This episode follows the life and career of drummer, singer and actor Robert Louis Ridarelli, from his 1942 birth, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, son of Jennie and Al Ridarelli, who encourage Robert at a young age to follow his ambitions as a drummer, through his career in records, television and film as Pop Music star Bobby Rydell.
While attending Epiphany Of Our Lord School, in Philadelphia, Robert receives his first drum set. (The camera pans to "School," "Lord," "Our" and "of," without making out the first word, so it must be "Epiphany Of Our Lord School" because that's about all that shows up in fact-checking research.)
Well, it is legendary orchestra leader Paul Whiteman who dubs Robert Ridarelli as "Bobby Rydell," when the talented eight-year-old appears upon his program, "Paul Whiteman's TV Teen Club," in 1950.
From here, Bobby by the age of 14, appears with the group Rocco and the Saints, drumming and telling jokes, and more-the-less stealing the show, and so its manager, Frankie Day, decides to represent Bobby Rydell as a solo act, in 1956.
In 1957, Bobby obtains a contract to record with Veko Records, but fails to chart as a singer and decides that this must not be the proper direction for him to take.
But, in 1959, Bobby appears on "American Bandstand" with his first hit song, "Kissing Time," and soon afterward with his second, "We Got Love," and his star reaches a spectacular height for the 17-year-old singing sensation.
After his 1960 cover version of the standard "Volaire," already popularized by Dominico Modugno and Dean Martin, Bobby Rydell heads to Hollywood to launch his acting fame on television and in films, as "Bye Bye Birdie" (1963).
Bobby Rydell experiences many other high and low points during his multi-faceted career, beginning with his pompadour hair style over his slender physique, and spanning more than 50 years, and continuing into the new Millennium.
Interview Guests for this episode consist of Bobby Rydell (Self), Jennie Ridarelli (Mother), Camille Quattrone Ridarelli (Wife), Linda Hoffman (Fan Club President), Ann-Margret (Actress/singer), Frankie Avalon (Actor/singer), Fabian (Actor/singer), James Darren (Actor/singer), Dick Clark ("American Bandstand" Host), Sam D'Amico (Drum Teacher), Murray Dubin (Author/Reporter), Don Cannon (Philadelphia Disc Jockey), and Cousin Brucie Morrow (Radio Announcer), with Joan London (Host), and Harry Smith (Narrator).
Still Photographs include Bobby Rydell, Al Ridarelli (Father), Paul Whiteman, Dominico Modugno, George Burns, Bobby Darin, Frank Sinatra and Jack Paar.
Archive film footage includes Bobby Rydell, Charlie O'Donnell, Dick Clark and Dick Van Dyke.
Bobby Rydell's song performances here include "Kissin' Time" (1959), "We Got Love" (1959), and "Volare" (1960).
Film Clips include scenes from Bye Bye Birdie (1963).
Television Clips include scenes from "Paul Whiteman's TV Teen Club" (1950), and "American Bandstand" (1959-60).
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