Saturday, April 28, 2012

Dick Clark - Part 6

Wrapping up our Forgotten Hits Dick Clark Tribute today with a few more of your most recent comments ... 

Gary Theroux, whose own one-on-one experiences with Dick Clark we shared with our readers earlier in this series, sent me this update regarding Dick Clark's health condition prior to his unexpected heart attack.  Sounds like there are more than just a few things that most fans DIDN'T know about his real state of health. 

Media hid Dick Clark's condition since 2004 stroke ... Publicist reported he was 'just fine' after devastating attack
4/19/12  - By Stewart Stogel 
NEW YORK – The death of Dick Clark on Wednesday marked the end of his courageous effort to recover from a stroke suffered in December 2004. His efforts to battle back to health were far greater than publicly known.
In 2004, this reporter was a producer at ABC’s “Good Morning America” and had been assigned to cover Dick Clark’s health crisis. 
Early in December, reports surfaced that Dick had been hospitalized in Los Angeles after suffering a “minor” stroke. 
His publicist, Amy Streibel, told reporters Dick was “just fine.” Some reports speculated Dick might even return to host his “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” show later that month. 
But we at GMA knew better. 
Word had surfaced at ABC that Dick’s condition was far worse than publicly reported. We even had doubts Dick would ever return to host his fabled show. 
Our challenge was to balance our obligations to report what we knew to our audience, while respecting the privacy of Dick’s family as they and his doctors decided how to handle his dilemma. 
Earlier in the year, Dick revealed he had diabetes. 
In the end, a decision was made by senior officials at “Good Morning America” to respect the family’s privacy. ABC brass huddled and Regis Philbin was selected to guest host “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” that year. 
Nothing was ever said about what we knew until now, after Dick’s passing. 
In November, 2005, we at ABC were pleased to learn Dick, after a difficult year of intense physical therapy, had all intentions to return to the studio facility just above Times Square to again host his annual show. 
But, just what would Dick do? His role on the show was a guarded secret. The program was a property of Dick Clark Productions, not ABC, so gossip at the network was rampant. In fact, most of the production crew at the Times Square facility worked for Dick, and they weren’t talking. 
Were they trying to hide something, or were they simply trying to boost TV ratings for Dick’s return? 
In retrospect, it was a little of both. 
Late in the afternoon of December 31, 2005, the GMA studio was sealed off as Dick’s team entered the building to prepare for the “broadcast of the year.” Photographers and paparazzi descended on the studio’s neighborhood, but ABC security and the NYPD kept them quite a distance away. 
Nothing was going to spoil the intense interest in Dick’s condition prior to his return to air later that evening.
But, inside ABC’s headquarters uptown, many staffers were able to “snoop” on the broadcast’s preparations as we watched several dress rehearsals on our internal TV system. 
We saw a frail, but determined, Dick sitting at the anchor desk looking like he was a captain on a battleship. He needed the assistance of a mechanical walker and the unwavering support of his wife Kari. His stamina was limited and he needed periodic rest breaks. 
While his physical recovery was obviously a work in progress, mentally he was ready and eager to return to the airwaves. 
And as the clock began its countdown to midnight, the broadcast began. But unlike past programs, that year’s “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” would open not with Dick but with Ryan Seacrest and actress Hillary Duff. Dick would make his return to television just prior to the ball atop Times Square being lowered. That spot, would be reserved exclusively for the nation’s “oldest teenager.” 
As the time approached for Dick to make his first public appearance in more than a year, his wife Kari hovered over him, powdering his face and reviewing the details of his speech to his TV audience. 
About 15 minutes before the ball dropped, Dick Clark made what many consider a miraculous return to network television. 
Speaking softly, but sternly, with a voice heavily slurred, Dick revealed just how serious his stroke had been, but how determined he was to work his way back to full recovery. 
In a way, it was sad to see what was once a vibrant radio voice now struggling to convey to his fans just how he felt.
It was a moving moment, bringing many inside the ABC Television Center to tears. Tears not of sorrow, but of respect for Dick’s fighting spirit. 
Though his appearance was brief — less than 30 minutes of a four-hour broadcast — the determination and the impact of Dick’s fighting spirit lasted well beyond that evening. 
I was in charge of producing GMA’s coverage of Dick’s return to TV. Rather than center on the difficult year of recovery, I opted, like Dick, to report on his future, rather than his past. 
To Dick, the news that needed to be reported was no matter how many roadblocks life may throw your way, with determination and love from family and friends one can achieve miracles. 
For seven subsequent years, Dick Clark gave us all miracles, and for that we can only say, “Thank you, Dick. Thank you for all the memories and inspiration.” 
Those will last forever. 

