Roll: The Buddy Deane Scrapbook
Selected comments from this video's discussion thread:
[Additional comments from this discussion thread added to this post on March 5, 2016]
"This is the ONLY surviving videotape or kinescope clip of Buddy's show. It seems that only about 8 minutes of 8mm footage survived the years also. It was shot in late 57 or early 58."
Souls Are For Squares
"What's interesting is that a lot of people (including myself at first) thought that the musical "Hairspray" was based off of American Band Stand when actually it is based off of this show right here. This is where the idea of the Corny Collins Show from "Hairspray" origianlly came from."
Well, it's easy to see why they didn't have any Black kids on this particular show. They'd have all fallen down laughing at this dance!
I believe this commenter is referring to how these White teens performed this dance rather than the dance itself.
"I watched this show EVERY DAY, but the best day was "Negro Day," since they weren't allowed on the show with the white kids."
"+jous1rufn Every Friday was when the black teens were on the buddy dean show, it was all black kid only."
"jousrufn" may have been another screen name for tieyourshoes51.
"+jous1rufn THE LAST THURSDAY OF EVERY MONTH WAS NEGRO DAY"
The Wikipedia article excerpted earlier about "The Buddy Deane Show" gives this quote about "Negro Day":
"The Deane program set aside every other Friday when the show featured only black teenagers (the rest of the time, the show's participants were all white)."
-end of quote-
It's interesting how different people remember when those broadcasts occurred.
pat brun, December 2015
"Does anyone know where the footage is of the African American teens he had on his show?"
aboyer441, December 2015
"Enjoying the comments! I can clear some things up as I was on the Committee in the late 50's and early 60's. There was a "Committee" of kids who came to the show six days a week after passing several "tests" to qualify. Other teens could write in for tickets to come on as a Guest. The reason those two girl guests look petrified -- is because they were! Guests were encouraged to participate and those two look as if they hoped the floor would open up and they could disappear back to their own living rooms to watch the show on their black and white TV. Most of the guests looked and acted like a deer in the headlights!
Another comment mentioned how you really had to concentrate on those Madison steps! TRUE! Here you are -- a teenager -- and on television with your school mates, relatives and neighbors watching! You KNOW how hard it is to be un-cool at that age! One mis-step and there goes your ego! Not mentioning any names (he knows who he is) -- but one of the dancers -- because he did screw up that step so badly, is asked to start the Madison at every dance we go to now. (Yes - we still get together -- and we still dance on a regular basis. There is a large group of us who are great old friends -- Emphasis on "Old" ... but still legends in our own minds. ;)
Have to say a word here about Buddy Deane. He WAS strict on the show. The kids were also self disciplined by the elected teenage board. There was a two page list of rules -- made up by the kids themselves -- to which you had to comply or get kicked off the show. But, you have to consider this was a different era and the slightest bit of misconduct in those days would have brought the hammer down on Buddy's head from the media and/or the parents. (Remember when parents had control of their teenagers????)
In later years, Buddy would come to town from Arkansas to do 50's record hops and by that time had become friends with his "all grown up kids". We had many enjoyable years listening to his stories at our houses. He was a great guy and a wonderful family man. He also helped a lot of his "kids" launch their own successful careers in the music business.
Hope this gives everyone a better insight.
"DANCE LIKE NO ONE IS LOOKING!" -- and now, we're old enough, we don't care if anyone is looking or not. (And, yes - we still screw up The Madison!!! But, now we just laugh!"
pat brun, January 2016
"+aboyer441 Hi there. You sound like an individual from the Committee who could address the African American issue. I was on the show several times, and would love to see myself. Do you know what happened to the footage of the African American segments of the show? I've called around several places with no success. Thanks."
"I was on the show several times as an African American teen."
"+pat brun ............ If you don't mind me asking. How old are you?"
"+pat brun That is soooo neat, I am 67 too, love this dance/song,,,do you ever see yourself in these videos?"
"+imusfan48 No because there is no African American footage available."
"+pat brun Like 'Black People' didn't exist! What a joke, a lot of people today, don't realize that segregation, Jim Crow Laws, etc. existed not that long ago. I remember going down to Nashville to see the 'Grand Ole Oprey' with my parents (1957?) and seeing separate drinking fountains and RR's. I was from Ohio, and about 8 or 9, and even at that age, knew that it wasn't right?"
"It's so refreshing to hear an honest white person speak the truth on these issues. I heard there was a demonstration at the studio concerning the separation of the races on the show. It's been more than 50 years, and I'm just hearing about this. That may have been good cause to dispose of footage. Who knows? I enjoyed the show and would have loved to see myself dancing all those many years ago. The grands would get a kick out of it"
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