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Dick Clark Productions, Inc. Business Information, Profile, and History

television bandstand american company

3003 W. Olive Avenue
Burbank, California 91505
U.S.A.

Company Perspectives:

Television is the heart of our business and has acted as the catalyst for our new enterprises in the restaurant and corporate communications areas, infusing them with the entertainment aura and expertise that enhance the potential of these businesses. We are known for high-quality production of popular event and entertainment specials, series and movies that are delivered on time and on budget.... We have broad expertise and a talented staff of production professionals who combine youth with experience and are responsive to all key audience segments. We also have access to top production personnel and talent to round out our competitive television production capabilities.

History of Dick Clark Productions, Inc.

Inextricably wed to the fame of its founder, dick clark productions, inc. operates as an entertainment company with its business interests organized in three segments: television production, corporate communications, and entertainment-themed restaurants. Established by Dick Clark in 1957, dick clark productions was built on the success of its founder's near four-decade reign as the host of the widely popular "American Bandstand." From the popularity of this television program, Dick Clark, the company's chairman and chief executive officer, assembled a multifaceted corporation that rivaled his storied career as the host of numerous radio and television programs and specials. In 1995, Dick Clark's dick clark productions generated $46.6 million in sales.

Referred to for decades as "America's oldest teenager," Richard W. Clark got his start in the entertainment business during his teenage years, beginning a career that would flourish for more than a half century. The son of a Mount Vernon, New York, commodities broker who would go on to own a cosmetics firm and a radio station, Richard "Dick" Clark landed his first job in the industry at age 17 when he began working at WRUN radio in Utica, New York. By the time Clark enrolled at Syracuse University in 1947, he knew he wanted to make a living in the radio business, deciding early on in his adulthood that working in the entertainment industry was his calling. After he was graduated from Syracuse with a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration, Clark made the jump to television, serving as the news anchorman at television station WKTV. After a short stint there, Clark moved to Philadelphia in 1952 to work for WFIL radio and television.

"American Bandstand" Created in 1957

The move to Philadelphia providentially placed Clark in the right location at the right time, though it would be another four years before the opportunity arrived that would launch the young Clark toward fame and wealth. When Clark joined WFIL in 1952, a television show at the station called "Bandstand" began airing to a regional audience. Four years later, in 1956, Clark was named host of the program, starting out, as he would later write in his autobiography, when, "I don't think I knew more than one or two tunes on the music list. I listened to the kids and let them tell me what they liked." Clark explained further, "I knew that if I could tune into them and keep myself on the show, I could make a great deal of money."

More than the host of a music show, Clark was already demonstrating a predisposition to the business side of the entertainment industry, a perspective fostered, no doubt, during his years at Syracuse University. Clark did not strike out to become a radio or television star; his aspirations were comparatively modest. Clark was interested in a career, either on-air or behind the scenes, knowing that the latter offered the greatest chance of a stable working life. Nevertheless, he threw himself into his new job as the host of "Bandstand," giving himself the opportunity to use his on-screen fame to assemble a corporate empire, the foundation of which rested firmly on the success of the new show he took over in 1956.

In 1956, however, Clark was neither famous nor was "Bandstand" a television show that could support a corporate empire. This would change quickly. Clark made an enormous leap toward elevating the popularity of his show and the familiarity of his name one year after he became host. In 1957, Clark persuaded the ABC network to broadcast "Bandstand" nationally, which ABC did in August 1957, airing the show--which was renamed "American Bandstand" to reflect its national audience--five afternoons a week.

So began a national institution, a television show that would propel largely unknown musicians toward stardom and dictate fashion and musical tastes for decades to come. Built around a format that included musical performances by the legendary and the yet-to-be discovered, "American Bandstand" proved to be a smashing success, winning the hearts of teenagers throughout the country. For those lucky few who gained admittance as audience members (then took the stage and danced to the week's hottest hits, offering commentary on the music in between their renditions of the "Twist", "The Cha-Lypso," and the "Locomotion,") "American Bandstand" offered the chance to listen and hear the latest entertainment phenoms, an opportunity not lost on television viewers throughout the United States. Within a few short weeks after Clark convinced ABC to carry the program nationwide, "American Bandstand" eclipsed the popularity of all its rival television shows, quickly becoming the country's highest-rated daytime show.