Hi Kent ...
This is Dick Clark talking about his contribution to "At The Hop"
This is the perfect time for our film!!!!!
John Madara
You know it REALLY is ... more awareness now than ever regarding the early Philly era of rock and roll!  (kk)

I've been reading your Dick Clark tribute this past week.  In the off chance you don't have any of this material, I have attached a few Dick Clark audio clips from my collection.
Steve Hotvedt
Hey KK ...  
I dedicated my show on Sunday night (4/22) to the memory of Dick Clark ... he was such a part of the music and rock and roll experience of us baby boomers ... I remember being glued to our TV set every Saturday afternoon watching "American Bandstand", mesmerized as I watched the bands, the kids dancing, and of course, the man himself.  This man did so much for the music of our generation.  
I was even able to incorporate some good stuff from your website (giving you full credit, of course!) on the program ... Thanks for all you do.  
Wow, between Levon Helm passing, Dick Clark passing, and the health issues of Robin Gibb this past week (although it is SO good to hear that he has come out of his coma) ... we have had to face the realities of three true icons of our era ...
It sucks getting old!  (wink*)
Moochas smoochas ... 
DJ Scarlett Hayze
Revolution Radio
June 28, 1965 ... and the premier of "Where The Action Is" ... 
It's one of those summer days I remember as clearly as last week (or more clearly). Paul's mention of that first show brought back memories of the hype leading up to the launch and the tremendous response from kids and teens across the USA. I was glued to the screen that day and watched as often as possible during its run.
David Lewis  

One thing I remember most about American Bandstand with Dick Clark is when I came home from school to watch it, there were some 2 or 3 girls dancing on there every day. Girls I kind of 'fell in love' with. What guy didn't. I can't really remember their names but one had the blonde hair, and another one had real black hair.

In a strange sort of way, Dick Clark has become part of my DJ story.  Several years ago, I submitted to the Dale Patterson web site "Rock Radio Scrapbook" some air check tapes I had of Bill Ballance (KFWB), Jimmy O'Neil (KRLA), The Real Don Steele (KHJ) and a few others from the early and mid 1960s.  Then, as a joke, I sent him one of my own show on KTEO, San Angelo, TX from 1963.

To my surprise, he loved the idea of having a small-time radio check, showing the fun it was out in the "flyover country".  So he posted it and listed me on the "1963 Air Checks" part of his web site.  So there I am, in the #2 spot on the listing, right between Murray The K at #1 and Dick Clark at #3.  As I tell folks, it is the highlight of my broadcast career, Murray, Dick and me.
Not a day goes by that I don't give thanks that for a short few years, I was one of those guys "playing all the hits all the time" on real Top 40 radio stations.  It never got any better than that!
Jim Southern

More Wages Of Spin news ...

As you know, we've been talking about "Wages Of Spin" since before the rest of the world even knew it existed.  There's more than one side to every story ... as well as to EVERY person ... and producers Shawn Swords and Paul Russo have done their best to present some little known facts about what REALLY went on behind the scenes back in the early days of Philly Rock And Roll.  It's a MUST SEE for any music fan of this era ... and I believe now with Dick Clark's passing, more people than ever will be inclined to check it out.  

Here's a YouTube promo clip ...
And the full length DVD feature is now available through ...  

Producer / Director Shawn Swords also tells us that "Wages Of Spin" has been archived in The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Archives now, too.  It'll soon start airing regularly on PBS stations all over the country ... and you can order your OWN copy (with additional footage) through the website address above.
Scroll back to Thursday's posting to find the links to read our original reviews of this film from 2008. 

