Dick Clark's Accomplishments Impress Younger GenerationMonday, April 23, 2012 By Kaitlin Kumbalek
“America’s Oldest Teenager” Dick Clark passed away on Wednesday, April 18, after suffering a heart attack following a procedure at St. John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California. Anyone who was involved in radio, television or music is sad to see him go, but he will be forever remembered in the entertainment fields he shaped for today. After deciding at age 10 that he wanted to pursue a career in radio, in 1945 Clark got his start in a radio station his uncle owned and his dad managed. Although he began working in the mailroom, he quickly moved through the ranks from filling in for the vacationing weatherman to announcing station breaks. He attended Syracuse University and graduated in 1951 with a degree in advertising and a minor in radio. While attending Syracuse, Clark worked for several smaller radio stations before securing a job as a disc jockey for a radio station in 1952. The radio station’s affiliated television station began broadcasting Bob Horn's Bandstand . Clark frequently substituted for Horn whenever he couldn’t make the show and, after Horn was arrested for drunk driving, became the show’s permanent host in 1956. The show was picked up by ABC, renamed American Bandstand , and debuted nationally with an interview of Elvis Presley . The show was an instant success through a combination of Clark’s natural hosting ability, his charming good looks and connection with the younger audience. He even made parents enjoy the controversial rock ‘n’ roll style of music. The show was soon added to the Saturday night lineup and viewership exceeded 20 million by the end of the year. Clark hosted the show daily Monday through Friday until 1963, then only weekly on Saturdays until 1987. By the time of its cancellation, the show had become the longest running variety show in TV history and was featured in the Guinness Book of World Records for such success. Clark featured all sorts of music on Bandstand including Beach Boys, Tina Turner, Stevie Wonder , Madonna, Simon and Garfunkel and the list goes on and on. Clark’s impact on the success of the artists whose records he played or those who performed was undeniable. The show featured over 10,000 live performances, many of which went on to be initiated into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and can most likely attribute their success to their debut on Clark’s show. He was often referred to as the biggest thing in America at the time and was attributed with legitimizing rock ‘n’ roll. Clark even broke through the color barrier, lifting the show's all-white policy by featuring black artists such as Chuck Berry. Clark then branched out into hosting game shows, starting as the host of The Object Is , Missing Links , and eventually became the first host of $10,000 Pyramid, a popular word association game. Over the years, the show’s name and top prize changed numerous times and several prime time spin-offs were created. Clark would win three Emmy Awards for best game show host before retiring from the show in 1988. Throughout his life, Clark held hosting and announcing positions on shows including The Challengers , Scattergories , W inning Lines , The Dick Clark Show, Dick Clark’s World of Talent, Dick Clark’s LIVE Wednesday, TV’s Bloopers & Practical Jokes, The Jon Stewart Show, The Other Half, and was one of the executive producers of Fox’s Greed and his own American Dreams, Where The Action Is and the American Music Awards . Clark also had short cameos in productions including Perry Mason, Bowling for Columbine, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind , Dharma and Greg , Police Squad , The Simpsons , and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Clark was always very prominent in the radio industry and hosted radio shows including The Dick Clark Radio Show, The Dick Clark National Music Survey, Rock, Roll & Remember and many more. In 1972, Clark produced and hosted what he is probably most known for to the newer generations, Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve , a show that has since been shown every New Year’s Eve. The show has been on air for four decades now and has become the backbone of New Year's Eve celebrations across the nation, the show being referred to as an annual cultural tradition for the New Year's holiday. Clark hosted his New Year’s Rockin’ Eve every year from 1973 up until 2011, only missing one celebration in 2004 when Regis Philbin substituted as host after Clark suffered a stroke which impaired his speech but not his spirit. Clark was back the next year, with Ryan Seacrest serving as the primary host, acknowledging the struggle it had been to regain his normal abilities but also noting that he wouldn’t have missed another New Year’s Rockin’ Eve for the world. Soon after, Clark was introduced by Simon Cowell at the 2006 Emmy Awards after the show paid tribute to his successful career. Clark was also honored for his 40 years hosting American Bandstand during the 37th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards. Clark’s ashes have since been scattered in the Pacific Ocean, which just serves as another reminder of the global sensation he was and will forever be.