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Dick Clark Dies at 82, Leaves Behind a High-Scoring TV Legacy
April 18, 2012  | By David Bianculli  | 1 comment
 

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Fifty-five years after his American Bandstand pop-music show went national, TV host Dick Clark died Wednesday morning of a heart attack. He was 82. (For another TVWW salute to Dick Clark, see Bill Brioux's TV Feeds My Family column HERE.)

He lived the last eight years of his life recovering from the effects of a massive stroke, but -- except for being replaced by Regis Philbin in 2005 -- determinedly continued to count down the moments to midnight as the ball dropped in Times Square on Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve, a tradition he and ABC had begun in 1972...

To ring in 2012's New Year, ABC prefaced its midnight celebration with a two-hour prime-time New Year's Rockin' Eve 40th Anniversary Special, saluting the many decades of revelry, and musical performances, over which Clark had presided. (The special was hosted by Ryan Seacrest, the presumptive host for 2013 and beyond.)

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Clark's first job as host of a musical, national TV party, of course, began in the 1950s. The Philadelphia local TV dance party show -- in which rock 'n' roll, doo-wop and soul acts performed new songs for gyrating teens who graded their danceability quotient ("I give it a 78!") -- originally was called Bob Horn's Bandstand. Clark was a young substitute host, and had the job permanently by the time ABC launched the series nationwide, as American Bandstand, in 1957.

That program, which predated MTV by a generation, ran 30 years on ABC, and another three in syndication and on cable. Its claims to fame are absurdly long and varied, but are solidified by dropping just two names for which Bandstand provided their first national TV exposure: Chuck Berry and Buddy Holly.

By the time Clark quit hosting the show, in 1989, he already had been doing double duty for 17 years as host of New Year's Rockin' Eve.

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And beginning in 1973, he logged triple duty by hosting the game show $10,000 Pyramid, which flourished for 15 years in daytime and prime-time versions, offering prizes as high as $100,000.

American Bandstand, New Year's Rockin' Eve, Pyramid -- in TV hosting circles, that's one hell of a TV hat trick. And that doesn't include TV's Bloopers & Practical Jokes, another show he co-hosted and produced, through his profitable and prolific Dick Clark Productions.

That NBC program, premiering in 1984, was co-hosted by Ed McMahon, whom Clark had introduced to Johnny Carson. The launch of that show marked the first time I interviewed Clark. On that and subsequent occasions, he always struck me the same way: he was humble about his on-air accomplishments, proud of what he'd done and amassed as a producer, and truly excited about discovering and helping new talent.

His last move in all three regards -- appearing on the 2012 edition of a Dick Clark Productions TV special with his Rockin' Eve protege, Ryan Seacrest -- was typical Dick Clark. He embraced and anointed Seacrest early, seeing in the American Idol host, radio personality and TV producer a kindred soul of entrepreneurial multi-tasking.

In that regard, though, Dick Clark had few peers. I give him an 82.

On the demanding grading scale of American Bandstand, Dick Clark didn't act his age.

Ultimately, he equalled it.

 
 
 
 
 
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1 Comments
 
 
denise
Dick CLARK i MISSED YOU ON nEW yEARS rOCKIN eVE....HE WAS THE BEST THERE EVER WAS
Jan 1, 2013   |  Reply
 
 
 
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