As most of us know by now, “The World’s Oldest Teenager”, Dick Clark died on April 18, 2012 after suffering a heart attack. For most of us, Dick Clark was already an American institution by the time we were born. But, he was at a high point in the ’80s as he hosted three different television shows, on three different majpr networks, simultaneously – American Bandstand on ABC, The $25,000 Pyramid on CBS, and TV’s Bloopers & Practical Jokes on NBC. So, let’s take a look back at some of Dick Clark’s shows:
Talk about starting at the bottom! Dick Clark’s iconic career began by working in the mail room of an AM radio station in Rome, New York, that was owned by his uncle and managed by his father.
Clark moved to Philadelphia in 1952 where he took a job as a disc jockey at radio station WFIL. WFIL’s affiliated television station began broadcasting a show called Bob Horn’s Bandstand in 1952. Dick Clark would fill in as host when Bob Horn was on vacation. In 1956, Horn was arrested for drunk driving, and Clark took over as permanent host. In 1957, ABC picked up the show, and renamed it American Bandstand. The show’s popularity took off, in no small part due to Dick Clark’s rapport with the teenagers, as well as his ability to introduce rock music to parents in a non-threatening way.
The show was so popular that it lasted all the way through 1989.
Not only did Dick Clark host American Bandstand, but he also became the host of The $10,000 Pyramid game show in 1973. On January 19, 1976, the show increased its top prize and was renamed The $20,000 Pyramid. However, ratings later began to slide, and ABC canceled the show on June 27, 1980.
However, the show made a comeback as The $25,000 Pyramid, returning on CBS in 1982, once again hosted by Dick Clark. The show ran until 1987. The show that replaced it, Blackout, did not last very long, and The $25,000 Pyramid came back again, until 1988, when it was replaced by the Ray Combs hosted Family Feud.
Before Dick Clark, the New Year’s Eve shows were hosted by bandleader Guy Lombardo. Guy Lombardo’s specials were more for the older crowd, playing big band music. In 1972, Dick Clark produced his first New Year’s Eve broadcast for NBC. The special, Three Dog Night’s Year’s Rockin’ Eve 1973. It was hosted by the members of the rock band Three Dog Night, and also featured performances by Blood, Sweat & Tears, Helen Reddy and Al Green. The second special, New Year’s Rockin’ Eve 1974, also on NBC, was hosted by comedian George Carlin and featured musical performances by The Pointer Sisters, Billy Preston, Linda Ronstadt and Tower Of Power.
The following year, the program moved to ABC, and Clark assumed hosting duties. Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve then became a tradition.
He hosted the special every year, until, sadly, he had a stroke on December 6, 2004. Regis Philbin filled in at the last minute. In August 2005, ABC announced that Dick Clark would return to the show for its 2006 edition, joined by a new co-host, radio personality and American Idol host Ryan Seacrest. Dick Clark would continue to make small appearances on the show. But, he was not the same person we grew up with. Let’s Return an ’80s New Year’s Eve memory with Dick Clark:
Before Punk’d, we had the far superior TV’s Bloopers & Practical Jokes. The show was created out of two separate series of specials. One was TV’s Censored Bloopers, which started in 1982, and was hosted by Dick Clark. It showed television and film bloopers. The other show was Television’s Greatest Commercials specials, also started in 1982, and hosted by Johnny Carson sidekick, Ed McMahon. Both series always got high ratings, so in the fall of 1984 it was decided to combine the two programs into one series, hosted by Clark and McMahon. Besides dividing the show between bloopers and classic TV advertisements of yesteryear, the show also featured at least two practical joke segments per episode, featuring celebrities caught in Candid Camera-like situations. The weekly series ended in 1986, but occasionally there would be specials aired on-and-off by NBC until as late as 1998. And then the specials would air on ABC up until 2004, when Clark suffered his stroke.
So let’s Return to the ’80s, and check out a little bit of TV’s Bloopers & Practical Jokes:
Dick Clark said, “Music is the soundtrack of your life.” If that is the case then Dick Clark was our D.J. You will be missed. Rest in Peace.
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