After those first few weeks, "American Bandstand" went on to achieve unparalleled success, beginning a run that would span 37 years, making the show the longest-running music/variety program in television history. "American Bandstand" viewers and audience members witnessed the debut performances of Frankie Avalon, the Everly Brothers, and Chubby Checker during the 1950s, were there to see The Doors, Aretha Franklin, and Little Stevie Wonder during the 1960s, the Carpenters and the Jackson Five during the 1970s, and rising stars Madonna and Prince during the 1980s. In the end, "American Bandstand" did indeed represent a more than adequate foundation upon which to build a corporate empire, but Clark did not wait for his later success to spur him toward distinction in the business world. Clark formed his company in 1957, the same year he approached ABC executives about turning "Bandstand" into a nationally broadcast program, naming his corporate entity "Click."

Before "American Bandstand" vaulted itself into television history, Richard W. Clark, the businessman, was orchestrating the assemblage of a business that could compensate for the caprice of stardom. "The one thing I did know very early in the game," Clark later confided to the Los Angeles Business Journal, "was that being a performer does not necessarily carry with it a lot of longevity. That's why I became a producer." Despite the fact that the popularity of "American Bandstand" was exceeding even the most optimistic expectations, Clark did not limit his activities to hosting a five-day-a-week television program. Instead, he devoted his off-hours to assembling and then acting as disk jockey at sock hops in the Philadelphia area, charging teenagers 75 cents each to dance to the latest music hits, much like his "day job" as the host of the increasingly popular "American Bandstand."

By the end of the 1950s, as "American Bandstand" was capturing the country's attention, Clark, according to his estimates, was netting $50,000 a year from the sock hops alone. To this prodigious sum he would add the money gleaned from his ownership of record companies, music-publishing companies, a record distributor, and a record-pressing plant. In addition to these business activities, Clark and another WFIL employee were entirely responsible for producing "American Bandstand," spending countless hours in the stark offices of WFIL, superintending the creation and organization of the most popular music television program in the United States.

The corporate organization for all of Clark's variegated business interests was dick clark productions, inc., the successor to Click, a company whose corporate title was not capitalized, yet served as a corporate repository of sorts for an entertainment personality whose career spelled success in capital letters. Eventually, dick clark productions would be responsible for more than 7,500 hours of entertainment programming, more than 250 television specials, and more than 20 theatrical and television movies, while its chairman and chief executive officer, Dick Clark, would expand upon the recognition he earned as the never-aging host of "American Bandstand" to become a ubiquitous presence on U.S. television and radio. While watching the whimsical cavalcade of fashion pass from year to year from his sentinel position as host of "American Bandstand," Clark took on other assignments with relish, serving as host for "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve," the highest-rated New Year special, hosting "TV's Bloopers and Practical Jokes," and hosting an assortment of game shows, most notably the "$25,000 Pyramid." Clark wrote books, emceed beauty pageants, and talked over the airwaves as host of two nationally syndicated radio shows. In an industry where longevity was the exception, Clark built a before-the-scenes career that was unique, becoming the only person to host top-rated series on all three networks and in syndication at the same time.

Remarkably, amid the television and radio appearances that made Clark's youthful face famous, Clark was as active behind the camera and microphone as he was in front of it, living out, in effect, a separate life as Richard W. Clark, chairman and chief executive officer of dick clark productions. Clark, as a businessman, became known for his focus on the bottom line and for his attention to producing a program on time and on budget. Clark was also known for his strict scheduling, belying the easygoing nature that characterized his public persona. It was not uncommon for Clark to schedule a 12-minute meeting, or to arrange meetings to begin at precisely 17 minutes after the hour. "Dick is not the kind of guy who will sit for hours swapping stories over a cup of coffee," a network executive once noted. Instead, Clark pursued his business interests with the same energy he devoted to his entertainment career. For Clark and dick clark productions, the marriage of affable host and focused businessman proved to be a lucrative mix.

Company Moves to Los Angeles in the 1960s

Dick clark productions moved West in 1964, intent on expanding its entertainment business. The company opened an office on Sunset Boulevard and began producing not only "American Bandstand," but other pop-music shows and several low-budget movies. Clark was clear with his intentions for his company, later framing his corporate desires succinctly to a reporter from the Los Angeles Business Journal. "We want to do anything," Clark said, "of a recurring nature, anything that's on regularly, whether it be once a year, once a month, five days a week, or once a week. Anything that's on regularly gives you financial stability, and that's what we're seeking." Once established in Los Angeles, dick clark productions would go on to become a leading independent producer of a wide range of television programming for major television networks, cable networks, syndications, and advertisers, producing award shows, entertainment specials, comedy specials, talk show series, and television movies. As the resume of Dick Clark grew, so did his company, becoming, by itself a fixture within the entertainment industry.

