Dick Clark, who suffered a serious
stroke in 2004 but then returned to the airwaves, reportedly died
from a heart attack April 18, 2012 … he was 82.
Dick and I
spoke by phone on several occasions, the last being just before our
alumni reunion back in 2004.
He did some voicers saying happy anniversary and briefly
talking about his years at WOLF.
Dick Clark, will always be
remembered as the host of American Bandstand as well as television
producer who changed the way we listened to pop music. In his later
years his New Years Rockin' Eve became a fixture of New Year's
He was born in Mount Vernon, N.Y., on Nov. 30,
1929, Richard Wagstaff Clark began his lifelong career in show
business began before he was even out of high school. He started
working in the mailroom of WRUN, Utica, New York. Which was run by
his father and uncle. It wasn't long before he was filling in for
the weatherman and the announcer.
Clark pursued his passion at
Syracuse University, working as a disc jockey at the student-run
radio station as well as WOLF. After graduating in 1951, Clark went
back to his family's radio station, and also worked at WKTV as a
news man using the name Dick Clay. But within a year, he moved on to
Dick landed a gig as a DJ at WFIL in Philadelphia,
spinning records for a show he called Dick Clark's Caravan of Music.
There he broke into the big time, hosting Bandstand, an afternoon
dance show for teenagers.
Within five years, the whole country
was watching. ABC took the show national, and American Bandstand was
According to ABC News, American Bandstand's formula was
simple. Clean-cut boys and girls danced to the hottest hits and the
newest singles. In between, Clark chatted with the teens, who helped
"rate-a-record," turning songs into sensations. Everyone showed up
on American Bandstand: from Elvis Presley to Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck
Berry to Chubby Checker.
When Dick Clark moved to Hollywood
in 1963, American Bandstand moved with him. He started Dick Clark
Productions, and began cranking out one hit show after another. His
name became synonymous with everything from the $25,000
Pyramid and TV's Bloopers & Practical Jokes to the American
Music Awards. In 1972, Dick Clark became synonymous with one of the
biggest nights of the year.
Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve
on ABC became a Dec. 31 tradition, with Clark hosting the
festivities for more than three decades, introducing the
entertainment acts and, of course, counting down to midnight as the
ball dropped in New York's Times Square.
But the traditional
celebration saw a temporary stop in 2004, when Clark suffered a
stroke that left him partially paralyzed and struggling to speak..
But by the next New Year's Eve, Dick Clark was back, his speech
still impaired. In halting words, he told the audience, "I had to
teach myself how to walk and talk again. It's been a long, hard
fight. My speech is not perfect but I'm getting there."
didn't stop him: he returned each year, and recently Ryan Seacrest
The Museum of Broadcast Communications has done the
math, and figures that Dick Clark Productions has turned out more
than 7,500 hours of television programming, including more than 30
series and 250 specials, as well as more than 20 movies for theatre
All this earned Clark a long list of awards and
accolades: Emmys, Grammys, induction in the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of
Fame, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It also made him one of
the richest men in Hollywood; he also had stakes in a wide range of
businesses, including restaurants, theatres and real estate.
March of 2012, he put one of his homes on the market, asking
$3.5 million for a one-of-a-kind house on 22 acres in Malibu,
modeled after Fred and Wilma's house on "The Flintstones."
three children and his third wife, Keri Wigton, married to him since
1977, survive Clark, whose eternally youthful look earned him the
nickname “America’s Oldest Teenager”. He credited his appearance to
good genes, once saying, "if you want to stay young looking, pick
your parents very carefully."
Now, America's Oldest Teenager
is gone, leaving his indelible mark on generations of fans, and
helping change rock 'n' roll and TV forever. His signature sign-off
was always "For now, Dick Clark… so long," said with a salute.
Today, generations of Americans are saluting back.
WOLF Promtional Pictures
of former announcer, The Great Dick Clark
Craig Fox (Current Owner)
& Dick Clark...1990
An icon in
the History of Broadcasting in America worked at WOLF while
attending Syracuse University and later in syndication form in
December 1962. Click
here for a great bio on the
legendary American Bandstand Host.
The Big 15 Jocks circa Early
Bob O'Brien, Big John Allen, Les Howard, Mike Fisher,
Don Bombard, Jim Sims
Ariel shots of WOLF
long before the Harbor Renewal Project
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