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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Rock Around the Clock: 1956

Rock Around the Clock: 1956

April 1956. "Shirtless teenaged boy dancing in the audience at a performance by Bill Haley and the Comets and LaVern Baker at the Sports Arena, Hershey, Pennsylvania." From photos, last seen here, by Ed Feingersh for the Look magazine article "The Great Rock 'n' Roll Controversy." View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

The Cops Were Coming

As an attendee of a few R&R Shows (Bill Haley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Buddy Holly, Fats Domino,Chuck Berry etal) at the Coliseum in Baltimore in the late 50's I can assure you that the cops were heading down the aisle to dampen the youthful enthusiasm.

Fire Safety rules were always cited whenever anyone or couples got into the aisle to do a little bopping.

I hate to think what would have happened if the crowd pulled out lighters and flicked their Bics but that was a few years in the future when R&R Shows became concerts and the great original R&R had left the building. I personally blame the Beatles for that but then the originals were my music and the Beatles were my little brother's music

Crazy kid

All hopped up on goofballs!


For the lack of a shirt, he's dressed very nicely and conservatively just like his 50's contemporaries, even down to his argyle socks. Wonder if he was always a standout and extrovert, but if he's still alive he's pushing 80 by now. Wonder if he'll recognize himself and identify, kind of like the kissers in Time's Square in 1945.


I'm sure the elders of the day saw this image as a sure sign of the Apocalypse.

Wonder where he is today, betting he can't "bust a move" like that anymore.

The use of alcohol

has not been ruled out.


The Hershey Arena still stands today just outside Hershey Park. For many years it was the home of the Hershey Bears hockey team (an AHL team)and open for public ice skating (there's an ice rink under that floor). The Bears moved to a new building nearby in 2002. The Arena is also famously known for being the place where in 1962 Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 points in a game against the New York Knicks. It holds a little over 7,000 seats and judging by the pictures here, Bill Haley pretty well sold them all out.

Mosh Pit of One

That kid doesn't realize he's just a few other music-crazed kids short of inventing the mosh pit.

I love this pic - it's foreshadowing of rock shows of the not-too-distant future. I wonder what those in the audience think about him? Most probably think he's a nut!

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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