Local man's a doll - literally Former teen star from 'American Bandstand' wins back own likeness during auction
by Jessica Rosero Reporter staff writer
Dec 17, 2006 | 452 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Ed Kelly of Union City recently recovered a prize collectible - a paper doll version of himself, from back when he was one of the most recognized teens on the TV show American Bandstand.

He thought the item had been lost until it recently went up for auction as part of the Dick Clark Collection of Rock & Roll.

"I am quite honored to be among this group of people [connected with the show]," said Kelly last week.

Originating in Philadelphia, American Bandstand was the first component of music television to sweep the nation. From 1952 through 1989, it featured local teenagers dancing to the Top 40 hits of the times.

"Bandstand kids used to go after school and line up outside the door," said Kelly, who was better known as Eddie Kelly in those days.

Bandstand producers would select a maximum of 250 kids to fill the stage for filming, and picked people to dance on the set with famed music legends such as Jerry Lee Lewis and Chubby Checker.

Born and raised in Philadelphia, Kelly was among the growing fan base who started watching American Bandstand when it was hosted by Bob Horn. Dick Clark took over as host in 1956 and the show went national.

"I used to watch Bandstand when I was 13 or 14 years old," said Kelly, who joined the live audience at 16. "I had a crush one of the girls called Rosa Lee, and I wanted to see how she looked like in person, so I went with my next door neighbor."

Kelly did get to dance with his dream girl once, but on another occasion was pulled off the bleachers to dance again, and he became part of the regular cast of kids.

Teen fame

The favorite teens among the audience were asked to come back continuously, and became the stars.

"We were known as the 'regulars, ' said Kelly, who was partnered was Bunny Gibson. "I was in Bandstand from 1959 to 1961, which aired five days a week from 3 to 5 p.m."

Kelly became a household name among fans, and was featured several times in magazines such as Teen Screen, 16 Magazine, Dig, Photo Play, and Teen Magazine.

Kelly still holds a collection of articles, fan letters and drawings from fans of the show, and even today, a picture of Kelly in Bandstand hangs in at The American Bandstand Grill off of New Jersey Turnpike Exit 8.

Lost memories found

One of his prized memories was his 1960s paper doll specially created by artist David Zuber. But it was lost many years ago.

"This doll I loaned out to a publisher in 1985, and I never saw it again until now," said Kelly.

Through a twist of fate, the Eddie Kelly paper doll showed up at the publicized Dick Clark Collection of Rock & Roll, which was being auctioned off at Guernsey's in New York last week.

"I called Guernsey's only because I was looking to attend the auction," said Kelly, who was informed by representative that the doll was on auction.

"I told her who I was, and she said, 'I'm looking at a paper doll of you,' " said Kelly.

After over 20 years, Kelly was able to see his paper doll in person at the Time Warner Center, which had the collection on display prior to the auction.

"It described me as the 'quintessential clean-cut American Bandstand image for the 'regulars'," said Kelly.

The paper doll is an original, professional pencil and marker drawing of Eddie Kelly signed by the artist in the lower right corner.

Eddie's figure is a cut-out doll in checkered boxer shorts with his "preppy" outfits on a solid sheet, including a gray sweater, black pants, pink shirt and socks, black loafers and a tie to the left. On the right is an outfit with a letterman sweater and gray pants.

The Eddie Kelly Paper Doll had its own lot at the auction, and was going for $100 to $500. The only other Bandstand members to have their own lot on the auction were the show's most famous couple, Justine Carelli and Bob Clayton, which also featured an autographed record.

The Dick Clark Collection of Rock & Roll included more than 900 lots up for auction between Dec. 5 and 6, with proceeds going in part to benefit the Bogart Pediatric Cancer Research Program, a Division of the TJ Martell Foundation.

The auction was held at the Frederick P. Rose Hall, Home of Jazz at Lincoln Center.

The Eddie Kelly Paper Doll was sold to Kelly's good friend Charles William Amann III for $175, who will gladly be returning the doll to Kelly.

Still on TV

His bandstand days now behind him, Kelly has found a new creative outlet over the last few years. He has broken into films both on the big and small screens, including a cameo appearance as himself in the NBC hit "American Dreams," which highlighted the days of American Bandstand.

"[Acting] started out as a hobby, but I have been so busy," said Kelly.

Kelly's upcoming projects include a small role in the independent film "A Woman Scorned," directed by Regina Braggs, as well as a small role on the upcoming feature film "P.S. I Love You," starring Hilary Swank, Lisa Kudrow, Harry Connick Jr.

There is also a proposed book in the works by Amann, titled The Princes and Princesses of Dance, which will have a chapter dedicated to Kelly.

In addition, the State Museum of Pennsylvania has been putting together an exhibit that will feature American Bandstand. Kelly donated many of his personal memorabilia.

"They are hoping for a 2007 opening, which will be the 50th anniversary of American Bandstand," said Kelly.
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