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American Dreams
Format Serial dramedy
Created by Jonathan Prince
Starring see below
Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 3
No. of episodes 61
Production
Running time 43 minutes
Broadcast
Original channel NBC
Original run September 29, 2002 (2002-09-29) – March 30, 2005 (2005-03-30)

American Dreams is an American television drama program broadcast on the NBC television network. It debuted on September 29, 2002. The show is set mostly in Philadelphia, and partly at Lehigh University. It initially aired on Sundays at 8:00pm Eastern time, but moved to the same time on Wednesdays from March 9, 2005, to the third season finale (March 30, 2005). The show tells the story of the Pryor family of Philadelphia during the mid-1960s. Season one takes place in 1963-64, season two in 1964-65, and season three in 1965-66. The show was known as "Our Generation" when it debuted in Australia, however it was changed back to "American Dreams" when it returned for the second season.

The theme song "Generation" was written and performed by Emerson Hart, lead singer of the band Tonic. The song earned Hart an ASCAP award for Best Theme Song of Television in 2003. The show was the 2003 TV Land Awards "Future Classic" winner.

Contents

Characters

Major characters

  • Margaret "Meg" Pryor (Brittany Snow) - the show's protagonist. A dreamer and a romantic, Meg often makes rash decisions without thinking. In her spare time, she dances on Dick Clark's American Bandstand.
  • Helen Pryor (Gail O'Grady) - Jack's wife. Stay at home mom who later works for a travel agency
  • John J."Jack" Pryor (Tom Verica) - head of the Catholic household, Jack is a tough-but-loving husband, father, and owner of Pryor's TV and Radio Store. Later represented his district in the Philadelphia City Council.
  • John J. "JJ" Pryor Jr. (Will Estes) - the oldest Pryor child. A talented football player. He enlists in the Marines and fights in the Vietnam War.
  • Patricia "Patty" Pryor (Sarah Ramos) - Meg's intelligent and often annoying little sister.
  • William "Will" Pryor (Ethan Dampf) - an elementary school student whose leg was crippled with polio, a source of parental guilt as they had refused to allow him to have the Salk vaccine, but he underwent an operation to repair it in the show's second season.
  • Henry Walker (Jonathan Adams) - an African American employee in Jack's store who later became a partner/owner in the store, who also heads a family.
  • Elizabeth "Beth" (Mason) Pryor (Rachel Boston) - JJ's girlfriend, whom he marries in the third season shortly after returning from Vietnam. They have an infant son "Trip".
  • Roxanne Bojarski (Vanessa Lengies) - Meg's best friend who has a knack for getting herself into trouble. She dances on American Bandstand with Meg.

Minor characters

Pryor Family

  • Pete Pryor (Matthew John Armstrong) - Jack's younger brother, an officer with the Philadelphia Police Department. He is assigned to the Columbia Avenue Precinct in North Philadelphia, a Precinct which includes the Walker's home and the Pryor's second store. He is addicted to alcohol and gambling. Almost married in Season 2 to Nancy (Helen's coworker and friend), but got cold feet at the last minute.
  • Theodore "Ted" Pryor (Christopher Cousins)- Jack and Pete's older brother, a successful businessman who has a strained and distant relationship from the rest of the family. He is only seen in a couple of episodes, but dies from a car accident late in Season 3.
  • Melissa Pryor (Natalie Marston) - Ted's 18 year old daughter, niece of Jack and Helen. She entered Vassar College in the fall of 1966.
  • John J. "Trip" Pryor III - JJ and Beth's son, born in Season 3.

Walker Family

  • Gwen Walker (Adina Porter) - Henry's wife and a housekeeper, who died in Season 2 of cancer.
  • Angela Walker (Aysia Polk) - Henry and Gwen's daughter, roughly Patty's age.
  • Samuel "Sam" Walker (Arlen Escarpeta) - Henry's son and Meg's good friend who becomes a little more than friends in Season 3.
  • Nathan Walker (Keith Robinson) - Henry's outspoken nephew. Spent some time in jail; eventually rehabilitated himself and now operates a delivery service.

Meg and Roxanne's friends

  • Luke Foley (Jamie Elman) - a record store clerk with an affinity for all things Dylan. Originally Meg's boyfriend in the first season; after they broke up Luke and Roxanne developed a relationship and began living together in the third season.
  • James "Jimmy" Riley (Jesse Hutch) - an American Bandstand dance partner of Meg's who eventually leaves to fight in Vietnam; he would later return to American Dreams in the second season, in a wheelchair.
  • Drew Mandel (Samuel Page) - A college student at the University of Pennsylvania; he and Meg date during the show, despite both her brother J.J. and her father's dislike for Drew. It ends when she catches him cheating on her.
  • Leonard "Lenny" Beeber (Johnny Lewis) - Roxanne's second season boyfriend with whom she goes on tour. Head of the band Lenny and the Pilgrims.
  • Christopher "Chris" Pierce (Milo Ventimiglia) - Shelly Pierce's son, who becomes Meg's new love interest in the third season.

