So Long, Dick..

I found out about the passing of Dick Clark on Twitter. Someone I follow tweeted “RIP Dick Clark”. I didn’t want to believe it. After doing a little more digging around, I found out the very sad news was true. Whoever would have thought during the years my family and I watched “Bandstand” and “Soul Train” week after week the hosts, fierce competitors no doubt, would pass away within two months of one another. The thought alone continues to boggle my mind.

My affection for Dick Clark started when I was very young, in the mid-’70s. I had an enormous crush on him. He seemed so likeable, genuine, and warm. I also thought he was cute. Had you met him face to face, I’m sure he would have been very friendly and receptive. Not only did I watch him each week on “American Bandstand”, but on the “$20,000 Pyramid”. When he would say his famous “so long”, I would always kiss the TV screen. Yep, I was really hung up on the guy.

My Mom taught me how to read and write early, so one Saturday after “Bandstand”, she made the suggestion of writing him a letter. She was one of the many Boomers who grew up with him, and “American Bandstand”. She often spoke of rushing home to watch it after school. I jumped at the chance, so she and I sat in the livingroom and wrote Dick Clark a letter. I had never written a celebrity before.  She helped me to write my letter, then she wrote one herself to go along with it. We placed them on the mailbox that Monday. This was January, 1977. The day before Easter Sunday, she woke me up to tell me Dick Clark had written me back. We were both beyond excited. She held a signed postcard in her hand, with a color photo on the front of him sitting on the grass in the sun. The postcard was addressed to me. I treasured that postcard like it was a piece of gold. To me, it was.

After more than 35 years, I still have that postcard- and a lot of sweet, priceless memories Dick is a part of. I remember jumping up and down during an episode of “Bandstand” in the mid-’80s with my sister. There was the time she and our Grandfather danced to Madonna’s “Papa Don’t Preach”, which was played one week. There were the countless artists I remember appearing, from Janet Jackson in 1982, debuting her first album, to New Edition singing “Mr. Telephone Man”. I also remember being so excited to see the kids dance to Bon Jovi’s “You Give Love A Bad Name”. Had I lived in CA, I would have tried out to be one of those dancers myself. I also wanted to try out for “Soul Train”. We watched “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” every year. I only recall missing it once.  Meanwhile,  my sister took my place as a “Pyramid” fanatic. I believe it was her favorite game show. For us, “The American Music Awards” was THE music show to watch. It aired in the early part of the year, around the middle of January. Everyone we knew watched it as well.  Unfortunately, “American Bandstand” left ABC in 1987, after 30 years. It would spend the next two years on USA, which we didn’t have access to. We didn’t have cable yet. It was a huge blow to us.

As famous legends I was privileged and blessed to share my childhood with continue to leave us, I cherish the time they were a part of my life, and the lasting impact which will always remain. There will always be a very special place in my heart for Dick Clark, and for that Saturday morning when I first saw that postcard.

So long, Dick..


~ by kmnnz on April 23, 2012.

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