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Dick Clark

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Guests include Dick’s parents, Richard and Julia Clark from Utica, New York. Dick’s father discusses the death of Dick’s older brother, Brad Clark, in World War II. Attorney Andy Grass from Mt. Vernon, New York talks about an old Green Hornet sedan that he and Dick used to drive around town in to pick up records. Grass also reveals that Dick met his wife (at that time), Barbara Mallery Clark, on a double date. Barbara was actually Grasses date.

Friend David Seville, creator of “The Chipmunk Song,” which had sold four million copies at that time. Next is the former station manager of Philadelphia based WFIL TV, Roger Clipp, who had Dick auditioned the same day he went in for an interview. Clipp was very impressed with the young Clark and hired him. The origins of “American Bandstand” and “The Dick Clark Show” are discussed Celebrity guests include Frankie Avalon, Andy Williams, Fabian and Connie Francis all of whom pay tribute to Clark.  This video brought to you by hwy61media. Please take a moment to rate this video and add your comments.  You can see all of my videos at:

Richard Wagstaff “Dick” Clark in(November 30, 1929 – April 18, 2012) was an American radio and television personality, best known for hosting American television’s longest-running variety show, American Bandstand, from 1957 to 1987. He also hosted the game show Pyramid and Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, which transmitted Times Square‘s New Year’s Eve celebrations worldwide.

As host of American Bandstand, with his strong communication skills, Clark was a “primary force in legitimizing rock and roll,” not only to teenagers, but also to America’s adult population. The show gave many new music artists their first exposure to national audiences, including Ike and Tina TurnerSmokey Robinson and the MiraclesStevie WonderTalking Heads and Simon & Garfunkel. His shows were among the first where blacks and whites performed on the same stage and the live audience seating was desegregated. Singer Paul Anka claimed that Bandstand was responsible for creating a “youth culture.” Due to his youthful appearance, Clark was often referred to as “America’s oldest teenager.”

As a successful businessperson,  he served as chairman and chief executive officer of Dick Clark Productions, part of which he sold off in his later years. He also founded the American Bandstand Diner, a restaurant chain modeled after the Hard Rock Cafe. In 1973, he created and produced the annual American Music Awards show, similar to the Grammy Awards.

Clark suffered a massive stroke in December 2004.   With speech ability still impaired, Clark returned to his New Year’s Rockin’ Eve show on December 31, 2005/January 1, 2006. Subsequently, he appeared at the Emmy Awards on August 27, 2006, and everyNew Year’s Rockin’ Eve show through the 2011/2012 show. Clark died on April 18, 2012, after suffering a heart attack following a medical procedure.

In 1952, Clark moved to Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia, where he took a job as a disc jockey at radio station WFIL, adopting the Dick Clark handle.   WFIL had an affiliated television station (now WPVI) with the same call sign which began broadcasting a show called Bob Horn‘s Bandstand in 1952. Clark was responsible for a similar program on the company’s radio station, and served as a regular substitute host when Horn went on vacation.   In 1956, Horn was arrested for drunk driving and subsequently dismissed.   On July 9, 1956, Clark became the show’s permanent host.

Clark with audience during a 1957 show

Bandstand was picked up by the ABC television network, renamed American Bandstand, and debuted nationally on August 5, 1957 with a Clark interview of Elvis Presley.   The show took off, due both to Clark’s natural rapport with the live teenage audience and dancing participants and the non-threatening image he projected to television audiences, including many parents being introduced to rock and roll music. According to Hollywood producer Michael Uslan, “he was able to use his unparalleled communication skills to present rock ‘n roll in a way that was palatable to parents.”

In 1958, the show was added to ABC’s Saturday night line up.   By the end of year, viewership exceeded 20 million, and featured artists were “virtually guaranteed” large sales boosts after appearing.   In a surprise television tribute to Clark in 1959 on This Is Your Life, host Ralph Edwards called him “America’s youngest starmaker,” and estimated the show had an audience of 50 million.

Clark moved the show from Philadelphia to Los Angeles in 1964.   The move was related to the popularity of new “surf” groups based in Southern California, including The Beach Boys and Jan and Dean. The show ran daily Monday through Friday until 1963, then weekly on Saturdays until 1987. Bandstand was briefly revived in 1989, with Clark again serving as host. By the time of its cancellation, the show had become longest running variety show in TV history.

