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Byline: Valerie Kuklenski Staff Writer

THE COUPLE in the back booth at Mel's Diner in West Hollywood West Hollywood

A community of southern California northeast of Beverly Hills. It is mainly residential. Population: 36,600.
 earlier this week - Ed Kelly, a manager at a New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of
 law office, and Kathleen Gibson, an actress who lives in Marina Del Rey Del Rey may refer to:
  • Del Rey, California, a census-designated place in Fresno County, California
  • Del Rey, Los Angeles, California, a small district in the west side of Los Angeles
  • Del Rey (band), an indie rock band
 - felt right at home amid the vintage photos and the jukebox loaded with oldies Oldies is a generic term commonly used to describe a radio format that usually concentrates on Top 40 music from the '50s, '60s and '70s.

Oldies are typically from R&B, pop and rock music genres.

Ed is 60 and looking toward a Southern California Southern California, also colloquially known as SoCal, is the southern portion of the U.S. state of California. Centered on the cities of Los Angeles and San Diego, Southern California is home to nearly 24 million people and is the nation's second most populated region,  retirement, and Kathleen is still bubbly at 58. But there's a part of them that is forever Eddie & Bunny - or Bunny & Eddie, depending on whom you ask - their unified identity as popular regular dancers on TV's ``American Bandstand'' from 1959 to 1961.

They took time out to talk about their Thursday night gig at Pierce College In 2006 the Library won a national Excellence award. Academics
Pierce College offers associate's degrees, mainly in the arts and sciences. There are also certificate programs in early childhood education, social services, dental hygienist, and others.
 in Woodland Hills, an event the school describes rather plainly as a concert and lecture but which Bunny prefers to call a sock hop Sock Hop or soc hop (rarely) is a term coined in the 1950s in the United States, following the growth in popularity of rock and roll, to refer to informal sponsored dances at American high schools, typically held on the grounds of the high school itself in the  on stage. It will be a talk about the history of rock 'n' roll rock 'n' roll: see rock music. , a Q&A with the then-famous dance duo and a showcase by Eddie, Bunny and dance students of steps from ``Bandstand's'' heyday, when records by Chubby Checker, Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis Noun 1. Jerry Lee Lewis - United States rock star singer and pianist (born in 1935)
 had everybody hopping.

``I've been going up every weekend to work with the Pierce College dancers, teaching them the jitterbug jitterbug

Dance variation of the two-step in which couples swing, balance, and twirl in standardized patterns to syncopated music in ⁴⁄₄ time. It originated in the U.S. in the mid 1930s and became internationally popular in the 1940s.
,'' Bunny said. ``I have them cha-cha-ing and mashed-potatoing and ponying and things they've never seen before. The Bristol stomp - a whole new world for them.''

Both are still in great shape for their years, but they're more than willing to let the school's 13 dancers, ranging in age from 20 to 40, do the heavy lifting.

``We don't want to huff and puff,'' Bunny said.

Step by step

Hearing Bunny mention the mashed potato, Ed said he needs a refresher. Bunny bounced from her seat in the booth and shuffled smoothly on the balls of her feet, her leather-soled high heels high heels high npltalons hauts, hauts talons

high heels high nplhochhackige Schuhe pl 
 gliding on the linoleum linoleum (lĭnō`lēəm), resilient floor or wall covering made of burlap, canvas, or felt, surfaced with a composition of wood flour, oxidized linseed oil, gums or other ingredients, and coloring matter. . Ed's rubber-soled shoes were not so accommodating. But another up-tempo number came on the jukebox and they switched easily to a jitterbug.

Ed said he learned to dance from his predecessors on the show, while Bunny liked to practice her moves while holding onto the swinging refrigerator door, much to her parents' consternation when the food defrosted.

Back then, ``American Bandstand'' aired lived from Philadelphia weekdays after school, and the most avid dancers in the area were sure to be in line daily for a seat in the bleachers In The Bleachers is a podcast and website that focuses on Division I-A college football. It is recorded and aired weekly during college football season and features college football experts from the Big Ten, Big East, SEC, ACC, Pac 10, and Big 12 conferences.  or, better yet, a spot on the floor. Viewers who had outgrown ``Howdy Doody'' and ``The Mickey Mouse Club'' made the show a ritual and latched onto pairs who were interviewed by Dick Clark or featured in the ``spotlight dances.'' The regulars became TV's first reality stars.

Bunny pulled out a bag brimming with photos, well-preserved pages from 16 magazine, and even a paper doll version of herself.

``It was like a soap opera, that's what it was,'' Ed said. ``You were tuning in tuning in,
v process in which a therapeutic touch practitioner centers himself or herself so as to be aligned with or “in tune” with a healing energy “frequency,” so that the patient may choose to join the practitioner (tune
 every day to see your favorites.''

