Richard Wagstaff “Dick” Clark, R.I.P.

This is a personal post. Richard Wagstaff “Dick” Clark passed away last week, to surprisingly little fanfare, at least among my Facebook friends. I’m not sure why that is – perhaps because my generation didn’t know much about Dick Clark. We never saw American Bandstand, that’s for sure. To us, he was “that older guy that did the New Year’s thing.” After the stroke, he kind of seemed like he had one foot in the grave, so I guess that’s why people aren’t shocked. I guess I wasn’t either, but Dick Clark was a big deal, and I need to give the man his due.

For now, Dick Clark.... so long!

Because I knew the young Dick Clark. When Rob and I were younger, we would watch old episodes of $100,000 Pyramid on Game Show Network, sometimes for several hours.  Dick Clark was always a professional – smooth and respectful, a clean-cut cool guy. That’s what he was in those days. Keep in mind, he was in his 50’s, but you’d never know it by his actions, his coolness, his calmness. The guy had a gift.

I think the greatest personal impact Dick Clark had on me was “What a ____________ might say.” For those who don’t remember, in the final round of Pyramid, the contestants would go up there and try to guess the clue that was hidden behind them, without any gestures and without saying any of the words in the clue. You’d get some funny ones like “What a can opener might say.” Then the clue-giver would say “I help you open your containers”, “No, you twist me to open your beets” and things like that. Often, the receiver would get really excited and scream “WHAT A CAN OPENER MIGHT SAY!” and jump and scream if they got it right.

My brother Rob and I will sometimes mention that when we’re around each other – sometimes just to laugh at the way the people on the show acted, or sometimes we use it to make fun of each other. If Rob’s visiting at my place and I’ve taken sleeping pills, and I say something stupid like “I scalded him” when I meant to say “I scolded him,” Rob will reply “WHAT AN OVEN MIGHT SAY!”

This post from Businessweek says it well – Dick Clark’s primary influence on us was personal. And my best memories of Dick Clark are those empty summer days of my adolescence, sitting at home and watching the $100,000 pyramid, and those moments when Rob and I are bonding over a Dick Clark moment while everyone else in the room is confused. Dick Clark also introduced me to Nipsey Russell, a now-deceased poet who will some day grace the pages of this blog.

Rest in peace, Richard Wagstaff “Dick” Clark, and thanks for the memories. For now, Dick Clark… so long!

About Dave

Based out of San Diego, California. Co-founder of the Blog of Funny Names.
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17 Responses to Richard Wagstaff “Dick” Clark, R.I.P.

  1. aFrankAngle says:

    Associating the “young” Dick Clark with a game show was interesting – well – I go back to American Bandstand. Good tribute – and thanks for the unexpected Nipsey Russell reference.

    • Dave says:

      You’re welcome for the Nipsey Russell reference!

      Pssst….don’t tell anyone, but Nipsey’s name might reappear on this blog exactly one month from now. (I’m taking the MCAT on May 31st, so I’ve written a lot of posts in advance, but I’ll still be here commenting on blogs and responding to people’s comments on this one. Arto and Rob will still be posting regularly, to go along with my twice-a-week scheduled posts, and the unveiling of a cool new page on this blog on May 3rd).

  2. I have enjoyed immensely reading your blog. As a writer I know you will understand if I am absent from making comments for a couple of months. I have two books I’m writing and the push is on to get them finished…so with only 24 hours in the day, I am going to continue to read and like, but my comments will be limited to replies for those who comment on my blog…thanks for the grace.

    Be encouraged!

    • Dave says:

      Totally understandable! As I mentioned in my response to aFrankAngle – I’m doing sort of a similar thing – I’ve written a ton of posts beforehand to give myself some time between now and late May to focus on my studies.

  3. Bagman says:

    Well said from a fellow Pyramid fan and fan of New Year’s Rockin Eve, as well as the olden days of Dick Clark fame.

  4. Matt Wilson says:

    Haha, I guess I’m not alone! – if you have a chance check out my Dick Clark tribute and good luck on the MCAT.

  5. I loved watching American Bandsatand as a young child. America’s Oldest Teen was a nickname for this wonderful and gentle spirit. When he came back, after his stroke, I cried! He will truly be missed! Thank you for the beautifully written remembrance of this special man!
    Peach State

  6. He had an amazing career and made a giant impact.

  7. Personal effect, indeed. He was such a ubiquitous presence on TV — it’s hard to remember a day growing up (I was born in the 70s) when I didn’t see Dick Clark. (Of course I watched TV for many hours, every day.) My joke about him is crude, but that’s just how I deal with death these days. Thanks for the post!

  8. What a touching tribute to Dick Clark. I grew up watching American Band Stand and naturally followed him to Pyramid. Who could forget Nipsey Russell, we looked forward to his poems every weekday. Looking forward to seeing your post. And thanks for liking mine.

  9. Pingback: Nipsey Russell « The Blog of Funny Names

  10. Pingback: Celebrating Lucky Number 100 | Fannie Cranium's

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