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Disco Demolition Night

In the 1989 film Dead Poets’ Society, English teacher John Keating, played by Robin Williams, utters the line, “How can you describe poetry like American Bandstand”?  ‘I like Byron.  I give him a 42 but I can’t dance to it.’”  The film was set in 1959, when American Bandstand was where many teenagers of the day tuned in to catch the newest musicians and records.  The “I give him a 42” line referred to the show’s vaunted Rate-a-Record segment, when host Dick Clark would ask two teenagers in the audience to rate two records on a scale of 35 to 98, and to then justify the ratings they gave.  Clark would then average the scores.When the teenagers gave their justifications for the scores, they would try to sum things up neatly for the TV cameras, so there was a tendency to give stock phrases.“It’s got a good beat and you can dance to it” became one of the famous phrases associated with the show.  (It’s likely that no teenager ever said such a thing on American Bandstand, but it sounded lik…
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