Buddy Deane Show
The Buddy Deane Show is a teen dance television show, similar to Philadelphia's American Bandstand, that 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 seventy-eight.
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.
The core group of teenagers who appeared on the show every day were known as the "Committee." Popular members of the Committee included, among others, Mike Miller, Charlie Bledsoe, Mary Lou Raines, Pat(ricia) Tacey, and Cathy Schmink. Kids on the Committee developed a huge following of fans and hangers-on in Baltimore who emulated their dance moves, followed their life stories, and copied their look. Several marriages resulted from liaisons between Committee Members.
Simply because John Waters needed a dramatic conflict on which to center his film, "Hairspray," most writings about the Buddy Deane Show today focus on racial matters. Yet, in its day, the show was as central to the popular cultural fabric of Maryland as eating crabs, watching the Orioles, the Colts, and the Preakness, or crossing the Bay Bridge to go to Ocean City on Summer weekends. Buddy Deane, with Committee Members in tow, organized and disc-jockeyed dances in publicly available spaces (eg, fire halls, school gymnasiums, American Legion halls, etc) across half of Maryland and even into southern Delaware -- wherever the WJZ TV broadcast signal carried. Over the years, tens of thousands of teenagers got their first exposure to live recording artists and TV personalities at Buddy Deane record hops. Hundreds of thousands of teens learned the latest dances of their day by watching Committee Members on the Buddy Deane Show.
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).
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.
Buddy played a more eclectic mix of records than Dick Clark. Owing to Buddy's mid-South roots and work history, he brought onto his show many performers from the ranks of Country and Western music (eg, Skeeter Davis, singing "The End of the World"), who then achieved cross-over hits among rock'n'roll fans. Buddy Deane also played songs that other disc-jockeys, often including Dick Clark, refused to present to mostly white, teen, TV audiences, because the acts sounded "too Black" (eg, "Do You Love Me," by the Contours, or "Hide and Seek," by Bunker Hill).
As with many other local TV shows, little footage of the show is known to have survived. Some clips have been available on YouTube.com. When Barry Levinson, another Baltimore native, requested footage of the show for his film Diner, the station told him they had no footage.
- "Radio pioneer Buddy Deane dies". USA Today. 2003-07-16.
- Waters, John (1985). "Ladies and Gentlemen…The Nicest Kids in Town!". Crackpot: The Obsessions of John Waters (1st ed.). New York, NY: MacMillan Publishing Company. p. 89. ISBN 978-0-02-624440-4.
- Warner, Tony, Buddy's Top 20: The Story of Baltimore's Hottest TV Dance Show and the Guy Who Brought it to Life! 2003.
- Washington Post, Winston "Buddy" Deane - Baltimore DJ obituary, Friday, July 18, 2003, Page B-7.