Iconic television host remembered by iReporters
Friend and colleague Paul Revere talks about meeting Clark at NBC shoot
"Bandstand" was an afternoon television staple
From his early days as one of the first faces familiar to television audiences in the 1950s, as host of “American Bandstand,” Dick Clark was a constant.
He wasn’t just a major force in television, but in the music industry as well, up until his death on Wednesday at the age of 82.
So it’s no wonder that iReports flooded in from those who worked closely with Dick Clark, as well as those who only knew him as a friend who came into their living rooms, whether it be each week or only each New Year’s “Rockin’” Eve.
Dick Clark was involved with so much, from various award shows, to the popular “Pyramid” Game show, to “TV’s Bloopers and Practical Jokes,” that only focusing on one reason he was so loved by so many just isn’t enough. Even three reasons doesn’t cover it.
So here are ten reasons – counting down, like he did to the new year – why iReporters loved Dick Clark:
10. He was humble
Sioux Falcone worked with Dick Clark in the 1980s. She well recalls him wearing a name tag to his own holiday party.
“I was watching CNN and my son asked who the man on television was and I told him ‘actually he was my boss.’ And my son didn’t believe me. So I pulled out this photo yesterday and here he was wearing a name tag. I thought it was really endearing.”
She also said that her fondest memory of Dick Clark was when he gave her his first desk after he moved to the west coast for ‘American Bandstand.’ She inquired about the piece of furniture with the office manager and a few days later Clark was at here desk.
“He said, ‘I heard you want my desk,’ and I said I would pay, but he said I didn’t have to pay for it,” she said. “He helped me load his antique desk into my car,” she said. “He would show random acts of kindness like that.’”
Maxine Porter, the legal steward for the late Bill Pinkney of the R&B/soul group, the Drifters, put it this way: “What artist of color didn’t have some association with Dick Clark over the years?”
Clark is widely credited with integrating his audience on “American Bandstand” and, according to Porter, Pinkney was one of those musical artists of color who credited Clark with their start.
“The first comment I heard him make about Dick Clark was, ‘You know, we were one of the first black acts, if not the first, on his show in Philadelphia before he went national,” she said.
“As a little girl, watching television in Mississippi, I was not exposed to blacks in any positions of power or affluence,” said iReporter Elnora Fondren Palmtag of Clarksdale, Mississippi.
“Dick Clark was an inspiration when he fought for the integration of his show, first for the performers on his show and later adding dancers of different races. I know he helped to launch the careers of some great black performers, but you may not see the impact he had on the poor underprivileged children of the ghettos around the country who did not know that they could be more than what they could see around them.”
Mark Jensen from Branson, Missouri, was one of many loyal viewers of “American Bandstand.”
“I watched the show every weekend, and because of the show, I heard music that I normally wouldn’t have because I couldn’t afford to buy records or a radio.”
Jensen was inspired by “Bandstand:” the now singer/songwriter also goes by the stage name of Mark Catron.
Every afternoon, Janie Lambert from Hughesville, Maryland would switch on American Bandstand at home, and dance to Chubby Checker, learning to do “the Twist” and “the Limbo.”
“I will never forget March 1967 when the Beatle’s Strawberry Fields and Penny Lane were debuted on ‘American Bandstand.’ The Beatles new look and sound was eerie, strange, a little frightening but oh so very exciting. This was a big change for the music industry.”
Lambert described “Bandstand” as “the part of my day that I looked most forward to,’ she said. “No one can take his place.”
Paul Revere is a member of Paul Revere and the Raiders, who hit it big in the 1960s. He worked with Dick Clark for several years and describes Clark as being a wonderful and close friend. Revere describes one of his fondest memories with Clark when he and his band were at a shoot for the ‘60s NBC show, “Where the Action Is.”
“He’s my guy. We saw each other six weeks ago, and I can’t even believe he is gone.” He said his heart sunk when he heard the news of Clark’s passing. “When you get older you want to spend time with the people you are close to, and you keep putting things off because you always think you are going to have another day.”
He said he is really glad he had the chance to see Clark six weeks ago.
“You need to always tell your friends how much they mean to you,” he said. “That is what I learned from this situation… I gave him a hug and told him everything I have and everything I am I owe to him.”
Kathi Cordsen remembered thinking about how ageless Dick Clark seemed on television when she tuned in to watch his show. Her fondest memory of Clark was when she would throw dance parties at her house with her neighbor friends while they watched “American Bandstand” in the afternoon.
“I remember always thinking how Dick Clark never seemed to age from year to year and I wondered how he did that. Good living and being a good person, that must have been what it was.”
When Karen Folkes was a teenager, she was living in Minnesota, but she was travelling to Hollywood to dance on Dick Clark’s show. Her brother, who lived in California at the time, managed to get her and her friend passes to “American Bandstand.”
She found herself in Clark’s office with his now wife, Kary Wigton, who was also from Minnesota. Clark and Wigton told Folkes she could come by the show whenever she wanted. During the 1970’s Folkes danced on the show 32 times.
Dancers still have Dick Clark to thank, as he produced the Fox television series “So You Think You Can Dance.”
Paul Martin was a British DJ living in America during the 1960s “British invasion,” and looked up to Clark.
“Some entertainers are trained in broadcast schools, some get lucky and just land a broadcast job on the spur of the moment, others get there because of who rather than what they know and the right connections, etc.,” said Martin, now living in Beverly Hills, California. “But Clark made it to the top of his profession because he was the right guy at the right time on the right show and America and the world’s most popular television music program!”
Steven Leuck, a contractor in Eugene, Oregon, worked for Clark in his New York City home in the mid-1980s. Having grown up on “Bandstand,” he was “thrilled” to work for him.
“Mr. Clark called me at home and told me personally how much he appreciated the extra time and work it took to get [his] specialty lighting purchased, delivered and installed on time,” he said. “He gave me his home phone number and told me that if I should ever need anything that he could do for me that I should never hesitate to call on him. I have worked with many celebrities over the years but he was far and away the kindest, most thoughtful gentleman of all the celebrities I have ever met or had the pleasure to work with.”
Maggie Kortchmar, back when she was known as Maggie Lee, had a song played on “American Bandstand” in the 1980s.
“He said my name so sweetly: he was thoughtful, and concerned with the kids saying it was okay.”
Unfortunately, the record got a lukewarm response, but “Dick Clark looked right into the camera, and told me he liked it and for me to keep plugging. A very generous, kind man.”