Overheard on CNN.com: Dick Clark 'helped us deny our own aging,' says nostalgic reader
Dennis Foreman of Overland Park, Kansas, met Dick Clark in 1992 at the opening of one of the TV legend's restaurants.
April 18th, 2012
08:23 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Dick Clark 'helped us deny our own aging,' says nostalgic reader

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

Dick Clark, beloved "American Bandstand" creator-host and iconic New Year's Eve emcee, died Wednesday at age 82. Readers described his passing as the "end of an era" and a shock for generations of people who have viewed Clark as eternally youthful.

'America's oldest teen' Dick Clark dies

Upon learning of the news, many iReporters were eager to dig through their photo albums and memory banks. Dennis Foreman of Overland Park, Kansas, met Dick Clark at a restaurant opening in 1992. Dick Clark's American Bandstand Grills are a nationwide chain of music-themed restaurants. The Overland Park location is now closed, but Foreman says he will always treasure seeing Clark shake hands with people in the room rather than hide behind a rope line.

"The thing that I thought was most memorable was when I thanked him," Foreman recalled. "He said, 'No sir, thank you for coming to my restaurant.' "

W J O'Reilly of New York looked back at Clark's life and the fairly recent passing of Soul Train's Don Cornelius.

wjoreilly: "Dick Clark's passing is one of those events that anyone who said he saw it coming would be a liar. His omnipresence in the media, his involvement with the Philly, then Motown, sounds of the '50s and '60s were rivaled only by Don Cornelius, who ironically passed away only recently. There must be something in the two of them moving on down the road at about the same time. Dick Clark and Don Cornelius were fixtures in their media presence and in their living associations with what's cool, what sells and what expresses us best in music, movement and style. Thank you, Dick Clark for helping us to express ourselves and to understand our place in our culture a little better."

It seems like everyone who responded has a unique story and perspective. Alan Light of Iowa City, Iowa, shared a photo he took of Clark with his wife backstage at the 1990 Grammy Awards.

We also heard from musicians and a manager of The Drifters.

Meanwhile, our story commenters took us on a trip back through time.

longtooth: "We watched 'American Bandstand' on our black and white TV in the '50s. It was a show you didn't want to miss if you were a kid just dying to be a teenager. I pretended to dance like the cool guy with the hair loaded with Brylcreem. I don't have much hair left, and I never could dance well, but Dick Clark was a big part of American youth and rock n' roll. Rock on."

One reader said they were on "American Bandstand."

Damaso: "I was on 'American Bandstand' in 1958. We lived across the river in Burlington, New Jersey. I remember Mr. Clark as a wonderfully hospitable man full of joy and life. He will always remain so in my memories."

For those who came of age in Philadelphia, the memories are heightened.

mjy: "I grew up in Philadelphia and danced on 'Bandstand' as did so many of my friends. It started in Philadelphia at the Arena on Market Street. I can remember the lines waiting to get into the Arena. As for Dick Clark, he was forever youthful. His age was a mystery and a puzzle for so many of his fans. I am very saddened by his loss; my condolences to his family. He was one of a kind."

Clark's passing proved a sobering reminder for some that even the forever teenager was a mortal man.

RRWExpat: "This marks the end of an era. As much as it was sad to see him over the last few years, so many people had memories of their teenage years centered around 'American Bandstand' that just knowing that he was still involved with music and the kids that grew up with him helped us deny our own aging. Sad day."

He was an icon for a generation, or maybe several generations.

JohnRJohnson: "Like a lot of other baby boomers, I learned how to dance watching the kids on 'Bandstand' in the 1950s. Dick Clark gave us our first look at some of the great performers of that era, including Bobby Darin, the Big Bopper, Buddy Holly and Richie Valens. Until then, they were just voices on a little 45 rpm record with a big hole in the middle. Clark always came across as this classy and friendly guy who genuinely enjoyed the music he played. That is how I will remember him for the rest of my life. I do not want to remember his last several performances on the New Year's Eve shows, where his terrible strokes had contorted his face and made him difficult to understand. I was glad he was still around all those years, but I do not want to remember him that way."

