At the peak of his American Bandstand fame, Clark also hosted a thirty-minute Saturday night program called The Dick Clark Show (aka The Dick Clark Saturday Night Beech-Nut Show). It aired from February 15, 1958, until September 10, 1960, on the ABC television network. It was broadcast live from the “Little Theater” in New York City and was sponsored by Beech-Nut Gum. It featured the rock stars of the day lip synching their hits, just as on American Bandstand. However, unlike the afternoon Bandstand program which focused on the dance floor with the teen age audience demonstrating the latest dance steps, the audience of The Dick Clark Show (consisting mostly of squealing girls) sat in a traditional theater setting. While some of the musical numbers were presented simply, others were major production numbers.
The high point of the show was the unveiling with great fanfare at the end of each program, by Clark, of the top ten records of the coming week. This ritual became so embedded in popular culture that to this day it is satirized nightly by David Letterman. In the 1986 comedy-drama Peggy Sue Got Married, Kathleen Turner’s character after being transported back to the spring of 1960 is supposedly watching American Bandstand on television. The clip used in the movie, however, is actually of the Dick Clark Saturday night show, because the teen age audience is not dancing but sitting in a theater. In addition, members of the audience were wearing the “IFIC” buttons based upon the Beech-Nut Gum advertising slogan of the late 1950s (“It’s FlavorIFIC”). Beech-Nut sponsored the Clark Saturday night show and sponsored the top 10 countdown board on American Bandstand.
From September 27 to December 20, 1959, Clark hosted a thirty-minute weekly talent/variety series entitled Dick Clark’s World of Talent at 10:30 p.m. on Sunday nights on ABC. A variation of producer Irving Mansfield’s earlier CBS series, This Is Show Business (1949–1956), it featured three celebrity panelists, including comedian Jack E. Leonard, judging and offering advice to amateur and semi-professional performers. While this show was not a success, during its nearly three month duration, Clark was one of the few personalities in television history on the air nationwide seven days a week. Clark has been involved in a number of other television series and specials as producer and performer. One of his most well-known guest appearances was in the final episode of the original Perry Mason TV series (“The Case of the Final Fadeout”) in which he was revealed to be the killer in a dramatic courtroom scene. In 1973, he created the American Music Awards show, which he produces annually. Intended as competition for the Grammy Awards, in some years it gained a bigger audience than the Grammys due to being more in touch with popular trends.
Clark attempted to branch into the realm of soul music with the series Soul Unlimited in 1973. The series, hosted by Buster Jones, was a more risqué and controversial imitator of the then-popular series Soul Train and alternated in the Bandstand time slot. The series lasted for only a few episodes. Despite a feud between Clark and Soul Train creator and host Don Cornelius, the two would later collaborate on several specials featuring black artists.
He hosted the short-lived Dick Clark’s LIVE Wednesday in 1978. In 1984, Clark produced and co-hosted with Ed McMahon the NBC series TV’s Bloopers & Practical Jokes. The series ran through 1988 and continued in specials hosted by Clark (sometimes joined by another TV personality) into the 21st century, first on NBC, later on ABC, and currently on TBS (the last version re-edited into in 15 minute/filler segments airing at about 5 A.M.). Clark and McMahon were longtime Philadelphia acquaintances, and McMahon has praised Clark for first bringing him together with future TV partner Johnny Carson when all three worked at ABC in the late 1950s. The “Bloopers” franchise stems from the Clark-hosted (and produced) NBC “Bloopers” specials of the early 1980s, inspired by the books, record albums and appearances of Kermit Schafer, a radio and TV producer who first popularized outtakes of broadcasts.