“American Bandstand” host (1956 to 1987) and all-around show biz legend Dick Clark passed on to that great Sugar Shack in the Sky two days ago from a heart attack, according to the AP. He was 82 and his transition out of this existence reminded me of an anecdote my brother once told me. Seems he was on business flight about thirty years ago and he sat down next to a well-dressed man reading a magazine who looked vaguely familiar. After a while, they exchanged small talk and he realized he was talking to Dick Clark. Knowing that the worst thing you can do to a celebrity is act like a fan when they’re trapped in the airplane seat next to you, he merely confirmed the man was ‘the’ Dick Clark by asking him, and then returned to inconsequential chit-chat. When the jet landed, my brother got out of his seat and entered the aisle, turning around to shake Clark’s hand before deplaning. That’s when he received a mild jolt, as he was looking down at the top of Dick Clark’s head. My brother is of average height and he felt like Wilt Chamberlain next to Mr. Rockin’ New Year’s Eve, who might have been barely 5’ 5” in his bare feet. He leaned down to shake hands with Clark, and that’s the end of the story, but it did get me to thinking — look at the videos below: Dick Clark must have had some mighty risers in his shoes. That said, R.I.P. to the ‘World’s Oldest Teenager’ and the man who helped integrate the rock music business by bringing black performers on his show in the ’50s instead of featuring white cover artists as most DJs of time did.
Interviewing Sam Cooke in 1964:
Interviewing The Beach Boys in 1964: