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Webposted: October 19, 2002
by: Kay Kellam

They Say:

This evocative drama -- set against the memorable, upbeat sounds of the 1960s -- depicts a more innocent America as seen through the youthful Pryor family of Philadelphia as they brace for cultural turbulence ahead that still resonates in this contemporary era.

Likable 15-year-old daughter Meg (Brittany Snow, “Guiding Light”) strains against her “good girl” image -- and yearns to embrace the mores of her more experienced teenaged friend, Roxanne (Vanessa Lengies, “Popular Mechanics for Kids”) -- as they achieve their goal of becoming dancers on Dick Clark’s locally produced “American Bandstand.”

Meg’s evolving behavior and her mother, Helen’s (three-time Emmy nominee Gail O’Grady, “NYPD Blue”), new influences clash with rock-solid family patriarch Jack Pryor (Tom Verica, NBC’s “Providence”). Will Estes (“7th Heaven”) portrays JJ Pryor, who resents his father imposing his dream of seeing his teenaged son play Notre Dame football. Ethan Dampf (“Collateral Damage”) portrays the youngest son, Will, and newcomer Sarah Ramos stars as Patty, the prissy little sister who can do no wrong.

In addition, Jonathan Adams (“The American Embassy”) stars as Henry, an employee in Jack Pryor’s electronics store. Arlen Escarpeta (“The Shield”) will portray Sam – Henry’s son – who receives a track scholarship at East Catholic High School. It’s through their eyes that viewers witness the upcoming civil rights struggles of the 1960s.

Virginia Madsen (“The Rainmaker”) also stars as a thought-provoking new friend to Helen, and Joseph Lawrence (“Blossom”) has a recurring role as “American Bandstand” associate producer Michael Brooks.

Dick Clark (“American Bandstand”) and Jonathan Prince (“Wilder Days”) are the executive producers.

I Say:

First I have to say it -- could this show have been made without Dick Clark???  While technically possible knowing that Dick Clark is a part of it makes the American Bandstand scenes that much more amazing.  As one friend put it, Dick Clark could be his own body double, see him from the back and we won't see that little bit in which he has aged!  The man is eternal after all!

This show is not amazing in and of itself -- what makes it stand apart, and what seems to gain it so much praise from critics around the country (including this one) is the talented cast they have assembled.  Every last character leaps off the screen and invites you into their world.

I do question these upbeat sounds of the 60s -- so far I've seen Kennedy shot and mourned him alongside two families and a lot of individuals, and with the civil rights movement still ahead I think those upbeat sounds may be centering on the amazing soundstage of American Bandstand where a lot of current stars look to be heading to recreate performances from days gone by.

The bottom line: I hope the novelty doesn't wear off, I'm enjoying the show and tune in each week to see some top notch drama with an astounding cast.  I like to highlight those who are above their peers on any given show, but in this case there is no one outpacing the others. They are all neck in neck and striving to delivery the best they can.

Soulmates *

The Cast of American Dreams
Filmographies at IMDB.Com

American Bandstand: Dick Clark and the Making of a Rock 'n' Roll Empire

Joey Lawrence .... Michael Brooks 
Gail O'Grady .... Helen Pryor
Tom Verica .... Jack Pryor
Brittany Snow .... Meg
Will Estes (I) .... JJ
Sarah Ramos .... Patty
Joey Lawrence Ethan Dampf .... Will

DICK CLARK: Rock & Roll Collection Volume 1
use the images above for 
volumes 2, 3 and 4

Vanessa Lengies .... Roxanne Bojarski
Jonathan Adams (III) .... Henry Walker
Arlen Escarpeta .... Sam Walker
Virginia Madsen .... Rebeca Sandstorm
Jumping Ship VHS

Tequila Body Shots DVD

Johnny Orpheus (Joey Lawrence) and his friends are going on a road trip to Mexico where they will attend a killer party. Things get strange though when Johnny drinks a medicine man's tequila and gets mind reading powers. His friends want him to use his new ability to pick up chicks but Johnny's only got eyes for Tamlyn (Dru Mouser). Getting Tamlyn is going to be tougher than he planned though---her ex-boyfriend is stalker her as is Hector her husband from a previous life! Before long Johnny will be attending a special Hell!








The Official American Bandstand... [Box]

(C) Kay Kellam, 2001 for
Prior to having her first novel, A Life to Di For, published author Kay Kellam enjoyed a variety of jobs that helped to shape her outlook on the world, and her profession.   more...