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Rock Around the Clock

Rock Around the Clock(1956)

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NOTES

powered by AFI

The film ends with the following written salutation: "The Living End." Although the Variety review lists the character played by John Archer as "Mike Dennis," he is called "Mike Dodd" in the film. Although Hollywood Reporter news items place Michael Mark and Murray Arnold in the cast, their appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. Rock Around the Clock marked the first in a series of five films produced by Sam Katzman featuring rock-and-roll bands. The last film in the series, Don't Knock the Twist, was released in 1962 (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1961-70).
       Rock Around the Clock marked the screen debut of disc jockey Alan Freed (21 December 1921-20 January 1965). On July 11, 1951, Freed, calling himself "Moondog," began to emcee a program of rhythm and blues music over WJW radio in Cleveland, Ohio. The music, which had previously attracted a largely black audience caught on with the white, post-war teen audience, and was renamed rock and roll. In 1954, Freed moved to WINS radio in New York, and staged a series of legendary music shows. In the late 1950s, Freed was charged with accepting bribes in exchange for featuring certain recordings on his program, bringing a ruinous end to his career. The practice, popularly called "Payola," was later revealed to be widespread. Freed was the subject of the 1978 biographical musical American Hot Wax, directed by Flooyd Mutrux and starring Tim McIntire as Freed.
       The song "Rock Around the Clock", performed by Bill Haley and His Comets, became an international best seller after it was played beneath the credit sequence of the 1955 film Blackboard Jungle (see entry above). The song subsequently became the anthem of the younger generation and sold 22 million copies. According to Hollywood Reporter news items, The film Rock Around the Clock was a huge international success. September 1956 news items noted that in London, teenage audiences became so agitated that the theater manager had to stop the film and appeal to them to take their seats. Due to the furor the film caused in London, the Rank organization decided to restrict screenings to six days a week. Another September 1956 news item noted that the picture was banned in small English towns because of its raucous reception in London. According to an October 1956 Hollywood Reporter news item, after the film's first showings in Norway, teenagers stormed through the streets of Oslo, shouting "more rock!"