The television pioneer’s legacy was honored in several films, including ‘Grease’ and ‘Hairspray.’
By Kevin P. Sullivan
Dick Clark, who died early Wednesday morning (April 18) from a heart attack at the age of 82, was a television pioneer. But Clark’s influence reached far beyond “American Bandstand” and onto the silver screen as well. His legacy was honored, imitated and questioned in many films throughout his lifetime.
Here are five of Dick Clark’s most memorable movie moments.
The Golden Globe Awards
For years, Dick Clark Productions produced the yearly awards show for film and television. The Globes, awarded by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, were seen as the earliest indication of which films would win at the Academy Awards. Clark worked as an announcer for the ceremony and would occasionally appear backstage.
“Confessions of a Dangerous Mind”
Clark appeared in the interview segments of George Clooney’s directorial debut, “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind,” a supposed biography of game-show producer Chuck Barris. The two TV legends worked at ABC during the same period. Clark was working on “American Bandstand” while Barris worked as a standards-and-practices executive.
Since the debut of perhaps Clarks’ most iconic work with “American Bandstand,” films have featured similar dance programs as either homage or parody. The film version of “Grease” featured a dance contest and a similar format called “National Bandstand.”
Similarly in another John Travolta film, “The Corny Collins Shows” riffed on the television staple. In that film, James Marsden played a show host named Corny Collins, who hosted a “Bandstand”-type show that feature a segregated cast of teen dancers.
“Bowling for Columbine”
Michael Moore targeted Clark for his documentary on gun violence. In “Bowling for Columbine,” Moore sought an interview with Clark because the son of an employee at one of Clark’s restaurants killed a classmate. Moore connected the poor working conditions and the low pay at Clark’s restaurant to some of the factors behind the shooting.