JJ's friends

  • Daniel "Danny" O'Connor (Rodney Scott) - Quarterback of the East Catholic football team in the first season, and who has a short-lived relationship with Meg in season two. His older brother was declared missing in action in Vietnam. In season three, Danny's brother's body is found in Vietnam.
  • Thomas "Tommy" DeFelice (Paul Wasilewski) - JJ's macho friend and former football teammate. JJ later ends the friendship when he notices a strong racist side to him when Sam enrolls at East Catholic.
  • Kenny Keegan (Kevin Sheridan) - JJ's East Catholic friend and teammate; a mediocre athlete.

Bandstand characters

  • Michael Brooks (Joseph Lawrence) - the original floor producer of American Bandstand. His character left after the show's first season.
  • Colin (Michael E. Rodgers) - Floor producer of Bandstand who took over after Michael Brooks' departure.
  • Gus (Peter Spellos) - witty production assistant of American Bandstand.
  • Teresa McManus (Michelle Morgan) - A regular dancer on Bandstand who does not like Meg.

Other minor characters

  • Willie Johnson (Nigel Thatch) - Charismatic neighborhood agitator in North Philadelphia who played a major role in instigating the Philadelphia 1964 race riot.
  • Rebecca Sandstrom (Virginia Madsen) - Helen's friend from a book club. Her character was dropped after the first season.
  • Nancy (Alicia Coppola) - After meeting Helen while working at the same travel agency, she became one of Helen's confidantes. Nancy dated and then became engaged to Pete Pryor, only to be left standing at the altar.
  • Donald Norville (Hank Stratton) - Helen's colleague at the travel agency. He is later fired for being a homosexual.
  • Father Conti (Steve Ryan) - The Pryor family's strict Catholic priest who also serves as the headmaster of East Catholic high school.
  • Mr. and Mrs. George Mason (James Read and Barbara Alyn Woods) - Beth's well-to-do parents. Estranged from Beth after she became pregnant with JJ Pryor's child, although some reconciliation was attempted in the show's third season.
  • Mr. Greenwood (Art Garfunkel) - The bohemian owner of the Vinyl Crocodile record store. Appeared sporadically during the first season; in the third season he is said to have gone "on a worldwide tour with his friend", an allusion to Art Garfunkel's singing partnership with Paul Simon.
  • Shelly Pierce (Daphne Zuniga), a single mom who works at a nearby Playboy Club and the Pryors' next door neighbor (starting at the beginning of Season 3).
  • Murray (Murray Rubenstein) - Barber shop owner whose business is next to Pryor's TV and Radio. A frequent visitor to the store, though he rarely buys anything.

Ratings

Seasonal rankings (based on average total viewers per episode) of American Dreams on NBC.

Season Timeslot Number of Episodes Season premiere Season finale TV season Rank Viewers
(in millions)
1 Sunday 8/7c 25 September 29, 2002 May 18, 2003 2002-2003 #56 9.98 [1]
2 Sunday 8/7c 19 September 28, 2003 April 4, 2004 2003-2004 #67 8.75 [2]
3 Sunday 8/7c (September 26-March 2) Wednesday 8/7c (March 9-March 30) 17 September 26, 2004 March 30, 2005 2004-2005 #79 7.20 [3]

Episode List

Season 1 (2002-2003)

  1. Pilot
  2. The End of the Innocence
  3. New Frontier
  4. Pryor Knowledge
  5. The Fighting Irish
  6. Soldier Boy
  7. Cold Snap
  8. Black and White
  9. The Home Front
  10. Silent Night
  11. I Wanna Hold Your Hand
  12. Great Expectations
  13. The Pursuit of Happiness
  14. Heartache
  15. False Start
  16. Act of Contrition
  17. Past Imperfect
  18. The One
  19. Where the Boys Are
  20. The Carpetbaggers
  21. Fear Itself
  22. Secrets and Lies
  23. Down the Shore
  24. High Hopes
  25. City on Fire

Season 2 (2003-2004)

  1. And Promises to Keep
  2. R-E-S-P-E-C-T
  3. Another Saturday Night
  4. Crossing the Line
  5. Life's Illusions
  6. Rescue Me
  7. Ticket to Ride
  8. Change a Comin'
  9. The Long Goodbye
  10. The 7-10 Split
  11. Beyond the Wire
  12. Real-to-Reel
  13. To Tell the Truth
  14. Old Enough to Fight
  15. Shoot the Moon
  16. Can't Hold On
  17. Chasing the Past
  18. Stewart's Charge
  19. No Way Out

Season 3 (2004-2005)

  1. Long Shots and Short Skirts
  2. Charade
  3. Leaders of the Pack
  4. Surround Me
  5. So Long, Farewell
  6. Clear and Present Danger
  7. What Dreams May Come
  8. One in a Million
  9. Tidings of Comfort and Joy
  10. Home Again
  11. Truth Be Told
  12. For Richer, For Poorer
  13. Starting Over
  14. The Commencement
  15. California Dreamin'
  16. No Satisfaction
  17. It's My Life

Synopsis

Season 1 (2002-2003)

In the pilot episode, set in November 1963, Meg and Roxanne win the opportunity to join the dancers on the TV show American Bandstand, filmed in Philadelphia. Passing note is made of the JFK assassination and funeral. Bandstand immediately becomes the principal creative pillar of American Dreams, with each episode featuring recreated versions of several musical acts that originally appeared on the real Bandstand, often rendered by modern singers.

