A second book by Larry Lehmer, a 1963 Thomas Jefferson High School graduate and former reporter for The Daily Nonpareil, has been released.
“Bandstandland: How Dancing Teenagers Took Over America and Dick Clark Took Over Rock & Roll” tells the story of Dick Clark, an American radio and television personality, and how he helped create a “teenage fantasyland” in a tumultuous era of what many American parents saw as “musical anarchy,” according to a release from the author.
“The Dick Clark story had never been told besides by Dick Clark, and I felt there was more of a story there,” Lehmer said.
Clark hosted American Bandstand, a musical television program, from 1956 to 1989.
Bandstandland tells how Clark emerged from a “pack of equally attractive radio personalities” to replace the “self-destructive popular host of an immensely popular local Bandstand dance show in Philadelphia and deliver it to a national audience,” Lehmer said.
“The premise of the book is how Clark created this fantasyland for teenagers kind of like Camelot,” he said.
Lehmer said he worked irregularly on the book for 20 years while he wrote for The Des Moines Register and started his own company. After the 2008 recession, Lehmer gave more focus to his book.
Lehmer sourced many individuals for his book including Kathleen “Bunny” Gibson from Philadelphia, a regular dancer on American Bandstand.
Lehmer said there were only three TV stations in the 1950s, and almost everyone his age was watching American Bandstand.
“You could almost compare it to ‘Game of Thrones’ now, it was that big,” Lehmer said.
Lehmer said he recommends his latest book to anyone interested in the 1950s, rock ‘n’ roll music, the Bandstand show or similar topics.
His first book, “The Day the Music Died: The Last Tour of Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper, and Ritchie Valens,” was nominated for a Gleason Music Book Award in 1997.
The success of his first book allowed Lehmer to work with E! News in an episode of “Mysteries and Scandals” and VH1 in a documentary on Buddy Holly as a contributor. The book was also featured on the Investigation Discovery show, “The Will: Family Secrets Revealed” program on Valens.
Both books can be purchased online through Amazon, Thriftbook.com or Barnes & Noble.