Posts Tagged ‘interview’

55 Years Ago: Dick Clark becomes Permanent Host of “American Bandstand”

Saturday, July 9th, 2011

Fifty-five years ago, on July 9, 1956 Dick Clark became the permanent host of American Bandstand and his boyish looks and straight-laced style bridged the gap between teenagers and their parents, helping to bring rock ‘n’ roll to the mainstream. The show broadcast locally from Philadelphia starting in 1952 and by August 5, 1957, with Clark taking the show to the top of the ratings, the show went national (its initial title Bandstand was changed to American Bandstand). Records were rated in one of the segments of the show and as was oft said about these songs could easily apply to the show itself: “It has a good beat and you can dance to it.”

In 1999, the Archive of American Television interviewed Dick Clark who talks about his long tenure on American Bandstand as well as his other television ventures including the $10,000 Pyramid and New Year’s Rockin’ Eve.

Interview excerpt – Dick Clark on how American Bandstand came to end end in 1989, after four decades:

Music had changed.  Television had changed. It was much more elaborate. We moved from Philadelphia to L.A. in 1964.  The kids were fashionably dressed for the time: bell bottoms, long hair, and all of that. We went through the 60’s protest era, into the 70’s, the Disco era, the madness of all of that. Into the 80’s and in 1989, I was about to approach 60, and we had taken the show from ABC who wanted it for only a half an hour a week, and I said, “no, we’ll syndicate it.”  Then we took it into cable television, and in its last dying days, it was being done in the daytime at Universal’s amusement park in a parking lot, with no lights, and bare sets. I looked at it one day, and I said, “boy, I always thought of the Bandstand as one my kids. I really don’t want it to be remembered that way. It was my election, I said, just let it go.  We made a big mistake in October of 1989.  We could have kept it on another three months, and then it would have been in the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and the 90s. We missed the 90’s by three months.

Click here to see Dick Clark’s full Archive of American Television interview.

Trailblazing Cinematographer Joseph M. Wilcots Has Died

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

The first African American to join the International Cinematographers Guild, Joseph Wilcots was nominated for an Emmy for his work on Roots. The Archive of American Television interviewed Wilcots on December 5, 2007; his over three-hour Archive interview is now online.

Link to his L.A. Times obituary.

Interview description:
Joseph M. Wilcots was interviewed for three hours plus in Los Angeles, CA. Wilcots spoke about his early interest in photography as a teenager and his filmmaking experiences while serving in the Navy. He described his work, following the service, at the Westheimer Optical House, in particular the creative work being done for the special effects on the original Star Trek series. He related how he became the first African-American member of the camera operators union and identified the slow shift in adding other African-American members into the union over the years. He talked about his work in independent filmmaking and reminisced about some of the people he worked with including director Gordon Parks and cinematographer Robert Surtees. He spoke in great detail about the two projects for which he is most associated, the miniseries: Roots and Roots: The Next Generations in which he served as Directory of Photography. He talked about his approach to the Roots shows (“I wanted to make the audience smell the dirt”), meeting and working with Alex Haley (“Everything he wrote was shootable”), and working with actor Marlon Brando (he says he took 200 pounds off him using a fireplace as the key light). He noted the impact of Roots and what working on the miniseries meant to him. He acknowledged his work on the Alex Haley/Norman Lear series Palmerstown U.S.A. Lastly, he gave his impressions of three individuals for whom he worked for extensively: actor/director George Stanford Brown, Bill Cosby, and Michael Jackson. The interview was conducted by Gary Rutkowski on December 5, 2007.