“Long dubbed “the world’s oldest teenager” because of his boyish appearance, Clark bridged the rebellious new music scene and traditional show business, and equally comfortable whether chatting about music with Sam Cooke or bantering with Ed McMahon about TV bloopers. He thrived as the founder of Dick Clark Productions, supplying movies, game and music shows, beauty contests and more to TV. Among his credits: “The $25,000 Pyramid,” “TV’s Bloopers and Practical Jokes” and the American Music Awards.
The original “American Bandstand” was one of network TV’s longest-running series as part of ABC’s daytime lineup from 1957 to 1987. It later aired for a year in syndication and briefly on the USA Network. Over the years, it introduced stars ranging from Buddy Holly to Madonna. The show’s status as an American cultural institution was solidified when Clark donated Bandstand’s original podium and backdrop to the Smithsonian Institution.” The Telegraph
“Clark’s clean-cut appearance and strict dress code for “Bandstand” — jackets and ties for boys, skirts and no tight tops for girls — helped make rock ‘n’ roll music acceptable to middle America. He was also daring: His insistence on allowing black couples to dance alongside whites gave U.S. viewers one of the first mainstream images of ethnic diversity.
During the show’s 30-year run on ABC, Clark interviewed more than 10,000 guests and showcased artists from Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis and Chubby Checker to the Doors, Madonna and Prince. He almost single-handedly made stars of Bobby Darin, Connie Francis and Neil Sedaka.” Vancouver Sun
“By the show’s 30th anniversary, almost 600,000 teenagers and 10,000 performers had appeared on the program. Among those to make early national appearances included Buddy Holly, James Brown, Ike and Tina Turner, and Simon and Garfunkel. Dance crazes such as the Twist and the Watusi could be traced to the “Bandstand” studio.” THE WASHINGTON POST
Richard Wagstaff Clark was born November 30, 1929. Growing up during the Great Depression in New York state, he knew what real life was about.
He lost his only brother Bradley during World War II. It would be in radio where the young man Dick would find solace.
However, it would be in Philadelphia where Dick would find a home and a niche in American culture. Taking over the troubled WFIL-TV Bandstand after the ungraceful exit of Bob Horn, Dick proved a very sapient business entrepreneur as the local music program went national on the ABC network. The name was changed to American Bandstand. Eventually the show moved to LA.
Over the years he would oversee such programs as American Music Awards. TV Bloopers and Practical Jokes, Pyramid, Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, American Dreams, and the list continues…
Additional information on Mr. Clark can be found everywhere. My typical question on these types of posts—did Dick live well? Did he embrace life with its various spectrums of diversity and opportunities?
I will close with his own words:
“Before I had my stroke, I was thinking about all of the things I have become involved in over my life — music, comedy, drama, game and talk shows, even reality TV,” he told the audience.
“I now realise that I have accomplished my job and dream, to be in show business. Everybody should be so lucky to have their dreams come true,” he added. THE AUSTRALIAN
G. D. Williams © 2012