JJ Pryor, a running back for the East Catholic Fighting Crusaders football team, tries to earn a full athletic scholarship to play at the University of Notre Dame, but can only earn a partial scholarship. He later applies for and is accepted to Lehigh University, but a nagging ankle injury curtails his football career - and thus he enlists in the United States Marine Corps to pay for school. Meanwhile, JJ's on-again, off-again girlfriend Beth chooses to attend the University of Pennsylvania in order to be near JJ.

In the early part of the season, Meg develops a crush on Bandstand dancer and they go on a couple of public appearance dates. While never becoming romantic, they remained good friends. Meg later developed a romance with Luke Foley, the bespectacled record store clerk and fellow East Catholic student.

Sam Walker wins a track scholarship to East Catholic. Some in the majority-white student body (Sam's father Henry states that there are only three other black male students at East Catholic) resent Sam's presence, especially Tommy DeFelice, who is later expelled after falsely confessing to JJ's crime of breaking Beth's current boyfriend's windshield. Sam and Meg develop a friendship, even creating a record-swapping club while meeting at the Vinyl Crocodile record store.

In the season finale on May 18, 2003, Meg and Sam are caught in the riots that shook Philadelphia in the summer of 1964.

Season 2 (2003-2004)

Meg and Sam survive the riots unharmed, but the branch of Jack's store under Henry's management is destroyed. Gwen dies from cancer. JJ excels at boot camp and arrives in Vietnam. While on leave, he and Beth are reunited in Hawaii; they break up, but Beth soon learns she is pregnant with JJ's child, and she moves in with the Pryors.

Helen discovers that there might be a possible surgical treatment for Will's paralysis, and the early part of the season deals with Will's medical treatment. By the end of the season, Will's leg braces have been removed and he is able to walk normally.

Roxanne exchanges promise rings with boyfriend Lenny, and goes on tour with him before returning home. Later on, she dates Meg's ex-boyfriend, Luke. Meg dates a college boy, Drew, despite JJ and her father's strong dislike for him, but breaks it off when he ends up cheating on her,

Sam wins a scholarship to the University of Pennsylvania. Jack decides to run for the City Council. In the season finale on April 4, 2004, Sam's cousin Nathan is drafted and opts to go to jail rather than serve in Vietnam. Also in that episode, JJ is caught in a fierce firefight, while Meg and Sam are arrested at a campus rally protesting the Vietnam war.

Season 3 (2004-2005)

The arrests widen the communications gap between parents and children, and inspire Meg to lead additional protests. A strict new headmaster also fires Meg up. An injured JJ wakes up in an American military hospital, and learns of his forthcoming child; Beth refuses to accept JJ's offer of marriage. Roxanne, estranged from her mother, moves in with the Pryors. JJ gets recruited for special, somewhat mysterious duty for the US government. Jack wins an upset victory for the City Council.

As Thanksgiving nears closer, JJ is captured by the Viet Cong. He and his sergeant escape, but are presumed missing in action (the sergeant is later found buried in a shallow grave). The Pryors learn of JJ's "Missing In Action" status just before Thanksgiving.

Luke Foley returns to Philadelphia, and Roxanne, who moves out on her remarrying mother, moves in with him in a loft above the Vinyl Crocodile record store.

On a commercial-free special episode that aired November 21, 2004, JJ returns home. At episode's end JJ glares harshly at his mother. It could be a sign of things to come. In the next original episode, JJ becomes a Marine recruiter and suffers from post-traumatic flashbacks. He proposes to Beth. Beth and JJ are married on the January 23, 2005 episode. Helen becomes involved with a Catholic peace group.

As the show enters 1966, JJ marries Beth at a church ceremony. Jack Pryor, newly elected to the Philadelphia City Council, is forced to take a bribe, with the money going to help JJ repay some gambling debts. Eventually Jack votes to elect a local activist in his district. Reverend Davis, to the Police Review Board; essentially voting against the Council. For this act of disloyalty, several members of the police force beat up JJ after a traffic stop. Pete soon finds the culprits who attacked JJ and roughs them up, but Jack decides to resign from the Council.

Chris and Meg's relationship becomes more intimate, but Meg is troubled by reports that Chris helped set fire to a recruitment center. Despite this, Meg and Chris eventually have sex - with Chris revealing afterward that he did indeed lie to Meg about the recruitment center. Meg and Chris eventually break up, and Chris leaves Philadelphia.

Meg and Sam consider the possibility of a romantic relationship, but JJ and Nathan discourage the idea. Meanwhile, Jack and Pete's older brother Ted gets into a serious car accident, putting him on a respirator. After much soul searching, the Pryors decide to disconnect the machine. After returning home from a Rolling Stones concert, Meg finds her ex-boyfriend Chris standing in front of her home. He's just been drafted.

