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Lionel: Dick Clark

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(NEW YORK) - Dick Clark was everywhere. Everything was dick Clark in one form or another. And he was New Years Eve like Guy Lombardo was New Years Eve in my parent’s generation.

Shows and people sometimes become fused with a day or time. 60 minutes is Sunday. Ed Sullivan was Sunday. Dick Clark was New Years Eve. And I love the fact that were he able to, if his health allowed it; he’d be working until he was 102. I love guys that work. TV is inundated with these god awful retirement commercials. Some guy fly fishing or wood working. I can’t imagine not working, not doing, well, frankly this or something real close to it. I’d rather eat a 38 than 'retire.

‘I never met him in person but I did interview him once when I was doing mornings on WABC. One year he was promoting his times square new years special. ABC, WABC, see the connection? Abecedarian as it is. When I got on the line with dick, the first thing I asked him was what does it feel like to have turned down the Beatles? They never appeared on the show and dick Clark always regretted that. It seems he wasn’t a big fan. So, when I asked him that question first he said something like, 'oh, you had to start with that one first, huh?' he also was reputed and reported to have said that disco would be around forever.

And I love to hear when people screw stuff up. It’s easy to bask in a success but I’d rather hear how people react to making profoundly stupid errors, actually errors that are thought of as such in hindsight.

And he was a very nice man by the way. Do you know what else I liked a lot? I liked the fact that he went on the air after his stoke and even after his speech was noticeably impaired. Now, he only spoke in segments; because he was hard to understand, but he didn’t run from his handicap. The same thing goes for Kirk Douglas post-stroke. That takes guts and it did more to hammer home the fact that people with disabilities shouldn’t be embarrassed or closeted or pushed aside. They have nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed about. And if we’re put out by it, so what. Live with it; they are.

And what dick Clark also did that nobody does or did or could or will, is that he was so present, so front and center, so omnipresent with a tone of voice and delivery that was calming through its ubiquity and frequency.  I mean the guy was on TV somewhere at any given time everywhere. And he also was critical in thawing racial tensions through music. So, thank you, dick Clark. And in full disclosure, I wasn’t too crazy about the Beatles either.


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