The first AB episode after the plane crash that killed Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper & Ritchie Valens. The crash occurred around 1AM that day, so there was plenty of time for mention on the show, but not a word was said.
As a big Buddy Holly fan, this was the sad day that he died. That day, news traveled through my high school that there had been a plane crash involving some rock 'n roll singers. I didn't think much of it at the time as the only names mentioned were the Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens. After walking home with my best friend, his sister informed us Buddy Holly was on the plane. Stunned and upset. I headed home, turned on American Bandstand, thinking tv's biggest rock 'n roll spokesman, Dick Clark, would provide details of this important story. As the program progressed without the slightest mention of any of the artists or the mishap, I was thinking, maybe he'll do a tribute at the end of the show. None came. Well, I thought, he'll mention it tomorrow, once he checked details of the story. The next day came, and the next day, etc., but nary a mention of the crash, Holly or the other artists - - and not even a single playing of their records. I came to the conclusion at that tender young age that Mr Dick Clark's control of the program was so strong that he didn't want its innocence pierced with the reality of sudden and tragic death. I lost some respect for the program that day. February 3, 1959 was not only "the day the music died," but also the day the story was kept off the airwaves by America's top deejay. Interestingly, decades later, Mr. Clark wasted no time in obtaining the rights to Buddy Holly tv footage [from the Arthur Murray Dance Party tv program] to include in his American Bandstand specials and videos.
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