A very sad and heartbreaking day for the entertainment industry, as television producer, creator, mogul, and host, Dick Clark has passed away today at the age of 82.
For many, the long-running national institution American Bandstand was the show that is easily remembered the most when the name Dick Clark comes to mind. His contribution to the music world knew no bounds with this series. Not only were many artists who were able to get off the ground with the exposure of a show like Bandstand, but Americans were able to see people of all races come together and have good old dancing fun for an hour every Saturday after cartoons.
I’ve loved game shows for most of my life, and I’ve always been partial to word and category games. Pyramid was my favorite out of the bunch. I grew up watching John Davidson’s and Donny Osmond’s versions in first-run, but I fell in love with Dick Clark’s version of the show when I first saw reruns of it on GSN back in 2003. It was always the game that I had the most fun playing and it was one of the game shows that enhanced my mind the most, either when I play along at home with reruns or with some friends or relatives.
Out of all of the people who hosted the series, Dick was my absolute favorite. He always handled the game with complete and total finesse. He always knew exactly what to say to the celebrities and the contestants when gearing them up for the competition and did a great job of taking control of the atmosphere he was in. When this show wasn’t producing some of the most nerve-wracking 60 seconds of television, there were plenty of laughs with the ways the many people over the years got each other to guess the words and phrases that would show up on screen. Whether it was to calm the players’ nerves before the winner’s circle round started by giving shoulder rubs, taking jabs from quick-witted celebrity guests like Vicki Lawrence, or laughing at his own mistakes that occurred, his contribution to the show always made it entertaining. Not only could he handle hosting the show well, but he could play it well, too, as evidenced by his appearances on the 1970’s nighttime version of the show, hosted by Bill Cullen.
When I wasn’t watching Pyramid on GSN, every New Year’s Eve, I’d watch him count down the seconds to the new year on Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve. I always wondered what it would be like to be in a really happening musical place like Times Square on New Year’s Eve. All the people, all the noise, all the confetti. Whenever I see old clips, he was always up and alert, having fun, no matter how snowy or cold it could get. He still had such vigor even after his stroke in 2004. His voice may have sounded differently after that in these last several specials, but his heart in the show stayed the same as always.
Outside of the Bandstand, Pyramid, and New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, he also co-hosted and produced TV’s Bloopers and Practical Jokes with Ed McMahon, created the American Music Awards, and produced the NBC drama series American Dreams.
Rest in peace to a one of a kind entertainer and human being, or as Dick himself would say, “so long.”