The Scene: Legendary Detroit TV dance show

Richard Metzger is the current Boing Boing guest blogger
The Scene, a daily dance show that featured many national and local guests artists as well as many youngsters from the community. The show ran for a record twelve consecutive years from 1975 to 1987 and retired as one the most popular and successful shows in the history of WGPR-TV, Channel 62. The Scene had a strong loyal following of viewers that grew to include city and suburb, white and black, the young and the young at heart. Nat Morris, executive producer and host, provided opportunities for unknown artists, launching many careers that went to national and international fame. The Scene paved the way for all the Detroit local entertainment TV shows that followed and had the impact on Detroit Black television in much the same way that Soul Train and Don Cornelius had on a national level."
Check out these moves: The Scene website Thanks Tara McGinley! UPDATE: Dodongo posted this in the comments, it simply must be seen to be believed!


  1. Richard, Tara, what an amazing find. THis is so sick. I am dying, watching those moves, and listening to those classic proto-house trax. 1982. Jesus.

  2. But wait! The fashions! The fonts! The thrilling but tacky video dissolves! OMG! SO much to love.


    The Phantom Dancer knows that it’s so cold in the D. How the fuck do he sposed to keep peace?

  4. I remember the commercials for this show from when I grew up in the Detroit area (actually across the river in Windsor). Never watched it, mind you, but I’m still feeling a bit of nostalgia over this.

  5. By my preteen years, The Scene had morphed into the New Dance Show. It was required after school viewing. From the dude in the vampire cape to the hot electro tracks, to the weird ass local ads, it was the finest hour of TV I’ve ever seen.
    Luckily someone going by aseagris has been curating a youtube channel of the New Dance Show.

    Of special note were the commericals for the Watts Club Mozambique. Excitic male dancers dressing like Mortal Kombat characters and

  6. Oh yea,
    The scene was The Bomb. Crazy stuff a teen could barely comprehend.
    This was during the heydey of Independent tv stations in Detroit. Channel 62, Channel 50 and Channel 20 had their share of local and regional programning.
    Cleveland’s The Ghoul landed on all three over a 10-15 year period.
    WGPR had it’s own wresting show for a long time. The host wore a tuxedo.
    Channel 50 had the roller derby with the Detroit Thunderbirds.
    How do I remember all this stuff?

  7. By my preteen years, The Scene had morphed into the New Dance Show. It was required after school viewing. From a dancer in a vampire cape to the hot electro tracks, to the weird ass local ads, it was the finest hour of TV I’ve ever seen.
    Luckily someone going by aseagris has been curating a youtube channel of the New Dance Show:

    Of special note were the commercials for the Watts Club Mozambique. It’s stable of exotic male dancers included a Mortal Kombat-themed crew and even a dude who wore a Chucky doll head on his pants:

  8. Oh yeah. I grew up watching this show, still have some VHS gems of it (somewhere).

    Well it’s six o’clock and it’s time to rock
    We rock nonstop ’til seven o’clock
    We don’t stop we don’t stop
    We rock rock rock all around the clock
    I say hip hop hippety hop
    We jam, jam jam on
    Dancers come from all around
    To throw down in this here geektown
    The latest steps and the latest styles
    Pretty faces and pretty smiles
    We’re lookin’ good everybody scream
    ‘Cuz it’s six o’clock and time for The Sceeeene

    Some of the dancers on this show even went ‘big time’ and appeared on some episodes of Soul Train. Good times.

  9. oh great, now this is going to get nuked from youzetube just like that crazy dude dancing to one of the songs on this…

  10. Oh man, the names of those dance groups… Black Magic? Social Lovers? Sudden Impact? The Golden Boy? This is so awesome. I laughed so hard my side actually hurts.

  11. I don’t think a day goes by when I don’t get my NDS fix on Youtube. Thank you, BB, for sharing this with those poor souls who didn’t get to grow up in Detroit.

    Q: Who you wanna see up in the Mix?
    A: I wanna see Tisha, LaRon, and The Count!

    Also, if you’re talking about The Scene or NDS, then you have GOT to include this track:

    In Detroit, it’s always time.

  12. the importance of “the scene” and its follow up “the new dance show” in michigan can not be stated strongly enough. it not only created a forum for detroit dancers to communicate with each other, it brought detroit techno and dance music to the suburbs. in the same way that the electrifying mojo taught us all how to funk, the scene taught us all how to dress and dance. growing up in ann arbor, i was mesmerized by the new dance show and watched it whenever i could. the best part about it though was that, unlike many radio shows and unmarked dj mixes, the new dance show had song listings and it was there that i first learned of artists like cybotron, dbx, dj pierre and others. there are some great stories surrounding both shows, apocryphal or not, that could serve as great fodder for an intrepid documentarian.

  13. Oh yeah.. now you guys are mining my childhood! TV in Detroit back in the day was freaking awesome! Grew up watching the Scene and WGPR Channel 62, the cheapest, low-budget TV channel that’s ever existed! When I would describe what it was like when I was growing up, my friends never believed me!

    Good lord, The Scene and New Dance Show, with it’s kickass techno music and porntastic video!

