This month was Dancin’ on Air month at WPHL. For those that don’t know, DOA was an 80’s dance show produced locally in Philadelphia at PHL17 Studios, or stu-stu-studios as we joked this week. The original producers of the show, Omni, and the management of WPHL decided to bring back the show in a Saturday Marathon form. So, tonight, starting at 8pm… 4 hours of Dancin’ on Air.
It has been a TON of work for everyone at WPHL. Especially the “TV PEOPLE” as I call them. (While I appear in promos once in a while, contribute stills, and throw a voiceover in from time to time, THESE guys actually make the TV magic while I am making the web magic.) And they really brought the A-Game bringing this show back to air. John Clements and William Lehan created NEW retro spots that really captured the spirit of the show and graphics that oozed 80s and nailed it. (Even though one is a philly transplant and one was a zygote when the show was on!) Travis Brower and Adam Friedman had the daunting task of producing what you will actually see on television and that will include snippets from footage that was shot this month at PHL17 featuring former Dancin’ on Air talent. When you see how good the broadcast looks, these are the guys that made that happen.
And I hope you do watch the Dancin’ on Air Mini-Marathon. Now that DOA month at WPHL is all over but the broadcast, I’ll fess up… I was NOT a fan of the dance show back in the day. Not even a little. (Even though I really think I sold it in my 1000 tweets and 100 FB posts for the station supporting the effort and channeling my 80’s! And of course our Dancin’ on Air page.) But I never went on the show, never wanted to, didn’t really hang out with anyone that appeared on the show, even though tons of kids from my high school did, including the now world famous Kelly Ripa (Pictured right in black dress. Image appears courtesy Annette Pizzo McGills.)
But the passage of time makes for strange bedfellows! I have actually, really, really enjoyed DOA this time around. The buzz online and in and around Philadelphia has been palpable. I have been in countless conversations about the show, been contacted by other media outlets, talked to colleagues that worked on the show back in the day… and 30 years later… I am all in when it comes to DOA. Putting the DOA web page together I have been through countless web videos and it’s been an interesting look back.
Then one of those colleagues took me to an actual television to see the re-formatted footage.
It was in that minute that I learned a few things about myself, if not Nostalgia. They played for me the beginning of the first episode that will air this evening, which is the High School episode featuring the DOA dancers in their High School clothes. As I saw the retro cheerleader sweaters and old logoed T-shirts from Delaware Valley high schools, I felt like James Earl Jones in Field of Dreams; the memories were so thick I had to wipe them away from my face! (Magic Waters indeed…)
An era gone by came rushing back in an instant in a way that YouTube could never touch. The moral of the story for this interwebs kid is… YOUTUBE IS NOT NOSTALGIA! Or maybe it is to nostalgia what methadone is to the real thing… a small taste that keeps you from really jonesing. Seeing the show I watched on TV as a kid… on a REAL TV… that took me back in a way I almost wasn’t prepared for. Knowing that I would be watching it again the next night, with thousands and thousands of people watching the same TV air as me, reminded me of that communal TV experience that is all too often missing. YouTube, DVR, on Demand… it pales in comparison to watching something awesome and knowing others are watching that same awesomeness in households all over the place with you.
When that “awesome” is a kid’s dance show that captures a quintessential part of your youth and those thousands and thousands watching simultaneously in households with you are grown teenagers, now in their 30’s, 40’s and 50’s, that will watch with their own kids? It’s TV magic the likes of which we don’t see a lot of anymore. But don’t take my word for it…watch.
I wrote this blog before the special aired and it was a smashing success for the station. Looks like I am not the only one that got caught up in the nostalgia. It was the top rated programming in Philadelphia that day and we had monumental days for the stations FB (See Facebook Reactions) and Twitter (See Twitter Reactions). WPHL will do another of these Dancin on Air specials at some point I am sure.
Now that it’s over…here’s some video for those that missed it! STILL not the same as TV though…