Bandstand Diaries Review – A Presentation at Max and Benny’s

I have had the opportunity of enjoying several mealsl at Max and Benny’s Deli  previously.  I even enjoyed one evening when Richard Reeder did a presentation there.  I have a copy of “Bandstand Diaries” that is the current rage for people who remember running home from school to watch American Bandstand in the late 1950s and early 1960s. On December 12th I had the delight of hearing Sharon Sultan Cutler tell the story of her newly launched self-published book, “Bandstand Diaries:The Philadelphia Years 1956 to 1963” at the Chicago Authors’ event. This series was initiated in 2011 and this was the 44th presentation.


Many patrons

A few weeks ago Sharon was in Philadelphia where the book was launched. A Local television station featured authors Arlene Sullivan, Ray Smith and Sharon Sultan Cutler, talking about the book.  Later, at the studio where American Bandstand was originally televised, the authors signed copies of the book for several hundred fans.


Shortly after this event, Chicago Tribune columnist, Rick Kogan had a large spread about Sharon and the book. Many people read about the book and were excited about it.  The book evoked memories of “running home from school to watch American Bandstand”.

Sharon ready for her talk

Richard Reeder invited Sharon to tell the story of how “Bandstand Diaries” came into being.  Mr. Reeder has programs related to books at Max and Benny’s and Cliff Dwellers and he also teaches at Oakton College and more information about his programs can be found at Richard Reeder’s Blog


Sharon Sultan Cutler and Richard Reeder

From Mr. Reeder’s blog, “There have been many Jewish authors series over the years in the Chicago area at synagogues, community centers and public libraries. Some have been successful; others have not. So when I proposed to my cousins Lester and Ben Schlan five and half years ago, that I start a Jewish authors series at Max and Benny’s, the iconic restaurant/deli that they own in Northbrook, I thought that they might be a bit hesitant, given that people will be eating and the kitchen would be bustling with its attendant noises while the author is speaking. Yet they enthusiastically gave me the green light to get the series going.”


Steve/patron/Ann Marie/ Sharon

“Bandstand Diaries” is immediately appealing visually.  The stories told in the book are fascinating.  The book came about because of Sharon’s curiosity about what happened to those people, the teenage dancers called The Regulars,  that she almost felt were her friends as she watched American Bandstand.  She was one of the kids that ran home from school to watch the program. Remarkably, Sharon has included 700 photos that in many cases show the early years and then what happened as the years went by.


Ann Marie Maslan was a regular on American Bandstand from 1962 to 1963 but she came from Chicago and currently lives in Chicago.  She accompanied Sharon to Max and Benny’s and helped sign books.  Ann Marie’s fascinating story is told on page 103 of the book. 


Ann Marie and Sharon

As this book tells the story of the early years of American Bandstand, when it was televised in Philadelphia before it moved to Los Angeles, it also vividly brings to mind what life was like in those years, making it important as an historical guide.


If you were one of the American Bandstand fans or if you know someone who was, a copy of this book will bring pleasure.


The book can be ordered on this website by clicking on the picture of the book, going to the Bandstand Diaries website  and/or you can contact Sharon at [email protected]


Decorated for the holidays

Photos are by B. Keer

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