Arthur Ellison, host of popular tv music show Jump Time, has passed away

The show aired on WCSC and featured a live audience dancing to R&B hits of the 60′s and 70′s.
"Jump Time" was created and hosted by Charleston native Arthur Ellison and the show was patterned after Dick Clark’s “American Bandstand.”
Published: Aug. 14, 2022 at 10:55 AM EDT|Updated: Aug. 14, 2022 at 4:08 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Long before Don Cornelius took us for a funky ride on “Soul Train,” a local program on Channel 5 showcased black artists and their music. That show was called “Jump Time.” It was created and hosted by Charleston native Arthur Ellison. The show was patterned after Dick Clark’s “American Bandstand.”

“Teenagers would come on the set and dance, there would be a live interview, and entertainment,” Ellison’s daughter, Dawn Ellison Kendrick said.

“Whatever was the number one R&B hit back in the day, he would actually play that during the show, people would be from all over. He had about 50 - 60 people in the studio dancing to the music,” State Rep. Wendell Gilliard said.

The show turned Ellison into a homegrown celebrity.

“It had become so popular that just walking down the street with him, people would stop and ask him for an autograph, that’s just how popular it was,” Kendrick said.

Unfortunately, there is no footage, but Ellison started hosting “Jump Time” on Channel 5 WCSC in 1960 on Saturday afternoons.

“Marvin Gaye, and Tammy Terrell, some celebrities were actually on the show, James Brown and Sam Cooke,” Kendrick said.

“He had the same process and the method he used to follow every Saturday he used to come on, everybody would gather around the tv sets and they would be sitting in the living room, I don’t care where you live,” Gilliard said.

Gilliard watched as a kid when the show was broadcast live from the original Channel 5 studio downtown on East Bay Street. He says Ellison was an inspiring force in the black community.

“‘Do bigger things than what we are,’ those are the words he used to always tell us before we used to go on. That you have to think bigger than what you are,” Gilliard said.

Although polished and confident in public, Kendrick says privately, her dad was soft spoken.

“He was a big kid in our household. I had three brothers and he played with them and he took us to the park. And my father, I have never heard my father raise his voice ever,” Kendrick said

Ellison was living in Atlanta when he died July 31 at the age of 94.

“I think my dad was a good role model, he was an icon. And he showed the black community that they can do and be whatever they wanted to be,” Kendrick said.

Ellison created three shows in all, but all of them went off the air in 1971.

He graduated high school from Avery Normal Institute and is a graduate of South Carolina State College in Orangeburg.

Before starting Jump Time, he was a decorated war veteran and later became a businessman.

He received the Silver Star and Bronze Medals, as well as Purple Heart for injuries he suffered during service in the Army. His remains have been cremated. He will receive a military service on August 29 in Atlanta.

You may read his obituary by clicking the link.

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