Under the Hat: The Death of an Era - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather and Events

Under the Hat: The Death of an Era

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We're taught in my business not to use clichés, because they are both overused and often are an exaggeration of the event being described.

But every rule has its exception and I can think of no better way to say this:

The passing of Dick Clark really is the death of an era.

Long before I Tunes or MTV, years before ear buds or file sharing, there was Dick Clark.

Starting at a station in Philadelphia, Clark used his ear for music and his nose for business to grow American Bandstand into the country's first "must see TV."

 I've heard the same phrase over and over since his death, how kids would "run home from school" to catch the show.

Parents might watch the nightly news or Gunsmoke each week, but for an entire generation of now baby boomers, American Bandstand was daily appointment television.

And Clark was that generation's Pied Piper, who could make a song a hit simply by rating it as "danceable" or "having a good beat."

With his boyish good looks and guy-next-door demeanor, Clark was safe haven at a time of unrest, over a war in Southeast Asia and a civil rights movement at home.

Clark did his part on that front though, giving dozens of Motown R&B artists national exposure.

The Supremes, Otis Redding and countless others owe their fame, in part, to Dick Clark.

America's Oldest Teenager defied the march of time for decades, never seeming to age much in the 30 years of Bandstand's run.

That all changed in recent years when a stroke limited his facial mobility and his TV appearances to the annual New Year's Eve coverage on ABC.

A heart attack ended his run at the age of 82 but not his legacy.

Modern technology provides an access to music now that will forever prevent any one person from determining a national musical taste.

But there was a time once when there was and that person was Dick Clark.

That's why, in this rare case, the cliché really does apply. 

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