World’s Oldest Living Teenager

By: sonofabeach96

Nov 30 2015

Category: Uncategorized


On this date, in 1929, Richard Augustus Wagstaff Clark Jr. was born in Mount Vernon, NY.  Of course, he is more known as Dick Clark.  He was a pioneer of rock and roll as the host of American Bandstand, but was also a radio personality, game show host, TV personality, and long time host of Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Years Eve.

His career began at WRUN in Rome, NY.  While at Syracuse University, he worked at WOLF, a country music station.  After graduating, he worked for WKTV in Utica, NY, eventually hosting a show called Cactus Dick and the Santa Fe Riders, a country music show, and also became a newscaster.

In 1952, he moved to Drexel Hill, PA, a Philadelphia suburb, to begin work at WFIL as a DJ.  The radio station was affiliated with a TV station by the same call letters.  That TV station began broadcasting a show called Bob Horn’s Bandstand.  Clark hosted a similar show on the radio station but would fill in on the TV version when Horn was on vacation.  In 1956, Horn was arrested for DUI and subsequently fired.  Clark took over the TV show on July 9, 1956.  The show was picked up by ABC on August 5, 1957 and renamed American Bandstand.  The show was moved to Los Angeles in 1964.  It originally aired Mon-Fri though 1963 but became a Saturday staple in 1964.

During the 1960’s the show changed from just playing records to having live performances.  Clark cultivated an image of ” star maker” by introducing countless acts to American audiences.  Artists such as Chubby Checker, Ike and Tina Turner, Fats Domino, Buddy Holly, The Beach Boys, Stevie Wonder, Sam Cooke, Simon and Garfunkel, Smokey Robinson, and Jerry Lee Lewis, to name a few, all made their TV debuts on Bandstand.  Artists appearing on the show were nearly guaranteed increased notoriety and sales afterwards, with estimates of viewership at roughly 50 million during the ’60’s.

All told, there were over 10,000 live performances on the show, and by some of the biggest names in music.  In fact, in an interview of Clark by Rolling Stone writer Henry Schipper in 1990, it was noted that “over two-thirds of the people who’ve been initiated into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame had their television debuts on American Bandstand, and the rest of them probably debuted on other shows [they] produced.”

Clark was often unassuming about his large influence on rock history, once saying, “I played records, the kids danced, and America watched.”  He didn’t create the music but he most certainly helped in its promotion.  He said, “My talent is bringing out the best in others’ talent, organizing people to showcase them and being able to survive the ordeal.  I hope someday that somebody will say that in the beginning stages of the birth of the music of the fifties, though I didn’t contribute in terms of creativity, I helped keep it alive.”

His legacy to rock and roll began at its infancy.  In the early days of rock, it was considered sinful and sinister.  As Schipper said in his article, “The music establishment, and the adults in general, really hated rock and roll.  Politicians, ministers, older songwriters and musicians foamed at the mouth.  Frank Sinatra reportedly called Elvis Presley a “rancid-smelling aphrodisiac”.  Clark was well aware of the impression that many had of his influence on Americas youth in those days, saying, “I was soundly criticized for being in and around rock and roll music at its inception.  It was the devil’s music, it would make your teeth fall out and your hair turn blue, whatever the hell.  You get through that.”

He wasn’t only innovative in the music he played but in promoting social change as well, to a degree at least.  Shortly after taking over the show, he ended its all white policy for performers.  The studio audience was non-segregated, as were the performers on-stage, one of the first TV shows to do so. American Bandstand ran from 1957-1987, at that time holding a record for longest running variety show.

Of course, he was also well known for Dick Clark’s Rockin New Years Eve, hosted by him every year from 1974-2003.  He took a one-year hiatus after suffering a stroke in 2004,  but he returned as co-host from 2005-2012.

Clark received numerous accolades and awards in his illustrious career.  He won Emmy’s in 1979, 1982, 1985, and 1986. He was named Broadcast Pioneer of Philadelphia Person of the Year in 1980 and inducted into their Hall of Fame in 1990.  He won a Daytime Emmy for Lifetime Achievement in 1994.  He won a Peabody Award in 1999.  He was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1976.  He was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 1990, the Television Hall of Fame in 1992, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993.

My songs of the day come from the Anerican Bandstand 50th Anniversary album:

“Gypsy Woman” by Curtis Mayfield

“Never Can Say Goodbye” by The Jackson 5

“Don’t Worry, Baby” by The Beach Boys

“Right Place, Wrong Time” by Dr. John

“What’s Goin’ On” by Marvin Gaye

“Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone” by The Temptations

“American Pie” by Don McLean

“House of the Rising Sun” by The Animals

“La Bamba” by Ritchie Valens

“Saturday In The Park” by Chicago

19 comments on “World’s Oldest Living Teenager”

  1. I miss those days…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for all the great info… Who doesn’t love Dick Clark!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Once again, great song selections!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. We finally really listened to American Pie. We saw it on a commercial and it sounded awesome.
    Dick Clark New Years Party was awesome!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. He was a legend. Miss him every New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

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