    I didn’t rediscover my love of electronic music until recently, but this was where I first heard Cybotron and Kraftwerk.

    I always thought it was hilariously contradictory that the Watts Club Mozambique ads, and the ones for the female dancers were just as sleazy, were all on the channel Where Gods Presence Radiates, the supposed meaning of their call letters. When they weren’t running the Scene, cheap movies or the wrestling show they must have shot in the station garage, they were showing gospel and church shows.

    I would probably go back there if it weren’t the only place in the country with a worse job market than SoCal right now.

    My favorite NDS cut: Cyborg Unknown, Year 2001

  14. I was born in 1960 in Detroit. I remember going to Watt’s Club as a white suburban kids in the late 70’s, before they started the male reviews, because it was the place for the blues.

    And The Scene wasn’t a show I was into back then, but it sure does bring back memories of the was Detroit use to be.

  15. Detroit’s contribution to music is far more than just Motown Records. Dance clubs and shows nurtured the Techno genre.

  16. I used to race home every day after school to check out the craziness on the New Dance Show!. I’d never seen humans dance like that! It was all there, sexuality music and dancing.
    I think these shows had a huge influence on the explosion of the techno and electronic scene in the 90’s. Definitely under appreciated at the time. For some more detroit goodness check out the local dance, the “Jit”:

    it goes waay back:

  17. Thank you so much for posting this! What rossindetroit said, for sure. The Scene and The New dance Show played Kraftwerk, Was (Not Was), and certainly opened the door for the Techno explosion here. Falco was actually a guest on the show once – and looked as though he was in heaven already. Natt said he came “…all the way from Vienna, Germany”.

    “Sugar’s sugar, salt’s salt.
    If you didn’t get off, it’s not our fault!”

  18. lol at the Watts Club vid.
    Shoulda wrapped it up right after Joy Ride starts throttling the baby though.

  19. @ #9 Dodongo – So that is what Koko B. Ware did after he quit wrestling. actually, come to think of it, most of those names sound like they could be Pro-Wrestlers or Wrestling Tag teams.

  20. Far out. Okay, now listen, I got it. Detroit becomes world class dance mecca, redevelopment money floods in to create dance studios/schools. Modern dance artists the world over flock to buy the 100 dollar houses and a new “dance city” is born. Armies of dancers line up to create music/dance movies that prove to be incredible international blockbusters and this thriving industry uplifts the entire region. Are you with me?

  21. These guys are nothin’. I’ve had a few of my own dance squads over the years that blew these squads away. These squads included:

    Body Count
    Fallopian Crush
    Pube Throat
    Lethal Injection
    Got Scoliosis? Want it?
    Testicular Impact
    The Bjorn Borg Collective
    Ovarian Riot
    Dr. Kegle
    Grease Hand!
    Sensual Dissertation
    Molesting Chucky
    Lethal Injection II: The Audit

    Good times.

  22. Echoing #28, maybe this is the way for Detroit to come back. Music is part of Detroit identity too just like cars are. So maybe the city needs to capitalize on this for an artistic revival.

  23. #28, I’m feelin’ ya. Watching these vids, which I am LOFFING, I started thinking about The Sonic Memorial Project of the World Trade Center. Whatever happens to Detroit, these delectable nuggets of Detroitana can be archived, preserved and remembered in one place in the Interwebs. Detroit can become the world’s first virtual city! I don’t know what exactly could come of that, but it can’t be any worse that what Detroit is facing now.

  24. I remember seeing the Bangles and Falco on here before format changed.I wish someone could remember that Bangles song.

  25. @#28

    Actually, the Detroit Electronic Music Festival, also known as Movement, happens every Memorial Day Weekend in Hart Plaza. Between the pre-parties, after-parties, day parties, and the actual festival, there are over 72 straight hours of techno. Enjoy.

  26. There’s nothing like the real Detroit electro! None of that bullshit electroclash garbage for me. Love that electro AC/DC Zappa mash-up in the second clip!

  27. Dear Boing Boing,

    Can we keep him? Can we can we can we?

    Good music writing is alive and well and living on the Boing Boing…

    It’s cool to know my boyfriend and I aren’t the only ones with fond memories of the New Dance Show.

    And yay to whoever posted the bit on Jitting. I don’t think anyone in the national press has ever covered that particular bit of Detroit dance culture.

  28. I totally remember coming home from school, doing my homework, watching the 4 o-clock movie, then after watching the 4 o-clock movie that consists of the “Planet of the Apes” for a week, Godzilla, & so on & so on. But afterwards, it was a joy to watch “The Scene”, with the heart of the community dancers, who by far, was the most creative dancers in the Detroit Metro area. It was a sense of relieving egos, personalities, etc. The music wasn’t about who was the top DJ’s, dancers, promoters, like it is today. It was about creativity, by far. There were no gun fights, shootings etc., but if you could not dance, that was the competition, the dance offs, & being able to be on the dance show & do your creativity, instead of being your creativity.


  30. I was once a guest on the scene with rapper Robert S< I was his dj in the back with a white adidas jacket

  31. im looking for informatin from when ray charles played there with th raeletts. i have a flyer but the only dates on it is june 17-22 but no year. does anyone no what year it was ?

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