Some wondered if there's a rock 'n' roll heaven.

Bob Bichen: "A true icon in the history of rock and roll. As many came and went, he remained amazingly relevant over the years. You sir, will be missed. Here's hoping you will be spinning wax with many of the greats in Rock and Roll Heaven."

The readers don't ask for much.

corkpuller: "Your life ... had a great beat and was easy to dance to ... for all of us. Go gently with a smooth tune into eternal rest Mr. Clark. Thank you for being in our lives."

How will we count down now?

xShadex: "Wow. My New Year's tradition has been watching the Stooges marathon and Clark doing the countdown for as far back as I can even remember. RIP Dick. Wont be the same without you."

Another auld lang syne?

HarryWortz: "Without Dick Clark, there can be no New Year's Eve. Maybe the Mayans were right."

How will you remember Clark? Express your opinion in the comments area below and in the latest stories on CNN.com. Or share photos and videos via CNN iReport.

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

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Filed under: Celebrity • iReport • Music • Overheard on CNN.com • Showbiz
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. JoAnn

    Not to take anything from Dick Clark,but he was not the brains behind American Bandstand. Bob Horn, a Philadelphia disc jockey was.

    April 18, 2012 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • nsaidi

      The nationally televised program "American Bandstand" as we know it was hosted by Dick Clark, but you have a point there, as the concept came from Bob Horn's "Bandstand," which was on when the two men were both working for WFIL in Philadelphia. (Horn was fired and Clark took over.)

      April 18, 2012 at 10:17 pm | Report abuse |
  2. AMERICA 1st

    Rest in peace, Dick Clark! Your amazing journey is come to an end and you can now be with God! You made many thousands of lives a bit more enjoyable thru the years and we will all remember you for that. Go now to your eternal rest and suffer no more and know you will be missed!

    April 18, 2012 at 11:36 pm | Report abuse |
  3. TORI ©

    Dick Clark is being fondly remembered in France today. He made an impact on generations not just in the states but internationally. Some hard shelled news people were in tears. I recall my grandparents always talking about Dick Clark. My Grandfather looked just like him and he sang songs to me from that era. To my blogging family I will "see" you on Sunday.

    April 19, 2012 at 12:15 am | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      TORI, love!
      Safe journey home!
      Can't wait to "see" you!

      April 19, 2012 at 12:25 am | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      I have missed you, too.
      I have been neglectful concerning you; I never emailed you....it's hard on this dumb phone.
      I shall try to do better.
      I promise.

      April 19, 2012 at 12:39 am | Report abuse |
  4. TORI ©

    @banasy, I have missed you! Thank you, I know I will be jet lagged but it will be good to be home.

    April 19, 2012 at 12:33 am | Report abuse |
  5. TORI ©

    @banasy, Please don't worry, my yahoo account is messed up. Between my email address at The Sorbonne and at the newspaper, I hardly emailed at all. I understand the phone garbage. I was better off with my BB than this Droid. My dad brought the phone over here when we met in Spain.

    April 19, 2012 at 12:45 am | Report abuse |
  6. Sofa King

    Oh no. Now who will play Robin in a Batman TV show reunion?

    April 19, 2012 at 1:05 am | Report abuse |
    • Cricket

      Not the same Dick, but thanks for the chuckle.

      Saturday mornings with the Bandstand. Sigh. RIP, Mr. Clark.

      April 19, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
  7. ShawnDH

    Dick Clark was a talented presenter and successful producer, but I don't get the whole "defying and denying aging" stuff. He was old, looked old, was in poor health and didn't even live particularly long by modern standards. I just don't get it.

    April 19, 2012 at 9:04 am | Report abuse |
  8. BOMBO ©

    He spent the last 55 years of his life as the world's youngest senior citizen.

    April 19, 2012 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |

    When I was a kid I always used to watch American Bandstand and loved it

    April 20, 2012 at 7:25 am | Report abuse |