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2012-04-18 21:48:42

R.I.P. Dick Clark

R.I.P. Dick Clark

The world's oldest teenager is dead, and we're all a little older.

Like a couple million other 1950s teenagers, I'd rush home from school to tune in "American Bandstand," the TV show where Clark would spin current hit records (sometimes lip-sync'd by the artists) and Philadelphia teenagers would show off their dance moves on screen.

In my bedroom I had a TV. Kind of unusual in those days…only rich families had more than one TV. Mine was a late 1940s model, salvaged from a neighbor's garage. It had a round screen, about 7" in diameter. It'd probably be worth some bucks today. But I never watched those Bandstand dancers. I couldn't – the picture tube on that ancient TV was blown when I got it. However, the sound worked fine, and I soon realized that when I taped the hits off Bandstand on my Ekotape reel-to-reel, the tapes came out better than the ones from our local AM stations. (FM stations never played Top 40 hits in those days).

In the fall of 1957 I began spinning records for the sock hops at my high school, held in the gym on Friday nights after football or basketball games. I'd augment my record collection with songs I'd taped off the radio, and American Bandstand. One Thursday afternoon, I heard Dick Clark say that on the next afternoon's show he'd have a new single by Elvis Presley. With a sock hop scheduled for that evening, I made extra sure to be home for Bandstand the next day, and had the Ekotape running when the show started. Sure enough, Dick played that new single, which turned out to be "Jailhouse Rock."

I headed back to school, connected my Ekotape to the gym's P.A. system, and waited impatiently for the football game to end. About a half hour after the students arrived at the gym, the time seemed just right, and I cued up my precious tape. The opening chords rang out, and when Elvis began to sing, every girl in the gym screamed (probably some of the guys too). EEEEELLLLLL-VIIIIIIS!!!

That moment gave me an amazing feeling of power…a transcendent moment for a kid who'd always been something of a wallflower in school. Right then and there I felt it might be real rewarding to be a disc jockey. It was quite a while before that actually came to pass, but every now and then I look to the sky and thank Elvis – and now Dick Clark – for that moment.

Previous Replies:
2012-04-30 18:17:40
From: Kevin J
Dick Clark
Whiel Dick Clark was not my teenage thing what he did for music allowed that "junk" become mainsteream by showing Moms and especially Dads that there were normal kids listenming to that "stuff". It appears at the least, besides so many New Years memories, we have Dick C;ark to thank for the Doctor.
Thanks for sharing Doc.

2012-04-29 20:07:58
From: Peter

Dick Clark was doing the pyramid shows for a quite long and someone found a pilot episode of the pyramid and the guest celebrities were Mark Anthony and Cleopatra.
2012-04-20 19:59:28
From: Peter

In Aug 1986, I visited LA and saw a live taping of the $25,000 pyramid, Dick Clark freaked out when a contestant during the winners circle bonus round answered the peacock when the someone gave the CBS logo as a clue (category was THING WITH AN EYE). He will be missed by everybody - especially on NEW YEARS EVE.