In the season/series finale, Meg and Chris both leave Philadelphia on Chris' motorcycle, with plans for them to live in Berkeley, California and campaign against the war. JJ Pryor applies for and receives a job in aeronautics, assisting in space suit design for future NASA missions to the moon.

Timeline of events in the series

"Past" events

  • c. 1924 - Jack Pryor is born.
  • c. 1925 - Helen Dolan is born.
  • c. September 1945 - Jack Pryor, presumably returning from fighting in World War II, conceives a child with Helen Dolan.
  • c. November 1945 - Jack Pryor and Helen Dolan are married.
  • c. June 1946 - J.J. Pryor is born.
  • c. 1946 - Beth Mason is born.
  • c. 1947 - Sam Walker and Luke Foley are born.
  • c. March 1948 - Roxanne Bojarski is born.
  • c. August 1948 - Meg Pryor is born.
  • c. 1951 - Angela Walker is born.
  • c. 1951 - Patty Pryor is born.
  • c. 1956 - Will Pryor is born.

Events depicted on screen

  • November 1963 - Meg and Roxanne become regular dancers on American Bandstand.
  • June 1964 - JJ and Beth graduate from high school.
  • August 1964 - The Philadelphia riots take place.
  • November 1964- 1964 US Presidential Election between Lyndon Johnson and Barry Goldwater. (It's mentioned that Ted supported Goldwater.)
  • 1965 - Gwen Walker dies.
  • June 1965 - Sam graduates from high school.
  • November 1965 - Northeast Blackout of 1965
  • November 1965 - Beth Mason gives birth to John Pryor III.
  • January 1966- JJ returns home from Vietnam.
  • April 23, 1966 - JJ Pryor and Beth Mason are married.
  • June 1966 - Meg and Roxanne graduate from high school.
  • July 1966 - Ted Pryor dies.

"Future" events

  • June 1968 - Patty's graduation from high school is estimated to take place at this time.
  • June 1974 - Will's graduation from high school is estimated to take place at this time.
  • June 1984 - John Pryor III's graduation from high school is estimated to take place at this time.

Cancellation

On May 16, 2005, NBC announced their fall schedule for the 2005-06 season.[4] Confirming months of speculation (and an unofficial confirmation article on May 1 by Reuters), American Dreams was formally canceled, a victim of low ratings.

Never a strong performer in its Sunday 8:00 p.m. timeslot, the show's third-season ratings dropped 33% from its first season and 13% from its second season. In the third season, the show was regularly beaten in the Sunday night ratings by ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and CBS's Cold Case. On February 2, 2005, NBC reduced the number of third season episodes of American Dreams from 19 to 17. The network also moved the program away from its original Sunday night timeslot to Wednesday nights, airing before The West Wing. This put the show up against CBS's Survivor: Palau and ABC's Lost, and American Dreams could not compete against these popular programs.

As the third season wound down, actors on the show apparently saw the writing on the wall and filmed pilots for new shows to possibly air in the 2005-06 television season. Fans of American Dreams organized a postcard writing campaign to save the show. Fans sent over 5000 supportive e-mails to NBC after the season finale and sent several thousand postcards to the network as well. On May 4, 2005, fans flew an aerial banner over NBC's Burbank studios in support of the show, even as the show's sets were being dismantled at Sunset-Gower Studios, where it was filmed.

It had been reported that American Dreams may have been canceled as early as December 2004, primarily because of the interracial dating issue between Meg and Sam; Jonathan Prince mentioned in a Miami Herald article that he was able to get four additional episodes made by having companies such as Kraft and Nabisco pay for additional episodes in exchange for product placement (Campbell's Soups and Ford also participated in product placement episodes).

Series epilogue

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on April 12, 2005 that in late February, NBC ordered two endings filmed for the season finale.[5] The un-aired ending was a 12 minute segment set on July 20, 1969 (the day Apollo 11 landed on the Moon), with Meg returning home to face her family after a three year absence. NBC opted not to air the 12 minute epilogue when the third season finale aired on March 30, 2005, a month and a half before the official cancellation of the series. TV Guide reported on July 26, 2005 that this epilogue was likely to air in a rerun of the third season finale in August or September, but the airing never materialized. NBC was unable to attract sponsorship for the segment, which reportedly contained many rock and roll oldies, resulting in expensive music licensing fees for the network.[6]

Fourth season plotlines

In interviews, Jonathan Prince revealed that if American Dreams had been renewed for a fourth season, the following plotlines would have been included.[7][8][9]

  • The fourth season would have picked up in January 1967.
  • Meg would have returned to Philadelphia six episodes into the season after JJ goes to California with intentions to take her home.
  • Roxanne would have taken a job as the hairdresser for American Bandstand.
  • Jack would become angry after discovering that Helen had been using her job as a travel agent to help young men dodge the draft and flee to Canada.
  • There would be tension in JJ and Beth's marriage, after Beth reluctantly agreed to JJ's wishes to postpone going back to college.
  • Henry would re-marry and accept a new, deaf stepson into his home.
  • JJ would continue working for the company designing spacesuits for the manned mission to the moon.
  • The Apollo 1 fire would somehow figure into the fourth season plotline.
  • Patty would serve as the Team Manager for the East Catholic football team.

