Dick Clark Still Having a Ball for New Year’s
America's oldest teenager, Dick Clark, actually turned 80 in November. Despite lingering effects from a stroke in 2004, the former American Bandstand host will be back to roll in the new year on ABC's Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve With Ryan Seacrest 2010. Clark talked via e-mail with USA TODAY's Gary Strauss.
Q: How are you feeling these days, and how does the stroke affect your life?
A: I'm feeling fine, though the stroke has slowed me down and made it difficult for me to walk and talk.
Q: You just turned 80. Is it still as thrilling to usher in the new year as it was when you began hosting the show?
A: It's always an exciting evening when we bring in the new year at Times Square. In the early days, the crew consisted of the cameraman, stage manager and my wife. We stood on top of a building with a ladder. These days several hundred people are employed, and the live Times Square coverage is quite an extravaganza!
Q: What are your rituals for before the show?
A: I usually spend the day reading all the newspapers for a summary of the year's events and doing interviews then have a light supper at home. My favorite routine is our little after-telecast get-together for a hamburger and beer at my favorite New York pub, P.J. Clarke's, where I've been going since I was too young for a beer.
Q: What's your favorite anecdote about hosting the New Year's Eve show?
A: The year that the crew in front of me was paying no attention to what I was doing on camera. They were giggling and laughing throughout my comments about the crowd below. When we went off camera, they said, "Turn around." There, high above Times Square in an office window, were several naked celebrants enjoying the New Year's excitement in their own way.
Q: The economy has been in the doldrums, and unemployment remains stubbornly high. What's the effect on celebrations at times like these?
A: Though times are tough, it doesn't seem to have an impact on the spirits of the hundreds of thousands of people gathering to watch the traditional ball drop at midnight. Times Square is still the place to be on New Year's Eve.
Q: Do you make any New Year's resolutions? What are yours for 2010?
A: I avoid making New Year's resolutions, since I inevitably fail to fulfill them.
Q: Will you be back to help host for 2011?
A: I still haven't made up my mind. I still enjoy the honor of sharing in so many people's annual celebration. I wish my delivery was crisp and clean, but due to my stroke I'm happy that Ryan Seacrest now carries the heavier load.
I do the best I can and have been encouraged to continue because I hear it serves to inspire many others.