AMERICAN HOT WAX Carrollton 6, K-B Bethesda, K-B Cerberus, K-B Langley, Roth's Americana and State.

Rock'n'roll may well be dead, but for a while it lived, and the music in the film "American Hot Wax" is what it was once all about. The Coasters, the Drifters, Jackie Wilson. Bill Haley and the Comets. Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs, Jerry Lee Lewis. Chuck Berry.

Oh, you poor, culturally deprived punk lovers of '78 - you were born after rock'n'roll was christened by those of us who can no longer be trusted. We were cool, jive, wore ductails, ate greasy fries. Hey, Daddy-O, it was health food, and "bad" meant just that.

Midwives to the era were DJs like Alan Freed. He made WINS the center of New York's pop music dial; his plug turned acts into hot wax. Freed converted white souls to the black sound. Rhythm and Blues became rock'n'roll, an NAACP plot, some believed, to subvert white Southerm youth.

Unfortunately, "American Hot Wax" miserably fails to capture such rich cultural roots. The film is a nostalgic fiasco - wonderful music in search of a vehicle.

Directed by Floyd Mutrux from an impoverished screenplay by John Kaye, the film is frenetic, the music ever-present. Cardboard characters grasp at pretentious lines.

Teenager: "Thank you for bringing me rock'n'roll, Mr. Freed. Before, my life was nothing."

Freed: "Mine was nothing, either."

As for plot - well, it's 1959 and Alan Freed (Tim McIntire) aims to stage a rock concert. Street-corner groups like the fictitious Chesterfields and teen composers like Louise (Laraine Newman of NBC's "Saturday Night, Live") seek his ear. And brief appearances by Chuck Berry and Jerry Lee Lewis - both wrinkled but hardly ready for the Smithsonian - demonstrate how long ago it all began. It's enough to make some of us misty.

"American Hot Wax" certainly opens the scrapbook, but what's on the page depends solely on how the music evokes personal reminiscene. If you want to revisit Memory Lane, you'd do just as well priming a juke box of oldies. Shoo-be-do-do-waaaaaaaa