Accuracy

Despite its popularity as a family drama, American Dreams was heavily criticized for its various levels of historical inaccuracy. Several historic events were restaged earlier or later in the show's timeline to fit a plotline, and some of the music and pop culture references do not match up with either historic fact or the show's current timeline. Several arguments between the show's loyal fanbase can be traced to whether the show should be viewed as a chronologically accurate representation of life in 1960s Philadelphia, or is instead an idealized combination of mnemonic images and pop culture references from points throughout the 1960s, much as the film The Wedding Singer was for the 1980s.

Some examples of these disputes include:

  • On American Dreams, a running plotline is the appearance of Meg and Roxanne as dancers on American Bandstand, which still tapes a daily after-school show in Philadelphia; where in real life the show moved to Los Angeles in February 1964 and was only broadcast once a week, on Saturday afternoons (in real life, the studio used for Bandstand was later appropriated by Philadelphia public radio station WHYY).
  • In the pilot episode, Jack makes a reference to Ara Parseghian and Notre Dame. The pilot was set in November 1963 while Parseghian was hired by Notre Dame in December.
  • In the first year, JJ Pryor Jr supposedly attended Lehigh University on a football scholarship in 1963 but joined the Marines when injured to pay for college. As is common at elite academic institutions, Lehigh doesn't have athletic scholarships but gives financial grants in aid instead. Thus he would have still had financial aid even if injured.
  • The Philadelphia 1964 race riot depicted in the first season finale started at night, not in the daytime, as depicted in the show. Television footage of the riots shown on the episode actually came from the Watts riots of 1965 Los Angeles.
  • During the show's first season, the music of several artists, such as the Kinks, Dusty Springfield and Manfred Mann, are heard and referenced in 1963, months before the Beatles' appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show (February 1964) that triggered the musical British Invasion.
  • When the Beatles appear on The Ed Sullivan Show, the scene is set up so that the first song the Beatles play is "I Want to Hold Your Hand", which although it was the Beatles' first American hit, it was not the first song played on Ed Sullivan (that honor goes to "All My Loving").
  • In one episode in the show's third season, set in late November 1965, the East Coast Blackout and the Leonid meteor shower were both "rescheduled" so that they would fall on the same day that Beth Mason gave birth to JJ Pryor's son.
  • In a first-season episode, Meg and Roxanne gush over meeting the group Jay and the Americans, and Roxanne is especially enamored with "Carl, the drummer" (the group neither had a member named Carl, nor a drummer, in real life). Also in real life, there were two lead singers known as "Jay" - Jay Traynor, who sang on their hit "She Cried", and Jay Black, who replaced Traynor for the group's other hits - yet on the episode, it is assumed that there was only one "Jay" who sang all the hits without interruption.
  • In the show's first season, set in November 1963, Meg Pryor and Luke Foley argue over the merits of Bob Dylan, and Luke hands Meg a 45 of Dylan singing "Mr. Tambourine Man." In fact, Dylan did not write or perform the song until 1964, and he never released it on a commercial 45 (it appeared on his "Bringing It All Back Home" album released in early 1965), although the Byrds' rendition of it was a hit single.
  • References are made in the show's second season to I Dream of Jeannie, which was still a year away from premiering. On top of that, "the big band theme song" heard, is the one introduced at the beginning of the show's second season (which was a re-creation of the original theme). It was performed & produced by LA guitarist Rick Fleishman, and it also featured LA session drummer Paul Goldberg. (It's the one most viewers were familiar with in 1966).
  • The Monkees perform on the Bandstand stage in January 1966, despite their television series not even premiering until September 1966, or the four actors playing the Monkees even performing a live concert until a year later.
  • In an episode set in January/February 1965, Nancy Sinatra (Jennifer Love Hewitt) appears on American Bandstand to sing "These Boots are Made for Walking" despite the fact the song was not released until 1966.
  • While working at the space suit company, JJ Pryor meets Gus Grissom, and they discuss the Apollo 1 mission. Grissom later says, "Get me back to Cape Canaveral." In reality, the Apollo 1 mission was not designated by that number or name until after the accident that claimed the lives of Grissom and two other astronauts (at the time the mission was known as Apollo/Saturn 204), and the reference to Cape Canaveral would have been wrong, as the area where the space center was located had been renamed "Cape Kennedy" during the 1960s. While the town was officially renamed back to Cape Canaveral in 1973, the space center was (and still is) known as the Kennedy Space Center, and at least three years had passed since the town was renamed from Cape Canaveral to Cape Kennedy; so although it is not impossible that in a casual conversation Grissom would have used the traditional name, it is still unlikely that this would happen.
  • Artists such as Blake Shelton, John Ondrasik and Joss Stone are allowed to perform their current pop hits, which in real time would have been 40 years away from ever existing.
  • Neither The Who nor Ricky Nelson ever performed on the Bandstand stage in real life (Nelson's father Ozzie refused to allow his performing son to appear on anybody else's TV series, even if such appearance might help increase record sales); but that didn't stop the producers from staging performances by those artists in this series.
  • The Who is shown performing on Bandstand in the show's third season, set in 1965 - 1966. However The Who's first performance in the United States wasn't until the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967.
  • In an episode that is supposedly taking place in the spring of 1965, two customers at the TV store, played by Days of our Lives actors John Aniston and Frances Reid, were watching an episode of Days of our Lives on a TV (Frances was watching herself on an early episode). Days of our Lives did not premiere until November 8, 1965.
  • In an episode purporting to take place in the summer of 1966, a character on "American Bandstand" is asked to rate the Rolling Stones' song "I Can't Get No Satisfaction", despite the song being over a year old.
  • In a late third-season episode, Meg, Roxanne and Luke sit outside Connie Mack Stadium with lawn chairs, listening for free to the Rolling Stones, who are playing a live concert at the stadium. Luke makes a reference that he heard a Bob Dylan concert at Connie Mack Stadium for free this way. Bob Dylan did not play Connie Mack Stadium as an outdoor venue in 1966 or earlier.
  • In another third season episode that takes place in June 1966, the Mamas and Papas appear on American Bandstand to perform "California Dreamin'". However, the Mamas and Papas actual appearance on the show was in February 1966, they did not appear again in June of that year.
  • Characters are often depicted listening to songs long before they were actually released. For example characters are depicted as listening to Cream's I Feel Free and The Spencer Davis Group's Gimme Some Lovin' as early as the summer of 1965, despite neither song being released until late in 1966, after the series had ended.

