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When the news broke Wednesday afternoon that “America’s Oldest Teenager” Dick Clark died at age 82 following a heart attack, I think a little part of everybody’s youth was lost as well.Dick Clark photo: aberdeennews.com

After all, do you remember a New Year’s Eve (with the exception of 2004) without Dick Clark? Better yet, do you parents remember life without Dick Clark?! Hard to imagine, isn’t it?

Believe it or not, a fact that’s not discussed all that much is that Clark’s career was practically launched right here in Philadelphia.

After spending time on local television and radio in his native New York, Clark moved to Drexel Hill in 1952 and took a job at WIFL (the old call letters of WPVI, which was also a television station) as a disc jockey. Around the same time, Bob Horn’s Bandstand premiered on WIFL. Originally just a fill-in host for Horn, Clark became the full time host after Horn was fired after a DUI arrest. The show was renamed American Bandstand, it went national the next year, and rest is history. Bandstand moved to California in 1964, and Clark stayed on as the show's host for 25 years just prior to the show’s cancellation in 1989.

Clark’s Philadelphia roots were also evident in American Dreams, a show which he produced involving a Philadelphia family which ran on NBC from 2002 to 2005.

Of course, in between Clark’s time in Philadelphia and his run on Bandstand, he developed countless game shows, hosted numerous radio countdowns, opened a chain of restaurants with the ‘American Bandstand’ theme (one formerly in King of Prussia), and produced and hosted Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve. With the exception of 2004 (the year Clark suffered), Clark hosted the show every year in some capacity, as he counted down the New Year as the ball dropped from Times Square in New York.

There might never be another career in the entertainment industry that was so diverse as well as successful as Dick Clark’s. And if he didn’t move here to Philadelphia, chances are none of that would have been possible.

For now, so long Dick Clark.

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Dick Clark photo: aberdeennews.com