Working Stiff

Dick Clark’s offices in Burbank were near a Mexican restaurant where we often had birthday lunches or good-bye parties for co-workers at KPWR and KROQ in the mid ’90s. I recall seeing Mr. Clark crossing the street, presumably going to NBC Studios. Dick Clark died yesterday at 82.

When I was just getting started at WAVA, I would run the Sunday morning countdown shows. Because our competitor aired Casey Kasem, we took what we could get. The station was running John Leader’s Countdown America when Leader was replaced by Dick Clark. Here’s another bit of trivia: Clark appeared in the final episode of “Perry Mason,” and played the villain. I saw a rerun of it a few years back.

He would call in to KLOS when he had something to plug but my most vivid memories of Dick Clark are from seeing him in action at the American Music Awards. Clark created the AMAs for ABC when the Grammys moved to CBS. I went to the AMAs a couple of times while I worked for KLOS, which was then owned by ABC. Before the show started, the unmistakable voice of Dick Clark could be heard telling audience members to get to their seats. During every commercial break, Clark would be on stage, telling us how many minutes or seconds were left before the show resumed. He wasn’t seen or heard on TV, only in the auditorium. To me, he was a superstar but that night he was playing the part of the warm-up guy. It made him seem very real and down-to-earth.

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