On ‘Hairspray’s’ 25th anniversary, ‘Buddy Deane’ Committee looks back

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By Jessica Goldstein ( Washington Post, 1/18/2013)

If you were a teenager in Baltimore in the late 1950s and early 1960s, you watched “The Buddy Deane Show.” When the final bell rang you sprinted home from school, saddle shoes smacking the sidewalk, knee socks sliding down your shins, until you skidded to a stop in front of your black-and-white TV and turned to WJZ Channel 13 to watch Maryland’s answer to “American Bandstand.” Chances are you wanted to be on “The Buddy Deane Show,” whose stars were ordinary teens turned local celebrities. The Committee, as they were known, could do all the hot dances of the day: the Madison, the mashed potato, the pony. Faced with pressure to integrate the show, something the station (and some Committee members’ parents) refused to allow, WJZ canceled Buddy Deane in 1964.

Most people probably would’ve forgotten about “The Buddy Deane Show” ages ago had it not been immortalized by John Waters in his 1988 movie, “Hairspray.” In honor of the 25th anniversary of “Hairspray,” the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra is staging a concert production of the musical this week, narrated by Waters and featuring a full orchestra and vocalists. We rounded up Waters and almost 20 of the original Deaners and asked a handful to recount their days as the most famous kids in Charm City.

“The Buddy Deane Show” went on the air on Sept. 9, 1957 and became the most popular local show in the United States.

John Waters, writer and director of “Hairspray”: I was always obsessed by it. . . . I watched it for the fashion and for the drama, because Buddy Deane encouraged them to [date and] break up on film. I watched it like a soap opera. I watched and fantasized about it and made up stories about it in my brain.

Continue reading at The Washington Post.

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