Thursday, April 19, 2012

Dick Clark 1929-2012

What can you say about the life of Dick Clark?

"American Bandstand" ran for decades.  It was THE destination for pop music, long before MTV.

The "$10,000 Pyramid" came on the scene, on CBS in 1973.  He was just the host.  It wasn't a Dick Clark production.  Clark had the good sense to stay out of the way of the game.  He kept it moving, and he seemed genuinely thrilled when contestants walked away with a lot of money.

And, you can't forget how Dick Clark made it fun to stay home on New Year's Eve.

The New York Times, in its obituary, called Clark a TV emperor, and it ended the piece with this line: “My greatest asset in life,” he said, “was I never lost touch with hot dogs, hamburgers, going to the fair and hanging out at the mall.”

Dick Clark had a sense of what people wanted.  He knew it was "fluff," as he called it, and he wasn't ashamed of it.

Casey Kasem nailed it in an old interview ABC rebroadcast this morning.  Kasem said Clark was a giant, not because he took the spotlight, but rather because he backed out of the spotlight and highlighted the musical talent on his broadcasts.

He had his hands in radio.  Dick Clark was one of the people behind the United Stations radio networks.  There was a countdown show that competed with Casey Kasem for a while.  He also hosted "Dick Clark's Rock, Roll, and Remember."  WARM ran it while I was there in the 80's.  It was music and interviews-- not the same stuff over and over again.  It appeared Clark parachuted in, cut the voice track and went on to something else.  However, it had his name on it, and it was well done.

Dick Clark suffered a stroke in 2004, and after taking a year off, he returned to TV.  His speech was strained.  It was clear he was struggling.  Yet, he had the courage to go before millions.   When you look at Dick Clark's accomplishments, that has to be at the top of the list.

Dick Clark was 82.