In 1972, dick clark productions entered the field of prime-time television programming, producing the first "American Music Awards" program of many to follow. Six years later, in 1978, the company signed a multi-million dollar development and production agreement with NBC. The contract represented one of the largest ever signed at the time, and gave dick clark productions the mandate to produce movies, specials, and series for television.

Public Offering in the 1980s

In the wake of this mega-deal, annual revenues and net income for dick clark productions tripled between 1982 and 1986, the last year the company would operate as a privately-owned concern. In 1987, when dick clark productions became a publicly-traded corporation, the company was coming off a year during which it had generated $32.3 million in sales and more than $4 million in profit, sizeable financial totals to be sure, but the company needed greater financial resources to continue the legacy of growth established during the previous 30 years. Hoping to gain "a little more ability to spend money on more people and develop more projects," Clark took his company public in January 1987, offering dick clark productions common stock in an initial public offering that collected roughly $8 million.

Two years after the public offering that ceded 15 percent ownership in dick clark productions, the company formed a booking division, establishing the dick clark agency in Burbank, California, as a full-service concert tour and club booking enterprise to widen the scope of Clark's entertainment business interests. In 1991, another subsidiary was formed, dick clark corporate productions, which operated as a production services firm for numerous corporate events. Through dick clark corporate productions, the parent organized sales presentations, trade shows, and new product introductions, among other events, for stalwart companies such as Apple Computer, AT&T, BMW, Boeing, Honda, IBM, Intel, and Wendy's.

1990s Diversification

The range of dick clark productions' business interests continued to broaden as the 1990s progressed, including the 1992 establishment of a subsidiary named Dick Clark's American Bandstand Grill. For those familiar with the chain of Hard Rock Cafe's dotting the globe, Dick Clark's American Bandstand Grill echoed a familiar refrain, embodying a restaurant concept that strove to wed four decades of "American Bandstand" memorabilia and lore with food to create an entertainment-themed restaurant chain. The first unit opened in 1992 in Overland Park, Kansas, followed by a dance-club version that opened its doors in Reno, Nevada. Two years later, another two units were opened, one in Columbus, Ohio, and another in Indianapolis, with the fifth unit in Cincinnati greeting the expected public in early 1995.

As Dick Clark's American Bandstand Grill developed into a chain, the subsidiary's parent company, dick clark productions, was paving new ground elsewhere. In 1993, the company established a direct television marketing business that touted a propriety line of skin care products sold under the "geviderm" label, then formed CLICK Records in 1994 as a new record label, using the name of the company Dick Clark had originally established in 1957.

CLICK Records was organized in association with Sony Music, enabling dick clark productions to distribute its recordings globally. The addition of this new venture along with the other business interests held by dick clark productions made for a well-rounded and stable company that stood poised during the mid-1990s for growth in the future. As the company prepared for the late 1990s, its stature was reinforced by two television series commitments, one for a syndicated talk show starring television actress Tempestt Bledsoe and another for a 90-minute, weekday talk/variety series for TNN. With these two shows and the bevy of other programs it had produced providing momentum, dick clark productions moved toward the future, its inseparable tie to its founder casting a youthful and energetic light to lead the company forward.

Principal Subsidiaries: The Dick Clark Film Group, Inc.; Dick Clark Features, Inc.; Dick Clark Presentations, Inc.; Dick Clark Media Archives, Inc.; Dick Clark Company Music, Inc.; Dick Clark Restaurants, Inc.; C&C Joint Venture; Match Productions; Dick Clark Productions, Inc.; The dick clark agency, Inc.; Broadcast Arts Joint Venture; Geviderm, Inc., Metcalf Restaurants, Inc.; Reno Entertainment, Inc.; Dick Clark's American Bandstand Club; Buckeye Entertainment, Inc.; Hossier Entertainment, Inc.

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about 6 years ago

A high school friend and I danced on American Bandstand in Philadelphia around l959 in the winter. We did the stroll and we were in the Spotlight Dance. We have our 50th high school reunion coming up and I'd love to get a tape of that show. Is there an archive of each, entire TV show(not just the performers)that I can view?



Thanks.



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over 6 years ago

Is the title: "American Bandstand" a copyrighted name?



Please advise soonest.



Thanks & regards,

Tony Battaglia


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