Where the Action Is
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Where the Action Is or (WTAI) was a music-based television variety show in the United States from 1965–67. It was carried by the ABC network and aired each weekday afternoon. Created by Dick Clark as a spin-off of American Bandstand, Where the Action Is premiered on June 27, 1965. The show was another step in the then-current trend of entertainment programs that targeted the teenage audience by focusing on pop music, following in the footsteps set by Shindig! (premiered in the fall of 1964, also on ABC) and Hullabaloo (premiered January 1965 on NBC). Dick Clark's voice could be heard doing the artist introductions, but he was rarely seen on the show.
|Where the Action Is|
|Created by||Dick Clark|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Production company(s)||Dick Clark Productions|
|Original release||June 27, 1965 – March 31, 1967|
Originally intended as a summer replacement and broadcast at 2 P.M. EDT, the show was successful enough for it to continue throughout the 1965–66 TV season, with a change in time period to 4:30 P.M. Eastern time following the horror soap opera Dark Shadows. Both programs attracted a young audience who watch the shows after school. It was in black and white.
The show's theme song, "Action", became a hit single for Freddy "Boom Boom" Cannon, peaking on the charts (#13) in September 1965. Most of these black-and-white telecasts were taped at various locales in Southern California. A handful of segments were taped elsewhere around The United States. The theme song was written by Steve Venet and Tommy Boyce. Later, Boyce co-wrote songs for The Monkees.
The program had its own stable of performers, most notably Paul Revere & the Raiders, who served as the de facto house band. When the group departed the show in 1966, they were replaced by The Robbs and The Hard Times. Other regular performers on Action included the dance troupe Pete Manifee and the Action Kids. Individual episodes featured a wide range of guest performers, as detailed below. Tina Mason was a regular singer being promoted by Dick Clark on the show. She met and later married Phil Volk, the bass player for Paul Revere and the Raiders, whom she met on the "Action" set. They married on the second anniversary of the show's premiere, June 27, 1967.
Also appearing were Steve Alaimo, Keith Allison (a Paul McCartney look-alike who later became a member of Paul Revere and the Raiders), and Linda Scott. Ms. Scott had a few hit singles as a teenager in the early 1960s; she was only 20 when "Action" premiered. Typically, the show featured 2 or 3 performers lip-synching their recent hits with a bunch of teenagers clapping and swaying in the background, and a dance segment featuring the Action dancers. There would occasionally be an interview segment. A few episodes featured only one performer, such as Herman's Hermits or James Brown. The regular appearances of the Raiders helped to promote the band's lead singer, Mark Lindsay, as a teen idol. Lindsay's face and signature pony-tail haircut would grace the cover of many teen magazines of the mid- and late-60s.
The weekday program was cancelled on March 31, 1967, with the network giving its local affiliates the time slot. However, members of the program's mainstay band Paul Revere and the Raiders (with lead vocalist Mark Lindsay) hosted very similar follow-up shows; both Revere and Lindsay hosted Happening '68, a Saturday afternoon follow-up to American Bandstand, and a weekday version of the same show, It's Happening, from 1968 to 1969. Both shows were produced by Dick Clark's production company for ABC.
- Dick Clark (Host. Except for a brief cameo at the beginning of the pilot and subsequently at the end of the final episode, otherwise he only appeared in off-camera voice-overs to introduce performers)
- Paul Revere and The Raiders (1965–1966)
- The Robbs (1966–1967)
- Keith Allison
- Steve Alaimo
- Tina Mason
- Linda Scott
- Pete Menefee & The Action Kids
- The Knickerbockers
- The Hard Times
- Don and the Goodtimes
- Tommy Roe