- Published on Thursday, April 19 2012
- Written by Tallie Johnson
Dick Clark epitomized the Young Hollywood motto: "It's not about age, it's about attitude!"
Before there were TV hosts like Ryan Seacrest, Chris Harrison, and Carson Daly, or TV shows like “American Idol”, “The Voice”, and “X Factor”, there was Dick Clark and the “American Bandstand”.
Dick Clark, the man who pioneered pop culture through his numerous television and radio shows for years, died Wednesday after a massive heart attack in Santa Monica, California. At 82 years old, many people still refer to him as “World’s Oldest Teenager. “
From 1957 to 1987, he hosted the longest running variety show, “American Bandstand”, a dance party that often showcased new dance movies like The Twist. This show also brought music, especially rock and roll, to the masses, and a slew of notables appeared over the years, including Smokey Robinson, Ike and Tina Turner, Stevie Wonder, James Brown, and Talking Heads. This was the predecessor of all of today’s reality competitions. He was on the very pulse of what was the next big thing in both music and television, breaking down racial barriers in a time before the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s.
Here is a clip of Dick Clark on "American Bandstand" interviewing John Travolta about the musical film, Grease:
Dick was a pioneer. He not only hosted shows but produced, creating his own broadcasting empire. He started his own production company, Dick Clark Productions, and produced musical variety shows including ones that starred "Weird" Al Yankovic. He created the American Music Awards back in 1973. Yet everything he did was sincere, heartfelt, and family-oriented. His programs were shows the entire family could watch together. He had a warm feeling of understanding and knowledge that resonated with audiences and guests.
He hosted a popular game show,“Pyramid”, from 1973 to 1988. Players were teamed up with a celebrities and had to guess phrases from their teammates. As professional as Dick was, he also had a tremendous sense of humor. Watch some of these funny clips from when he hosted “Pyramid":
If you watched television on New Year’s Eve, chances are at some point you watched "Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve Special". In many ways, he became the face of ringing in the new year. He always brought on a broad spectrum of music like he did with “American Bandstand".
Check out this clip of the band KISS talking about when they appeared on "Dick Clark’s New Year's Rockin' Eve":
Dick suffered a stroke in December of 2004, which altered his speech abilities. Despite this, he still appeared in his New Year’s Eve show in years that followed, even if in a slightly diminished capacity. Although older, he had the same smile and same charisma that only he could convey.
In recent years, Ryan Seacrest joined Dick on New Year’s Eve to host the show with him. “I am deeply saddened by the loss of my dear friend Dick Clark. He has truly been one of the greatest influences in my life,” Ryan said on his Twitter account.
Dick won a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 21st Annual Daytime Emmy Awards. In his acceptance speech, he talked about how "American Bandstand" changed both him and the country:
Thank you, Dick Clark, you will be missed.
- Tallie Johnson, YH Staff
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