18 April 2012

Dick Clark–The Eternal Teenager Now a Teen Angel

Dick Clark in 2002 (age 73)

Dick Clark, a fixture of American popular culture for over six decades, died of a heart attack at age 82 following surgery. Clark was the host of American Bandstand from 1956 to 1989, versions of the network TV Game Show Pyramid from 1973-1988, as well as hosting Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve for 33 consecutive years.  Clark was know as the “World’s Oldest Teenager” as he kept from aging until he suffered a stroke in December 2004, which caused notable verbal and physical challenges.

While people will to fix our attention to Dick Clark’s perennial presence in front of the camera, it is worth considering how Clark was a shrewd an innovated businessman.  Clark owned an KGUC-FM in Santa Barbara during the 1960s and was the principal in pro broadcaster operator on KPRO in Riverside, California from 1962 to 1982. Clark produced American Bandstand from 1957 onwards. Amongst other shows, Clark produced: TV Bloopers and Practical Jokes, So You Think You Can Dance, the American Music Awards, the Academy of Country Music Awards, the Golden Globes Awards and, of course, Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve.  Clark sold the production company in 2007 to Daniel Snyder for $175 million.

Clark began producing a rock and roll oriented New Year’s Eve Program in 1973 to compete with Guy Lombardo’s stodgy celebration.  But in the first year on NBC, the pre-recorded celebration was hosted by Three Dog Night. The second year’s Rockin New Years Eve was hosted by George Carlin, before Clark took over hosting and was broadcast ABC.

While Clark missed the New Year’s Eve 2005 due to his stroke, he reported ready for duty the next year.  Some viewers cringed because of his post stroke slurred speech, as they thought that it was not telegenic or they missed the myth of the eternal teenager. 

C- Dick Clark in 2009 (aged 79) 
 But New Year’s Eve is all about traditions, nostalgia with a side of hope.  Since Clark owned the production and had established himself, he could choose to do the countdown to midnight.  Although it did not sound like the Clark of before, I was struck that it was Clark’s ebullient enthusiasm that made Clark beloved as “the World’s Oldest Teenager”. May his good spirit be co-hosting at the Pearly Gates.

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