Today the world mourns an incredible talent with the passing of Dick Clark at age 82. The seemingly ageless “America’s Oldest Teenager” brought joy to generations of music lovers and pioneered the entertainment industry while bridging the race, gender and age gaps throughout his decades-long career.
The Mount Vernon, New York, native began his illustrious career in 1945 in the mailroom of his uncle’s radio station, WRUN-AM that his father managed in Utica, NY. He soon received promotions to weather and news announcer.
Following graduation from Syracuse University where he majored in business, Clark worked in television at Utica’s WKTV and as a disc jockey at Syracuse’s WOLF radio station. In 1952 he moved to suburban Philadelphia, PA, near neighbor Ed McMahon, and accepted employment with WFIL radio and its eponymous sister television station. He occasionally hosted TV’s “Bob Horn’s Bandstand,” eventually becoming its primary host. In 1957 the ABC network picked up the show, renamed it “American Bandstand” with the newcomer as its host, and the rest is history.
Clark’s admirers have much to say regarding his recent passing.
Kevin Sorbo, who is a major rock music fan and guitarist and pianist in his own right, mourns the death of this great icon. He acknowledges that he grew up with “American Bandstand” and, like many “Children of the ‘70s,” won’t forget Clark’s incredible contributions to music, entertainment and pop culture that influenced his formative years. He extends his sincerest sympathies to Clark’s family and friends.
Jerry Gross, lead singer of Philadelphia “Bandstand” dance craze regulars The Dovells (“The Bristol Stomp,” “You Can’t Sit Down”), had the following to say about the passing of Dick Clark:
“Dick Clark was a legend who helped a lot of acts, including us, gain stardom and have many, many hit records. The entertainment world will sorely miss Dick Clark.”
In memory of Dick Clark, the Dovells are organizing a special tribute to him to be included in their 50th anniversary concert, scheduled for Saturday, April 21, at the Scottish Rite Auditorium in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.
“The Dovells did many tours with Dick Clark in the ‘60s and in the ‘70s, including the Dick Clark Caravan of Stars. We were one of his favorite acts. Dick always called us when he needed a high energy act. He called us the Bowery Boys.”
Here is their website: www.thedovells.com
Here’s a statement from songwriting/production team Gamble & Huff:
“As fellow Philadelphians, we have admired Dick Clark and the ‘American Bandstand’ brand for many years, as it promoted Philadelphia music around the nation,” said Kenneth Gamble & Leon Huff in a joint statement. “Dick Clark was one of our inspirations for creating the ‘Sound of Philadelphia’ music brand. More importantly, we thank him for being one of the pioneers in promoting the Philly Dance and Music scene for the nation and world to enjoy. We send our sincere and deepest condolences to Dick Clark’s family.”
Please see their websites:
(Photo of Dick Clark AP Photo/ABC, Donna Svennevik. File; Photo middle left Frankie Moreno with Kevin Sorbo courtesy of Kevin Sorbo; Photos right The Dovells and bottom left Kenneth Gamble & Leon Huff courtesy of Randex Communications)
Here’s another fantastic story about Kevin’s appearance at the 12th Costa del Sol International Science Fiction Film Festival in Estepona, Spain, last September 19-24, 2011. This one is from Sandra from Spain, who is famous for her fabulous pictures of her Dylan Hunt action figure in various places around the world. Gracias, Sandra. We love your pictures!
Kevin Sorbo was finally going to visit Spain. What a great joy! But everything that happened until the day came could be called an “X-Files”…
Fortunately, all ended well.
It began with the announcement made by the festival about the presence of the actor (Kevin Sorbo) to receive a well-deserved award given in a lifetime for his achievement on the fantasy films (the Unicorn Award). Taking advantage of the Estepona festival, they organized an event with fans – it would be a unique opportunity to be close to someone we admire for his work.
We’d be talking quietly while eating and we’d make him questions and having a good time with him at lunch.
The idea was very good, but how difficult to make it happen!! Just to tell you that not only we had to deal with the food price, but other issues came in that we had to come out in defense of the actor and the Festival. Something really surreal because in previous conventions we had no such problems… There were others, but not of that caliber with (the) press and all talking about the matter.