Kent - 
Thanks for all your help with all our projects the last several years.
Best Wishes -

Filmed primarily in the Wildwoods, "Wages Of Spin" is a true account of the mighty Dick Clark and the Payola Scandal.

I had the pleasure to Executive Produce this film with the "Fabulous" Director, Shawn Swords.
Thanks again for all your support.
Look for this film to be Nationally Televised real soon!
Paul Russo
This is a VERY well-done film, featuring testimonials from many of the artists who were there at the time.  It also serves as a historical document of times ... as, truth be told, this is the way the game was played back then ... As stated the other day, Dick Clark became a very powerful player, virtually overnight ... and quickly advanced and diversified his career into any number of avenues made available to him.  Did this please everybody?  Clearly not.  Were a few rules broken in the process?  Absolutely.  Was Clark able to walk away from the whole payola scandal virtually unscathed, while other HUGE disc jockeys like Alan Freed lost literally everything in the process?  Yes, he was.  But when it's all sorted out, there probably isn't another person on the planet who did as much to advance the acceptance and popularity of rock and roll music than Dick Clark.  Does this "good" outweigh ALL of the bad?  Honestly???  In MY mind, it definitely does.  But that opinion (shared by nearly all of you who took the time to write in this week as part of our special Forgotten Hits Dick Clark Tribute) only makes this film that much more compelling.  Try to catch it on PBS next month ... or pick up your own copy through the PBS website!  (kk)

Kent ...
One good turn deserves another.  
You sent me a Dick Clark e-mail.  
I'm sending you a Dick Clark e-mail.
Dick Bartley's Weekend Classic Countdown was a Tribute to Dick Clark and American Bandstand this past weekend.
Frank B.
And did you see Dick Bartley's comment in Forgotten Hits the other day?  We even ran a classic picture of the two Dicks together (I'm referring to Bartley and Clark, of course ... and NOT my previous employers!!!)  kk

And, speaking of "classic countdowns", here comes a letter from a reader who remembers when Dick Clark sat in for Casey Kasem on American Top 40 ... Clark also had his own weekly countdown show for quite a few years.  (You'll also find an interesting topic for discussion at the end of this letter ... something some of our Forgotten Hits Readers may want to weigh in on in the weeks to come ... once things return back to semi-normal around here again!)   

Hey Kent,
Back in the 70s, I religiously listened to Casey Kasem's "American Top 40" on Sunday nights. I used to intentionally wait until 7 pm, to head back to college, so I could listen to the show on my car's am radio. As a broadcasting major, I regarded Casey as the MAN!  Once in a great while, he would take a night off, and have a guest host fill in on his program. On March 25th, 1972, Dick Clark was that guest host. I must have been busy that night, because I completely missed it, but heard about it later.
Lately, a local radio station here has been playing reruns of "American Top 40" on Sunday mornings, and I thought maybe the show with Dick Clark filling in, would have been featured, because of his passing. Well, it wasn't, so I'm wondering if someone has a recording of the show, or at least some snippets for us to hear.
There is one question I always wanted to ask Dick, if he appeared on a call-in talk show, but never got to. "What do you think would have happened to American popular radio, or pop radio around the world, had John Lennon not formed The Beatles?" What do YOU think?
- John LaPuzza
GREAT idea for a series, John!  Of course, no one can say for sure ... but I think the general consensus was that music needed SOME kind of shake-up in late '63 / early '64.  That's had gotten pretty bland on the dial (with The Singing Nun closing out the year in the #1 spot!)
It's a bit open-ended however ... it was the original American Rock And Roll Scene that prompted British youngsters to pick up guitars and form their own bands ... so might a DIFFERENT British band ultimately led the revolution?  Might Surf Music or The Motown Sound had an even greater impact than they already did?  We could speculate forever ... but we'll never really know for sure.  It might be a good topic, however, just to have some of our readers and deejays weigh in on this.  Anybody interested???  (kk)