Special guests

During the show's run, several contemporary artists recreated performances of artists from the 1960s. These recreations were often performed on the American Bandstand stage, although several performances took place at a performing area adjacent to the Vinyl Crocodile record store. In the second and third seasons, several of the recreations took place at The Lair, a coffee house/student union facility on the University of Pennsylvania campus.

The contemporary artists, along with the songs they performed and the artist they "interpreted", are listed below.

Performances on Bandstand

Season One

Season Two

Season Three

Performances at the Vinyl Crocodile

  • India.Arie, as Nina Simone, performing "Come Ye" (Season 1, Episode 15)
  • Keb 'Mo, as Son House, songs performed currently unknown. (Season 1, Episode 12)

Performances at the Lair

Other guest star appearances

DVD Releases

The first season of American Dreams was released on DVD in September 2004. Fans are clamoring for the release of the remaining two seasons, and despite some reports and promises that plans are in the works, as of January 2010, no release dates have been announced. Prince has promised that the series epilogue will appear in the third season DVD release. However, it is widely believed that the huge number of licensed songs on the series make future dvd releases cost prohibitive.[10].On January 26, 2009, it was reported that Prince and other producers from the show were negotiating to get the final two seasons released on dvd, along with including the unaired epilogue. [11].

American Dreams - Season One (Extended Music Edition)
Set details Special features
  • 25 Episodes
  • 7-Disc Set
  • 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
  • English (Dolby 5.1 Surround)
  • Audio Commentaries
  • 250 Rock 'n' Roll Hits
  • Promo Spots
  • Music Video with Stacie Orrico and the Cast
Release date
 United States September 7, 2004

Soundtrack

On May 6, 2003, Hip-O Records released a soundtrack for the first season of American Dreams. The songs on the CD are as follows

Broadcasts

American Dreams was shown for three years on NBC from 2002 to 2005.

Footnotes

External links


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

American Dreams (2002-2005) was a dramatic television series, airing on NBC, about a Philadelphia-area family in the 1960s.

Contents

Season 1

Pilot [1.1]

Roxanne: We studied the Battle of Bull Run and the first six weeks of the Civil War. [Meg looks at her] Good lies are all in the details.

Roxanne: What? You ain't never seen a bra before? Turn around.

Meg: Haven't you ever wanted something so badly it hurt?

The End of the Innocence [1.2]

Michael: [on the phone] Is your friend Meg Pryor there with you? Her mother said that she might be.
Roxanne: [to Meg] He wants you.
Meg: I'm not here.
Roxanne: [back to the phone] She's not here. Can I take a message?
Michael: Yes you can. You can tell Meg that there is no excuse for what she did today. Because for every kid that dances on our show, there are a thousand - no, ten thousand - kids who wish they could.
Roxanne: What did she do?
Michael: What did she do? She walked off the set right in the middle of the show. So you can tell Meg that if she plans on coming back to our show, she better take it a little bit more seriously next time, ok? Even if her best friend didn't get a chance to come back this week.
Roxanne: I'll tell her. And you can count on her to take it very seriously from now on. In fact, I can guarantee that she'll be here next show. Oh, and so will I. Bye, Mike. [hangs up]

