Updates from Frederick Smith, former Detroiter living in Los Angeles, and author of Down For Whatever (July2005) and Right Side of the Wrong Bed (December 2007).
Saturday, December 10, 2005
The Scene. Detroit. Channel 62.
OK... I'm going down memory lane :-)
Someone, and I can't remember who (my memory is failing me now), told me in a joking way that every conversation about black folks eventually leads to Detroit, so maybe you can identify with this entry if you grew up in Detroit... or had cousins who you visited there...
The Scene was one of the hottest TV shows in Detroit back in the 70s and 80s. Everyone raced home after school to watch The Scene, which came on "LIVE" everyday at 6 pm (or 7, depending on the season) on Channel 62, then WGPR-TV. Then it got replaced by something called "The New Dance Show" in the 90s... It was kinda like a black American Bandstand, but featured Detroit dancers, folks from the hood, the mall (Northland, Eastland, or Fairlane), from around the block or cul-de-sac, depending on what side of Detroit you were from.
The guy with the mic is Nat Morris, the host, interviewing the many celebrities who came to Detroit to be on the show.
We learned such dances like "The Shake," "The Prep," "The Jit," "(The various versons of...) The Smurf." We saw the famous "Scene Line" where dancers would dance down the aisle showing off their latest and greatest moves and hair. Lawwwwd, the jheri curl juice lubricated the screen. But as kids, the folks on the show were our Detroit celebrities... and we'd get so excited running into them at the mall, Belle Isle, the club (well, I wasn't of age then, but have since heard TONS of stories about the boy/girl action among the dancers at clubs).
This summer I ran into Bernard, now a bookseller in San Francisco, who danced on the show back in the day. Also ran into Lynnelle B., a grad student in L.A., who danced on the show too. I feel like I've been called to try and find many of the old dancers from The Scene. Well, Bernard kinda put me on the case... but I know there's other folks who loved The Scene, too, and are on the case. So case closed... or is it?
So... where is Cheryl, who won the $25K on Dance Fever. Where is Wanda, with the mushroom hairdo and did "the worm" better than anybody else. Eric, the Prince look-alike... Lorenzo, who could do that "thing" with his leg over his head... Fast Freddie... The Singleton Cleaners commercial people? Or the Brady Keyes Burger King dynasty? Anybody else??? I love Detroit memories... there are some great things about having grown up there. Detroit TV oughta think about a reunion, where are they now, type show.
And DO all conversations about black people lead back to Detroit? I'm gonna test it later this weekend :-) fs
Author of 3 QPOC/LGBT novels: Down For Whatever (05); Right Side of the Wrong Bed (08); Play It Forward (January 2015). www.FrederickLSmith.com @fsmith827
Student Affairs/Higher Education Professional. Cultural Centers. Cal State LA. ACPA. CaCCCHE. ACUI.
Detroit. Chicago. L.A. The World.