Well, I do not want to talk about the annoying issues… but how well I spent every day I was at Costa del Sol where high temperatures never left us.
Early Days of Tourism
I took the trip with my doll Dylan Hunt, who eventually became the protagonist of the trip. From Marbella, Malaga, Estepona and to Gibraltar I took his picture – some very funny moments because I did not just have a few laughs myself, but Kevin himself was part of this particular game.
After those days as tourists, it was time to see Kevin and to enjoy two days where we’d see him picking up his prize (The Honor Unicorn), would enjoy two of his films (“What If…” and “Coffin”), and enjoy the best food we ever had.
Those would be experiences that each one of us experienced our own way. Some got excited and some nervous… for others it was something warm like when you see an old friend from long ago, at least I felt that way, a more relaxed way.
It was great being there those days when I could load extra power for the months to come to hard work waiting for me as an editor. I enjoyed time with my friends that I had no longer seen (like) Almudena, Mariola, (and) Evelyn, and others I had not yet known: Fatima and Mónica.
Never forgetting about my closest friends, Teresa and Montse, who lived moments that thrilled them up, I somehow became the photographer of the event, and I was going up and down with my camera to immortalize all the good moments.
Before, I had made my contribution to the travel with my promo video for the visit of Kevin, enjoyed by the Festival people, so I got their permission to upload it to YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=242Yyk6bPaU
Finally, I will say that I hope to see my friend Kevin here either to a festival or a convention or even better to shooting a movie. Until then, I would like to thank the Festival people for contacting Kevin, and, thank you, Kevin, for making the effort to fly to Spain. And give us a few great hours…
Please see Teresa’s awesome vids:
(Photos courtesy of Teresa and Sandra; videos courtesy of Teresa)
Thanks Sanne, Loli, Malena and Mara!
Wow! I have so many fantastic stories to post. Here’s one from our friend Jacqui in Scotland who tells us how she became a Kevin fan. Many thanks, Jacqui!
I first came across Kevin’s work in the late 1990s at a time when I was extremely bored with my life and work.
I had started to watch some “Hercules” episodes. I did not think much about them initially until the “The Marriage Swindler” episode in series II, particularly the part where Hercules is shot by Hera’s archers. The pain expressed by Kevin as Hercules was impressive, also, Michael Hurst’s expression of anguish from Iolaus for his friend. It was from this point that I started to pay closer attention.
The next episode of “Hercules” which sticks out in my memory is “…And Fancy Free” from season IV with the Twanky Twiddle. That episode was hilarious. I have watched it many times and still laugh.
It was because I was looking for something more interesting to do with my life that I decided to do an Access course at Glasgow University. The subjects I chose for this course were Classical Civilization and Social Anthropology. To my surprise I passed all exams and assessments with flying colours, and was given the opportunity to do an undergraduate degree. The subjects I chose were Classics and Archaeology. I gained my degree in Classics and Archaeology and it is, in part, due to watching “Hercules;” it reminded me of how much I had enjoyed classics when I was younger.
I did not see much of Kevin’s work from the time I started my degree in 2002 until 2010. I caught occasional episodes of “Andromeda,” but nothing else.
When I graduated with my second degree (Mediterranean Archaeology) at the end of 2009 I again found myself at a crossroads, what to do now? It was at this point I caught the last half of a film on TV – it was “Fire from Below.” Watching this reminded me of how much I had enjoyed “Hercules” and the few “Andromeda” episodes I had seen.
Since then I have been trying to catch up, and over the last 18 months have managed to watch the two “Walking Tall” films, “Never Cry Werewolf,” “Avenging Angel,” “Kull (the Conqueror),” “Prairie Fever,” “Tales of an Ancient Empire (Part I),” “Something Beneath” and “What If…” I have been impressed by Kevin’s talent and his ability to work well within a variety of genres.
I would like to thank Kevin for the entertainment he has provided over the years, allowing an escape from the everyday problems of normal life, and I look forward to many more years of Kevin’s work.
The only thing I can offer in return for this is to wish Kevin and his family every happiness, health and success for the future.
Jacqueline Dennett MA (Hons), MLitt