Meg: Um I have to leave the show.
Michael: What?
Meg: The only reason I'm on American Bandstand is because my best friend Roxanne Bojarski got us on. So I can't be on the show unless she is too. So if you want her to dance the show, that would be really great, but you have to call her and ask her. Or else I can't be on the show. I just can't. [hands Michael phone number and walks off]

New Frontier [1.3]

Will: So anything could happen.
Helen: That's true.
Will: So someday there might be satellites with bombs and lasers?
Helen: There might be. And there might not be. Anything could happen.
Will: I know, that's what's so scary.
Helen: That's what's so exciting. Come here. Come sit with me. Come up here. It's a big adventure. Like the first time you rode the roller coaster at Willow Grove. You were so excited. Remember what it was like when the car was going up? And you kept asking, "What's it gonna feel like when we go down? How fast are we gonna go?" You were so excited. Because you didn't know what was gonna happen. Well, that's what the future's like. Except there are no tracks. That's what makes it an adventure.

Pryor Knowledge [1.4]

Jack: You can go. But you take the bus...
Meg: I love the bus!
Jack: And you're home by 10.
Meg: 10?
Jack: Ok, 9:45.
Meg: 9:45?
Jack: 9:30. Wanna try for 9?
Meg: Ok, ok. Thank you dad! I'll be home by 10.
Jack: 9:30!

J.J.: Do you ever feel like the whole world has a plan, except nobody told you?
Meg: Yeah. All the time.

Meg: Dad? Um... [starts fake crying]
Jack: Is there something in your eye, Meg?
Meg: No, um...
Jack: Yes you can.

The Fighting Irish [1.5]

Roxanne: [about Jimmy Riley] He doesn't hate you.
Meg: I gave him a black eye!

Soldier Boy [1.6]

Meg: No, it's not me, because you see, Jimmy and me are...
Patty: Jimmy and I.
Meg: Patty, I'm trying to be nice here!
Patty: [sarcastically] Sorry.

Cold Snap [1.7]

Michael: You know what happened to that kid?
Roxanne: What?
Michael: He grew up to be associate producer of the show.
Roxanne: But that's you... oh.
Michael: Except now, that job's already taken. So I better not catch you doing this again.
Roxanne: You won't.
Michael: I won't because...
Roxanne: Because I won't do it again.

Black and White [1.8]

Meg: What are you doing out here? I thought you had a date with Luke.
Roxanne: Nope, you do. Look, the sooner you admit you like him the easier this gets for all of us. So go on in there! He's closing up!

The Home Front [1.9]

Meg: Patty's, uh, recital piece is really coming along.
Luke: One appearance on Pick a Disc and you're a musical expert?
Meg: Rate a Record. And no, I just know when I like something.
Luke: Hmmm, so you're saying you might appreciate good music too?
Meg: If this is about Bob Dylan-
Luke: Bob Dylan happens to be a genius. But this is about you.
Meg: Me?
Luke: Yeah, you, Betty. And uh, you can bring Veronica too if you like.
Meg: Her name is Roxanne. And bring her where?
Luke: Somewhere we play music, not rate it. [walks away]

Luke: You know, this next song is by a guy named Beethoven. And while most people like the melody, I like it because its got a nice beat and heck, I can dance to it. I'd give it an 88.

Luke: Just wait till Saturday night. In the church, better acoustics, packed house. That's when you really want to be here.
Meg: How did you learn to play like that? It's so-
Luke: Meg. In case you missed it, that was an invitation. Unless you have plans, then-
Meg: No. No, no plans. I mean, I was gonna take Will to see The Nutty Professor but that was just because I thought I wasn't doing anything. But it was a thought, it wasn't really a plan. So, um, I'll tell Roxanne. We'd love to.
Luke: Meg, do you think Roxanne would mind?
Meg: Mind what?
Luke: Not coming with you.

Gus: I told you, this British Music ain't never gonna catch on.

Roxanne: I'll just stay here and read the New Testament. I'll work on Matthew, Mark, and John. You can work on...Luke.

Silent Night [1.10]

Patty: Who won best couples?
Luke: What's best couples?
Meg: How did you know about that?
Patty: It was in TeenZine. [to Luke] You can write in and vote for your favorite couples on Bandstand. Who won?
Meg: Um, Jim and Shelley, and David and Kathryn, and me.
Patty: You and Jimmy Riley?
Luke: Who's Jimmy Riley?
Patty: Last year the couples kissed. Are you gonna kiss? You and Jimmy Riley?
Luke: I repeat, who's Jimmy Riley?
Patty: That's Meg's partner on Bandstand. They went on a date once-
Meg: Patty!
Patty: Meg gave him a black eye.
Meg: Who asked you?!
Patty: Actually, Luke did. She didn't mean to hit him. So, are you gonna kiss him?

Roxanne: We were just talking about Christmas.
Michael: Yeah. Peace. Warmth. Joy. STANLEY!
Roxanne: Every year my grandmother goes to visit her sister in Harrisburg, and my mom and I, we get to go to a fancy hotel for dinner and then to midnight mass at St. Peter's.
Michael: Aw, that's nice. Hey, Gus! Gus! Did somebody find Stanley without telling me?
Roxanne: Where do you go? To church, I mean.
Michael: I'm Jewish.
Roxanne: I'm sorry.
Michael: Don't be.
Roxanne: No, I mean I'm sorry I asked. About the church.

