From VoiceofSanDiego.org :
Columnist Michael Grant will never forget.... An excerpt:
That's the way it was in Abilene, Texas, kids living in an adult culture but with a distant suggestion of change. Then came a Friday night in April 1955. For the kids, Friday night was "show night" in Abilene. We went to the 1,000-seat Paramount Theater (admission: 9 cents), the classic Moorish castle courtyard design with night sky overhead complete with stars and clouds. Grade school, junior high and high school kids all sat in their traditional sections that had been staked out years before.
The movie this Friday night was "Blackboard Jungle," starring Glenn Ford and Anne Francis. The kids knew nothing about the movie; they were only there because it was Friday night. First there was the black-and-white newsreel and the cartoon ("Looney Tunes," etc.), and then the ornate red curtain came down, in preamble to the feature. The effect was to set up anticipation, and in fact the crowd became quiet. There were two or three minutes of relative calm. Then:
"One two three o'clock four o'clock ROCK"
Five six seven o'clock eight o'clock ROCK"
Nine ten eleven o'clock twelve o'clock ROCK
"We're gonna ROCK around the CLOCK tonight!"
It was music, loud and urgent, and it thundered on into its first verse -- "When the clock strikes one, join me hon" -- but we all sat, rock-still, stunned, staring at the rising curtain, transfixed by the energy blasting at us from Bill Haley and the Comets. We had heard music like this, coming at us from somewhere else far across the sky. Now we sat in our very own Paramount, with its big speakers and this high-speed music rocketing at us, and for several seconds we were frozen by it. Then we reacted. We jumped up and yelled and the cooler ones got into the aisles and danced. It was a before-and-after moment that no one there would ever forget.
It was the first night in Abilene of a new extension of culture that would become a culture unto itself. The kids who came out of the Paramount that night weren't the same kids who went in. In "Walk the Line," that's what was happening, the other side of the footlights. It changed Johnny Cash's life, and, even equally so, mine. I tell my students today: you really should have been there, at the birth of rock 'n' roll.