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Ageless: Dick Clark TV Crime Comedy Cameos
Looks like Bill Hicks was wrong. Dick Clark wasn’t going to be around forever.
Mister American Bandstand, the ageless face of New Year’s Eve, died today at the age of 82. A massive heart attack suffered during a procedure to tackle one of his many ailments was the culprit. He’s survived by a wife, two children, a pair of ex-wives and more cameos than you can shake a boom mic at.
Dick Clark got as much air-time out of those 82 years as he could manage. Variety shows, game shows, sitcoms – as long as the fare was light, Clark’s unlined mug would show up to drop a smile.
He didn’t appear in much crime film. What Dick Clark crime TV there is, we record here.
Back when he was a glossy, hep young dude – as opposed to a curiously pristine personality at New Year’s – Dick Clark showed up on a similarly hep show: Batman. The zany, “hip-to-be-square” spirit of the Adam West Batman suited Clark’s button-down youth-pop vibe just fine.
Batman had a running gag involving “window cameos,” so it was only natural for Clark to pop out and lay some one-liners while Batman and Robin crept vertically by.
Here’s the scene.
Hardly as memorable as Phyllis Diller on Scooby-Doo, I know, but breaks must be cut. You got to give Dick Clark/Batman and Robin some credit – coolness wouldn’t be invented for another 3 years.
Besides, the “dipped your diphthong” line will stick with you longer than you’d like. That’s got to count for something.
Apparently, the “vocal group” gag’s side-splitting quality aside, Dick Clark didn’t make another crime cameo for over a decade. He spent time doing what he did best – Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, $10,000 Pyramid and Soul Unlimited, the “more risqué” version of Soul Train.
Well, I remember Soul Unlimited.
Anyway, Clark would next grace crime TV with a role as the father – and murderer – of Laura Palmer, Twin Peaks‘ famed victim.
No, wait, that was [Look, I know most people know this, but let's not totally blow it here, Matty--ed.]. It’s an honest mistake, people – just compare the hair.
Clark stuck to his comedic chops for his second and final crime cameo. He slid into a shoeshine seat to buy illegal immortality cream and discover Ska, on the set of Police Squad! Dick Clark pretending to purchase drugs is now yours to enjoy:
I will say this as a personal note in closing, I always enjoyed Dick Clark’s ageless presence on New Year’s Eve. No, I wouldn’t watch much of his show – just knowing he was alive and unblemished was sufficient to restore my faith in the renewing power of the year’s turn, as opposed to its ruinous powers. He was kind of like a Santa Claus of modern medicine and good living who brought me the gift of a fresh 365 every year.
Now he’s passed, as all things must. All things but the Internet, of course.
The Web will be forever 13 years old.