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Against The Grain by: Andy Sullivan

Wednesday, April 18, America lost an important fixture of entertainment with the passing of Dick Clark at age 82. “America’s Oldest Teenager” was born on November 20, 1929 in Utica, New York. Mr. Clark had been a radio host, television host, American Bandstand host, New Year’s Rockin’ Eve producer/host, as well as a restaurant owner. These were just several of the businesses spear-headed by Dick Clark.

He hosted and produced his creation, the iconic American Bandstand, from 1956-1989. The show was syndicated and aired daily from ’57-’63 in various afternoon spots. Bandstand was on from ’63-’69 in various spots on Saturday afternoons. The show aired on USA cable from April-October 1989 on Saturday afternoons.

The shows that Mr. Clark hosted/produced were numerous. Aside from Bandstand, he also had an enormous hand in the Emmy’s, A.M.A.’s, Golden Globes, as well as his best-known creation, New Year’s Rockin’ Eve. On December 30, 2011, the show reached a milestone of 40 years. The show used to begin before dawn on New Year’s Eve where he would appear before dawn on Good Morning America, and then via satellite, various local newscasts and talk shows and return back to Times Square for New Year’s Rockin’ Eve.

A 2004 stroke changed all that. Regis Philbin stepped in that year and Ryan Seacrest in 2005. Seacrest has done it ever since. I’ve watched New Year’s Rockin’ Eve as far back as I can remember. The musical performances, all the stars who are involved, the excitement and anticipation of the ball drop were massive. When I was a kid, my New Year’s tradition was as such: my family, as well as cousins who lived out the road-would head to Pizza Hut, usually the one in Central City. That was back when Pizza Hut was not only the only game in town, but REALLY good! As I walked past the counter there was always a bowl of peppermints. Somehow, they were always the best peppermints ever. We would come back home and play Rook and other games. When the time came we would gather round the television, flip on ABC and watch Dick Clark count down to the New Year.

These days, Ryan Seacrest carries on the host tradition. Something tells me that this year’s show will pay tribute to the originator in any and all ways. For those of us who grew up with Dick Clark at the helm, though, New Year’s will not be the same. Thank you, sir. You will be missed.

Hello, my name is Andy Sullivan. I received my bachelor’s degree in business from Mid-Continent University in May 2009. I began writing for Beech Tree News in July 2009. I enjoy playing guitar, the occasional Wii game, writing, and listening to music. I write a sports blog that can be found at If you have a comment, feel free to leave it in the space below.


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