I Wanna Hold Your Hand [1.11]

Roxanne: [while Luke and Meg are kissing] Sorry, I know I'm interrupting, but The Ed Sullivan Show starts in three minutes. Priorities.

Roxanne: Can I get anything?
Luke: I'll have a soda. [Roxanne walks to kitchen] Oh, and get one for my girlfriend too. [Everyone stares at them]

Luke: What did you want me to say?
Meg: When?
Luke: At Bandstand.
Meg: Nothing. Did you even?- nothing.
Luke: All right then. [walks away]
Meg: Wait. [Luke turns around] Why did you kiss me? On Christmas Eve? Did you feel sorry for me? Did you think I looked pretty then, and I haven't looked pretty since? Do you ever think about kissing me again?
Luke: All the time.

Dick Clark: And the top 3 songs this week, [Meg and Roxanne mouthing along] All My Loving, She Loves You, and...
Roxanne & Meg: I WANNA HOLD YOUR HAND!

American Bandstand dancers: [huddled around a TV showing the Beatles] Do you think they have girlfriends?

Great Expectations [1.12]

The Pursuit of Happiness [1.13]

Michael: Alyssa got kicked off the show because her skirt was too short, Jeff got caught sneaking into Lesley Gore’s dressing room…
Roxanne: But the grammar’s good, right?
Michael: It’s all lies Roxanne. I don’t know how you could even write this stuff.
Roxanne: I was just trying to spice it up a little bit.

Meg: What if you were doing something other people think is wrong?
Helen: Meg, all of my life, I’ve pretty much done what other people think is right. Maybe, maybe that doesn’t always work out so well. What I mean is, I think we should be able to choose our own friends.
Meg: But maybe some people really shouldn’t be friends…
Helen: I’d take that chance.

Heartache [1.14]

Roxanne: [after Warren finishes his song] Warren, you're going to make a terrible priest. [awkward silence] What you should be is a singer.

Warren: Actually, there’s a song I kind of wrote...for you.
Roxanne: Is the word "easy" in the title?

Jack: [picking up a red cookie] What the hell did you do to these things
Helen: A little red food dye… [Jack looks confused] Valentines Day?
Jack: Hmm… [coughs awkwardly] Of course, in fact I… uh… I have a little something for you. Later.
Helen: Jack…
Jack: No, I do. It's in the car.

False Start [1.15]

Dancer: Get ready, be the water.
Meg: Be the what?
Dancer: Be the water, up here. [Raises Meg’s arms straight up like a shower and dances like he’s taking a shower]
Michael: Is she actually pretending to be a shower?
Gus: My guess is he’s got her being the water.
Michael: Wow.

Roxanne: [referring to Meg] She doesn’t have a mean bone in her body, except when it comes to Patty. But if you met Patty, you’d understand why.

Roxanne: Uh, some of the other columns I’ve been reading in other magazines, well they have little pictures of the journalists in the upper right-hand corner of the page. And I was just thinking that since you have such an attractive journalist…
Michael: Hey, not a snowball's chance in hell. Have a good show, Roxanne.

Act of Contrition [1.16]

Jack: Hey and tonight when the priest comes, all I want to hear from you is “Yes, Father,” and “No, Father.” Nothing else.
Patty: Yes, Father.

Coach Donelly: Eighth grade or seventh?
Patty: Yes, Father.
Coach Donelly: Well which is it?
Patty: No, Father.

Patty: Did Father Conte also tell you that Jesus got out of the fishing boat and walked on top of the water, and touched a blind man’s eyes and made him see?
Sophie: How did you know?
Will: Well didn’t he? Didn’t Jesus do all that stuff?
Sophie: Heal people and all that?
Patty: How could he have healed anybody? They didn’t even have penicillin yet.

Past Imperfect [1.17]

The One [1.18]

Luke: I'm glad I ran into you.
Meg: I live here.

Meg: And all we do is argue. And a lot of the time, I don't even like you. And Jimmy is nice and sweet and he says all the right things at the right time-
Luke: Meg-
Meg: Luke, just let me finish for once! And all we do is fight. And just when I think there's nothing else to fight about, we come up with something more. And, so, we broke up. But ever since then, I just, I can't stop thinking about you. About me and you. Ok now you can talk.
Luke: Me too.
Meg: Me too what?
Luke: All of it. Me too. And I think-
Meg: Wait! Darn it. I wanted to do that whole thing after I did this. [Turns on record to play "Going Out of My Head"]

Where the Boys Are [1.19]

The Carpetbaggers [1.20]

Fear Itself [1.21]

Secrets and Lies [1.22]

Down the Shore [1.23]

High Hopes [1.24]

City on Fire [1.25]

Meg: Wait! My uncle's going to be here soon with a bunch of policemen!
Willie Johnson: The policemen can't stop this, girl. [picks up TV and smashes it]

Cast

External links

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