Thursday, April 19, 2012


Over the next few days, I'm sure you'll be seeing plenty of memorial tributes to Dick Clark, who passed away at the age of 82. Many of those will focus on his iconic status as a TV legend, his skill in front of and behind the cameras with 'American Bandstand' as the centerpiece. (But I think his duties ushering in the New Year with ABC's 'New Year's Rockin' Eve' will also be more of a factor than I think it probably should.)

Blog posts, newspaper and magazine columns.... The best I've seen so far, by the way, was a report by Jack Cafferty on CNN about how instrumental he was in the integration of TV during a tense and troubled time in our nation's history.

Dick Clark also contributed several citizens to Toobworld, mostly during the early part of his rise to national prominence - a couple of guest star shots on 'Burke's Law', a very prominent role in the final episode of 'Perry Mason' (and I think you can figure out what that means), and he is the televersion embodiment of an historical figure - circus impresario James A. Bailey (as seen in 'Branded'.)

But as his fame with 'American Bandstand' grew to epic proportions, his presence as a TV personality made it practically impossible for him to be seen as anybody else but Dick Clark, as happened to League of Themselves members Milton Berle, George Burns, and Bob Hope before him.

So I'm taking this opportunity to salute his fictional presence in Toobworld, that televersion of Dick Clark portrayed by the original.

2000 was the second year of the TV Crossover Hall Of Fame, and I declared it to be the "Year Of The Women" when it came to inductees. (Lucille Ball and some of her characters were going to take up the first third of the year anyway!) But there were two exceptions - in October we saluted Captain Kangaroo on the 45th anniversary of his TV show, and Dick Clark was feted in December. It seemed apt, with the 'New Year's Rockin' Eve' coming up at the end of the month - and as it was leading into 2001, the TRUE beginning of the new millennium, nobody but Dick Clark would do.

Inductees into the TV Crossover Hall Of Fame must have three separate items on their "resume" in order to be eligible. More than a decade ago, Dick Clark had more than enough credits to qualify.

Take a gander at this list of credits in which Dick Clark played himself:

Baby Bob
You Don't Know Jack

Just Shoot Me!
Mr. Jealousy

Tangled Up in Blue (TV movie)

Dharma & Greg
Mission: Implausible
Bed, Bath and Beyond
Invasion of the Buddy Snatcher

The Price of Their Toys

The X-Files

(Seen on TV hosting the New Year's Eve special)

Sabrina, the Teenage Witch

And the Sabrina Goes to...

Murphy Brown

Opus One

A Girl's Gotta Love a Wedding

Hangin' with Mr. Cooper

The Drew Carey Show

Drew's the Other Man

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

I, Whoops, There It Is
The Philadelphia Story

Mad About You

New Year's Eve

A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes: The Annette Funicello Story
(TV movie)


The One with the Monkey

Will You Marry Me?
(TV movie)


Blossom - A Rockumentary

The People Next Door
Dream Date

The Return of Bruno (TV movie)

Police Squad!

Testimony of Evil (Dead Men Don't Laugh)

The Odd Couple

The New Car

The Partridge Family
Star Quality

Shoot a Crooked Arrow

The Jack Benny Program

Dick Clark Show

The commercials he did for Havoline Motor Oil, Ballatore, Dairy Queen, Nabisco Shredded Wheat, and Office Depot would also count towards Dick Clark's televersion presence in Toobworld, as would a music video for the Muppets' cover of "She Drives Me Crazy".

Dick Clark also had a presence in the Tooniverse:

The Simpsons
Treehouse of Horror X
(Although that would be set in an alternate Tooniverse....)

Space Pilot 3000

Yes, Mikey, Santa Does Shave: Part 1
Yes, Mikey, Santa Does Shave: Part 2

Pinky and the Brain

The Pinky and the Brain Reunion Special

Fantastic Four
The Origin of the Fantastic Four: Part 1
The Origin of the Fantastic Four: Part 2

Differences in animation styles have no bearing in the Tooniverse. The characters in the Tooniverse should see each other as being the same despite having divergent artistic designs*, whereas the Trueniverse audience could differentiate between the varieties of artwork. Allowances have to be made, otherwise a splainin would have to be found as to why Dick Clark looks so "hulked" up when he hosted that telethon featuring the Fantastic Four!

(* There are exceptions, like the housemates in 'Drawn Together'.)

On 'Family Guy', Dick Clark was voiced by Joey Slotnick, but he's still part of the Tooniverse, not shunted off to some different dimension.

On the other hand, Dick Clark produced a TV show called 'American Dreams', which was centered around 'American Bandstand'. In that, the younger Dick Clark was portrayed by Paul D. Roberts. Since Dick Clark himself already held sway in Toobworld as his own televersion on 'American Bandstand', 'American Dreams' belongs in another TV dimension. (Which is just as well, since it had other Zonks - like Paris Hilton as Barbara Eden backstage at 'I Dream Of Jeannie'. My problem with 'American Dreams' Zonking Jeannie was bad enough, but such a leaden portrayal of the effervescenet Ms. Eden shouldn't be tolerated in Toobworld!)

And although he didn't actually appear in the three sketches, Dick Clark has a presence in Skitlandia, thanks to David Spade playing his appointment secretary on 'Saturday Night Live' (even making Jesus Christ wait in the reception area!)

Most of Dick Clark's fictionalized appearances as himself stemmed from his connection to the music biz and/or work behind the scenes in TV. For instance, when he interviewed Danny Partridge of 'The Partridge Family'.

 But sometimes there were those moments which could only happen in Toobworld, and Clark must have been self-assured enough to just run with whatever idea they came up with.

There was the time that he showed up with dozens of other people for a wild party with Dharma Liberty Finkelstein Montgomery - which threatened to turn into an orgy. When he realized it was Dharma's husband Greg who met him at the door, Dick Clark eagerly schpritzed his mouth with Binaca - as if in anticipation of letting the good times roll.

And then we found out how Dick Clark was able to stay ahead of the game in the music biz.....

(That scene also went a long way in splainin how he was able to remain the "world's oldest teenager"!)

Most of the time Clark was to be found in the Toobworld versions of Los Angeles or New York City, and of course his home base of Philadelphia. But every so often he had to travel to other cities not found on the maps of the Trueniverse....

One last O'Bservation of Dick Clark's televersion.....

As he was best known for charting the trends in the musical tastes of America's youth, it made sense that he should make a cameo in the music video which Drew Carey made for "What Is Hip?"

Also on that couch were Flip Wilson and HR Pufnstuf, who was voiced by Len Weinrib. Both of them have since passed away, and now Dick Clark has joined them. (Daws Butler provided the voice for Bingo, also on the couch with Pufnstuf, but he died in 1988....)

Dick Clark may be gone now, but at least we know that in the Tooniverse, he will return by the year 2999.....

As Red Skelton would often say, Good night and may God bless......

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