Growing up in Canton didn’t mean you spent all your time in Canton. Traveling out of the neighborhood was often an adventure, and sometimes it was an amazing learning experience.
In my sophomore year at Patterson I met this young lady I will call Mary Lou, and through her I was lucky enough to become a Buddy Deane Show regular—not really a committee member, because that meant you were in another stratosphere of teendom.
Being a regular meant you could probably get on the show two or three times a month. I think Mary Lou’s dad probably had some pull with his business, but I really didn’t care—I was dancing on TV! Mary Lou had the tickets, and onto the Number 22 bus we went.
We rode all the way out to Television Hill, walked up that huge hill and gathered on the parking lot waiting for the Door to Stardom to be opened. A committee member would read us the rules, with special attention given to the rule about no gum chewing, and at the same time look us over. I thought I was so hip. You have no idea…
I hounded my mother for new clothes all the time. I was a regular at Tru-Fit Clothes on the Avenue. Oh, to relive those days!
Everyone was ushered inside the studio, and sometimes some of us would be allowed to eat ice cream on camera during a live commercial (I was never chosen). We had to make sure we didn’t always dance out front, so we kind of rotated throughout the TV dance studio.
I was a good dancer. I think I owe it to my seven years of tap dancing lessons as a boy–no joke! I am still good on the dance floor but with two knee replacements I have to take it easy these days.
Anyway, back to the show. I got to dance with Brenda Lee! It was a slow dance, and we might have taken ten steps before another guy cut in, but it was on TV so I was satisfied. That particular show was broadcast outside on a sunny day. I think the reason was to allow more kids to see such a big star.
I was also included in a clapping and cheering circle for Bobby Rydell and my reward was a personally autographed album which I still have today.
I don’t remember too many other stars of those days. I do remember holding Connie Francis’ dogs while she performed, but I was off-camera for that.
I lost track of Mary Lou. Years later we ran into each other at Hoehn’s Bakery and shared a laugh. I look at that part of my life as a real eye-opener for a kid from Canton.
—by Roland Moskal