Dick Clark: A Miami Remembrance

If Ozzie Guillen had been thinking straight (please try to suspend your disbelief to consider this premise), he never would have said what he said about Castro. But he could have said it about Dick Clark, who passed away yesterday:

"I love Dick Clark. I respect Dick Clark. You know why? A lot of people have wanted to kill Dick Clark  (or have at least been mocking his age and betting on him in their Dead Pools) for years. But that [expletive]'s still there."

But he's not anymore, and that's sad. If the death of "America's Oldest Teenager" doesn't make you feel mortal, then we envy you, Edward Cullen. In his epic 60-year career, Clark did everything from play sports DJ and cheesy game show host to testify in front of Congress. People spoke of his eternal youth like some kind of urban legend, but sadly, even Peter Pan's gotta go someday.

Here's how we'll remember Dick, in Miami and beyond.

He was an entrepreneur at heart.
Some Miamians will remember the short-lived run of Dick Clark's American Bandstand Cafe, a 9,000-square-foot Bayside Marketplace eatery that Clark hoped would evolve into a Hard Rock Café-style venture. Its three-year tenure (1990-1993) was less than successful, despite Clark's initial high hopes. For awhile, he would pop into the location twice a month to sign autographs (including a woman's ass, once; play on, player). It's one of his only ventures that was less than monumentally successful. Even so, the chain lives on in Newark, New Jersey; Phoenix, Arizona; and Salt Lake City, Utah. Not a bad track record.

He helped the Fillmore become the stuff of legend.
In our favorite tumultuous decade, the '60s, filming for the Dick Clark show graced the auditorium of the Fillmore. Our favorite Miami Beach mainstay has one hell of a history, and Clark helped make it so.

The dude looked good.
Especially here in Miami, one of the vainest cities in the country, Dick Clark was the ultimate role model. Most Miamians would kill for a glimpse at his genetic secrets. His youth was envied (and parodied) by The Simpsons, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, The Far Side, and countless other comedians and writers. As he always said, "If you want to stay young-looking, pick your parents very carefully." Amen, dude.

TV still honors him, to this day.
Magic City, in its efforts to recreate a 1959 Miami, includes a signed photo of Dick Clark as décor for one of its sets. So despite his demise, at least he'll live on at the Miramar Playa, in all its fictional splendor.

Without him, who would we listen to?
Clark helped launch the careers of people like Buddy Holly, Chubby Checker, Stevie Wonder, and Simon and Garfunkel. He also ended American Bandstand's original all-white policy, helping countless black artists be introduced to the world via the insanely powerful medium of TV. Without his influence, where would American music be today? We could be stuck in a swing music time warp, for all we know.

It's hard to underestimate a career like this one. We salute you, Mr. Clark.

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