Before we look at our 1957 Corvette Magazine Ads, we also want to share a little trivia. This comes from our Vette Vues Magazine column “Rear Vues” where we feature Corvette Magazine Ads from the Ladd B. Chase Collection.
In 1957, there were massive promotional campaigns from Ford Motor Company. In magazine ads, they announced “E-Day” in which a new car was going to be introduced. This would take place on September 4, 1957. 2.5 million Americans poured into dealerships around the country. “E-Day” was the debut of the 1958 model year Edsel. Enthusiasm was high! In the first year, 63,110 Edsels were sold in the United States; an additional 4,935 units were sold in Canada (to put it in perspective-Chevrolet produced 6,339 1957 Corvettes).
The Edsel was sold through a new network of approximately 1,187 dealers. They manufactured 1958, 1959, and 1960 model years only. By the time the first Edsel hit the showroom, the country was in a recession. There were problems with suppliers, and some of the cars came without all of their parts. The car was more expensive than its comparatives, and being a new car, it lacked customer loyalty. By the second year, the cars were not selling, and dealerships started to stop selling the cars; people were becoming more afraid of buying the car as the dealerships began closing. Finally, after three model years and only 110,847 Edsels produced, Ford shut it down.
The 1957 Thunderbird enjoyed a record-breaking 21,380 units. It had a reshaped front bumper, a larger grille and tailfins, and bigger tail lamps. The Ford company executives felt that if they did a substantial redesign for 1958, they could sell even more. They did sell 37,892 1958 T-birds (Corvette sold 9,168 1958s).
The top five biggest hit singles in 1957 were Elvis Presley with “Jailhouse Rock”, Paul Anka with “Diana”, Elvis Presley with “All shook Up”, Jerry Lee Lewis with “Great Balls of Fire”, and Danny & The Juniors with “At the Hop”.
“We’re goin’ hoppin’ (Hop!)
We’re goin’ hopin’ today
Where things are poppin'(Pop!)
The Philadelphia way We’re goin’ drop in (Drop!)
On all the music they play On the Bandstand.! “
Do you recognize those lyrics? It was the theme song from American Bandstand and titled “Bandstand Boogie”. Charles Albertine composed the melody, and Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman wrote the words.
For those who have never watched American Bandstand, it was the first network television series devoted to rock and roll. The program not only brought rock ‘n’ roll music into households but also showed Americans how to do the latest dance steps.
The program, called Bob Horn’s Bandstand, began on a local station in Philadelphia, in 1952. It was renamed American Bandstand when it went national on August 5, 1957 with Dick Clark as the host. It aired on Mondays through Fridays.
Dick Clark required a formal dress code. He insisted on the girls wearing dresses or skirts and coats and ties for the boys. This helped establish the show’s wholesome appearance. It also helped smooth the generation gap between parents and teens, and before long parents were singing the tunes as well.
Here are some of the songs and performers from the first season in 1957:
Jerry Lee Lewis performed “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On”
Jimmy Bowen & The Rhythm Orchids -“Don’t Tell Me Your Troubles”
Billy Williams sang “I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself A Letter”
The Chordettes performed “Just Between You an Me”
Dale Hawkins sang “Suzie Q”
Don Rondo sang “White Silver Sands”
Joni James -“Summer Love”
Paul Anka sang “Diana”
Somethin’ Smith and the Redheads -“You Always Hurt the One You Love”
Kitty Kallen -“Lasting Love”
Frankie Lymon and The Teenagers -“Goody Goody”
Buddy Holly & The Crickets sang “That’ll Be the Day”
Doc Bagby performed “Dumplins”
Fats Domino -“What Will I Tell My Heart?”
Johnny Nash -“A Teenager Sings the Blues”
So what popular type of dances were they doing throughout this era? Have you ever heard of the Twist or the Stroll? Madison was a famous line dance the teenagers enjoyed. Some of the other favorite dance steps included the Hully-Gully, the Bunny Hop, Bossa Nova, Calypso, Paschanga, the Bounce, the Dip, and Rueda de Casino.