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Friday, July 08, 2016

Bandstand Man Charts Gidget High


Dick Clark Shills Way Into Movies

Hand-In-Hand w/ Columbia for Because They're Young
Because I am inherently cynical (not really), I wanted to know why Dick Clark chose Gidget to be "The First Movie I've Ever Endorsed." Hints weren't obvious, would stay back-of-scene per all of venturing on Clark's part, the guy barely knowing himself what all he owned piece of. The Four Preps weren't a basis, being California rather than Philadelphia based (Clark w/ talons into virtually all music out of Philly). Then I remembered he made a deal around time, or shortly after, Gidget was released, to produce and star in Because They're Young for Columbia. Here would be Clark's big-screen acting debut, and what better way to assure good will than a thumb-upping for Gidget, no sell-out for Dick, as this was one of the better teen-pics for 1959. That year was peak of Clark scooping cream off rock/roll revenues, owning labels, performers, shows on tour, the caboodle. It had to end, and would, when Payola broke in 1960 and forced DC to give up music enterprise beyond American Bandstand and paychecks ABC gave him. Dick testified brilliantly before Senate investigators and got off hook for pay-offs, while others, like smashed-for-good Alan Freed, began slow dance to oblivion.

8 Comments:

Blogger Stinky Fitzwizzle said...

Have to give Dick Clark credit. Sustaining a 50-year career with absolutely no talent is pretty impressive.

11:05 AM  
Blogger rnigma said...

One of the Four Preps, Glen Larson, would become a successful TV producer (The Six Million Dollar Man, Battlestar Galactica, Knight Rider, etc.)

12:41 PM  
Blogger Donald Benson said...

When I was a mere tad, one of the MAD books offered a 50s piece on "Real Life Fairy Tales".

One involved a television sponsor who was so pleased with the high-quality show set before him, he had it aired without tampering or commercials. Another involved a disc jockey -- who looked a little Dick Clark-ish, if I recollect truly -- angrily refusing to take money for plugging records.

As a kid I thought the whole joke was the modern settings. It was a few decades before I caught on that tasteful sponsors and honest disc jockeys were being offered as fairy tale creatures.

Back when I was in a newspaper PR department, it was understood your press release might get more attention if you delivered it with a box of doughnuts to DJs while they were on the air. Especially if you provided decent pre-fab jokes or some other gimmick they could play with. The ones who gave us a plug usually mentioned the doughnuts, using that as a springboard for jokes.

6:08 PM  
Blogger Jerry Kovar said...

I thought it more outrageous that Dick Clark productions did a couple of AIP flics in the 60s.....PSYCH OUT (drugs) and SAVAGE 7 (bikers). At the time I thought it would be a career killer for Dick's wholesome image but I don't think anybody who'd care saw the films.

7:50 AM  
Blogger Mike Cline said...

Another of DC's AIP movies was KILLERS THREE, shot in North Carolina. I was a theatre projectionist at the time. One of the reels of the print we received was badly out-of-sync, and AIP didn't have a spare to send, so we had to run it that way for a week.

And Dick Clark was the killer in the very last PERRY MASON episode THE CASE OF THE FINAL FADE-OUT.




Re: Stinky Fitzwizzle...Sustaining a 50-year career with absolutely no talent is pretty impressive. George Segal and William Shatner did the same thing.

1:03 PM  
Blogger Scott MacGillivray said...

"Smashed-for-good" might also apply to Dick Clark, who later confessed that he drank his way through the shooting of BECAUSE THEY'RE YOUNG (which could explain why Columbia didn't invite him back). Gotta hand it to Mr. Clark, though, he knew his way around the business and made it pay off.

9:37 PM  
Blogger Ed Watz said...

Looking at the one-sheet I noticed that GIDGET was based upon the novel by Frederic Kohner...the same man who worked on the screenplay of Laurel & Hardy's final film, ATOLL K. I'm mortified...by either credit!

8:09 AM  
Blogger John McElwee said...

Had not noticed that, Ed. Count me among the mortified!

9:45 AM  

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