``To see who was dancing with whom,'' Bunny added. ``If you wanted to get more fan mail, you didn't dance with each other - they'd think you broke up.''

``We never did that,'' said Ed. They never were a romantic couple - Bunny actually married a ``Bandstand'' fan when she was just 16 - but the fans were happy presuming pre·sum·ing  
Having or showing excessive and arrogant self-confidence; presumptuous.

pre·suming·ly adv.
 there was a relationship.

'American' history

They both talked about the permanent exhibit being planned for the State Museum of Pennsylvania The State Museum of Pennsylvania is a non-profit museum in downtown Harrisburg, run by the commonwealth of Pennsylvania to preserve and interpret the region's history and culture. It is a part of the Pennsylvania State Capitol Complex.  in Harrisburg showcasing the program's regular dancers.

Bunny said she plans to donate her leopard-print jacket (which has since been used as a costume on NBC's ``American Dreams'') and a 45 rpm record, maybe Jimmy Charles' ``A Million to One,'' which she said reflects her feelings about her ``Bandstand'' fame.

Then Ed ran down his donation: ``I had an olive green Italian mohair mohair, hair of the Angora goat or a large group of fabrics made from it, either wholly or in combination with wool, silk, or cotton. The Angora goat, native of Asia Minor for 2,000 years, is bred in other lands, e.g., the SW United States and South Africa.  sweater from 1960, my 45 rpm record player, a pair of cuff links and a tie clip that said 'Eddie.' Somebody sent me a trophy that said 'World's Greatest Dancer' on it - I gave them that. And I'm about to give them my record case.''

``Helloooo,'' Bunny put in. ``I think I'd better up the ante. I think I should donate my Peter Pan collar Peter Pan collar
A small, close-fitting, usually flat collar with rounded ends meeting in front.

[After Peter Pan, the boy protagonist of Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up,

Their mega-celebrity among ``Bandstand'' viewers came with a price, everything from shunning to threats from their schoolmates in Northeast Philadelphia.

``I actually had to leave St. Hubert's High School because they threatened to kill me,'' Bunny said. ``I ate lunch by myself. They threatened to beat me up all the time. And when I got that note in class - 'If you don't leave here, we're going to do you in' - I finally said to my mom, 'I can't take it any longer. Please transfer me to public school.' ''

Bunny said the reaction was part jealousy over her fame and part shame at conduct that was viewed then by some as disgraceful - dancing to rock 'n' roll on television. She learned years later from another student that many of the girls actually admired her determination.

``No matter what they did to me, I'd be standing out there on the highway with my little hatbox full of my 'Bandstand' clothes to change into on the bus, and I'd be going to 'Bandstand' no matter what they did,'' she said.

Double lives

``It was a very lonely time in our lives,'' agreed Ed, who also quit his Catholic high school under pressure from its principal. ``I used to take back streets not to be seen, and camouflage myself.''

``I went (to the 'Bandstand' set) because my childhood was rough at home, and I watched the show and everybody looked so happy,'' Bunny recalled. ``And I knew there had to be more than I was experiencing. The dancing motivated me to go, but I also went to make my mother proud of me.''

Reliving the ``Bandstand'' glory days at Pierce College this week and again in August on a special Holland America cruise to Alaska brings up those dark memories along with all the warm recollections, but Ed and Bunny can handle them now.

``The good memories far outweigh the tough ones,'' Bunny said.

``I agree,'' Ed said. ``We were having such fun, whatever else was happening in our lives, 'Bandstand' made up for it.''

Bunny hopes to mount similar events at more college campuses and other venues to keep the dances of the '50s and '60s alive. And her experience last November dancing with local foster children at the Day of the Child event at Pierce has spurred her in her ``Dancing Is Our Drug of Choice'' campaign, for which she is applying for grants.

She strongly feels dancing is great for self-esteem, exercise, tension relief and other assorted ills. She admires the athleticism of of contemporary dance moves but feels kids would benefit from the teamwork and contact required by the dancing she grew up with.

``When you're holding each other like this, you don't have to make out with each other. You're getting attention from the opposite sex, but it's clean and it's innocent,'' she said. ``They don't have that physical touch from dancing today, and I think it would be good for the kids.''

Valerie Kuklenski, (818) 713-3750



Where: Pierce College Performing Arts Theatre, 6201 Winnetka Ave., Woodland Hills.

When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday.

Tickets: Free.


2 photos


(1) ``American Bandstand'' dancers Kathleen ``Bunny'' Gibson and Ed Kelly re-create their '50s/'60s chemistry next to the jukebox at Mel's Diner in West Hollywood. The pair share their story again on Thursday at Pierce College.

Michael Owen Baker/Staff Photographer

(2) When Gibson and Kelly were a popular couple on the weekday ``Bandstand,'' both were pressured to leave their Catholic high schools.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Apr 28, 2004

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