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From Our Files: Dick Clark 1986 Interview, 'Guru of pop compares three decades of rockin' teens'

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Because of these changes, he says, ``today there are no huge stars like Elvis Presley. As big as Bruce Springsteen is, not everybody is a Springsteen fan. In Presley's time you didn't dare not to be a fan of his, because you were part of a club. Now you can say I prefer Billy Joel or Tina Turner, or someone else. It's all fractionalized. Nobody will ever approximate the impact that Presley made, or Sinatra.''

Yet ``the only startling difference that you see on the show today, as opposed to 33 years ago,'' he notes, ``is that we are all now -- unfortunately -- more sophisticated, jaded. You've got to remember we were living in a world where certain words were verboten. I could never turn to a guy and a girl and ask, `Are you going steady?' That was absolutely a no-no -- it was the Eisenhower period and no parent wanted their kid going steady, so it wasn't a thing that you could endorse as proper behavior on the air. But there was a secret-service language you would use. I would say, `Are you going together?' Then everybody knew I meant `Are you going steady?' It seems so naive. It's hard to conceive.''`

`Bandstand'' took what Clark calls ``an extraordinary leap forward'' in the mid-'50s: ``The first time that black and white kids got on the dance floor together on social occasions,'' he asserts, ``was on that show. It was a very segregated society that we lived in, yet this step was an inevitability. It wasn't anything terribly startling -- it had to be done. The only frightening thing to us about national TV exposure was whether it would cause any disquiet in the South. It didn't. It didn't cause one peep. I don't know what you sociologically learn about this, but if you just quietly do it and don't make a big thing about it, you don't rouse those latent angers.''

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