In the 1960s, the show’s emphasis changed from merely playing records to including live performers. During this period, many of the leading rock groups of the 1960s had their first exposure to nationwide audiences. A few of the many artists introduced were Ike and Tina TurnerSmokey Robinson and the MiraclesStevie Wonder, the Talking HeadsSimon and GarfunkelJerry Lee LewisBuddy HollyJohnny CashSam CookeFats Domino and Chubby Checker.

Radio programs

Clark also had a long stint as a top-40 radio countdown show host. He began in 1963, hosting a radio program called The Dick Clark Radio Show. It was produced by Mars Broadcasting of Stamford. Despite his enormous popularity on American Bandstand, the show was only picked up by a few dozen stations and lasted less than a year.

Photo of Clark in 1963. His ABC radio show was called “Dick Clark Reports”.

On March 25, 1972, Clark hosted American Top 40, filling in for Casey Kasem.   In 1981, he created The Dick Clark National Music Survey for the Mutual Broadcasting System.   The program counted down the Top 30 contemporary hits of the week in direct competition with American Top 40. Clark left Mutual in 1986, and Charlie Tuna took over the National Music Survey.   Clark then launched his own radio syndication group; the United Stations Radio Network, or Unistar, and took over the countdown program, “Countdown America”. It ran until 1994, when Clark sold Unistar to Westwood One Radio. The following year, Clark started over, building a new version of the USRN and a new countdown show: “The U.S. Music Survey”. He served as its host until his 2004 stroke.

Dick Clark’s longest running radio show began on February 14, 1982. “Rock, Roll & Remember” was a four hour oldies show named after Clark’s 1976 autobiography. The first year, it was hosted by veteran Los Angeles disc jockey Gene Weed. Then in 1983 voice over talent Mark Elliot co-hosted with Clark. By 1985, Clark hosted the entire show. Pam Miller served as producer. Each week, Clark would profile a different artist from the Rock and Roll era. He would also count down the top four songs that week from a certain year in the 1950s, 1960s or early 1970s. The show ended production when Clark suffered his 2004 stroke. However, re-runs continue to air in syndication and on Clark’s website “”

Beginning in 2009, Clark merged elements of “Rock, Roll and Remember” with the syndicated oldies show, “Rewind with Gary Bryan”. The new show was called “Dick Clark Presents Rewind with Gary Bryan”. Bryan, a Los Angeles radio personality, serves as the main host. Clark contributed profile segments.


Clark backstage at the 1990 Grammy Awards

During an interview on Larry King Live in April 2004, Clark revealed that he had Type 2 diabetes.

On December 8 2004, the then 75-year-old was hospitalized in Los Angeles after suffering what was initially termed a minor stroke. Clark’s spokeswoman, Amy Streibel, said that he was hospitalized but was expected to be fine. However, on December 13, 2004, it was announced that Clark would be unable to host his annual New Year’s Rockin’ Eve broadcast.   Clark returned to the series the following year, but the dysarthria that resulted from the stroke rendered him unable to speak clearly for the remainder of his life.


On April 18, 2012, Clark died after suffering a heart attack following surgery to fix an enlarged prostate, a transurethral resection of the prostate, at Saint John’s Health Center and the Pacific Urology Institute in Santa Monica, California.   Clark’s family did not immediately decide on whether there would be a public memorial service, but stated “there will be no funeral.”  Clark was cremated on April 20, and his ashes were scattered in the Pacific Ocean.

Following Clark’s death, U.S. President Barack Obama praised Clark’s career: “With American Bandstand, he introduced decades’ worth of viewers to the music of our times. He reshaped the television landscape forever as a creative and innovative producer. And, of course, for 40 years, we welcomed him into our homes to ring in the New Year.”

Motown founder Berry Gordy and singer Diana Ross spoke of Clark’s impact on the recording industry: “Dick was always there for me and Motown, even before there was a Motown. He was an entrepreneur, a visionary and a major force in changing pop culture and ultimately influencing integration,” Gordy said. “I will always appreciate what he did for me and for popular music. He presented Motown and the Supremes on tour with the “Caravan of Stars” and on American Bandstand, where I got my start. Dick Clark was a pioneer, he was a music star maker, he was a legend and was my friend,” Ross said.

Ryan Seacrest, who began hosting New Year’s Rockin’ Eve after Clark suffered a stroke, paid tribute to Clark on American Idol,  which, along with Game Show Network, broadcast tributes to Clark during the week of April 22-28.
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