“I wouldn’t have missed this for the world.”
It was both sad and fantastic at the same time. Last night, Dick Clark was back. Back in front of the camera, back in Time Square counting down to the new year. Yet, viewers didn’t see or hear the same Dick Clark that they’ve known for decades on television. This Dick Clark was clearly different. This Dick Clark was a superhero. An inspiration. A professional in every sense of the word.
Clark, sitting behind a desk with the street scene in the background, sounded hoarse and occasionally was hard to understand, but he said, “I wouldn’t have missed this for the world.”
“Last year I had a stroke,” he explained. “It left me in bad shape. I had to teach myself how to walk and talk again. It’s been a long, hard fight. My speech is not perfect but I’m getting there.”
After his Dec. 6, 2004, stroke, Clark had to sit out “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” last year for the first time since starting it in 1972. Regis Philbin was his emergency sub.
Clark, 76, declined interviews and television appearances as he rehabilitated, and his spokesman said the former “American Bandstand” host viewed New Year’s as his personal coming-out party. Tabloid pictures of Clark using a cane or wheelchair led to questions about whether he was up to it.
He remained seated during “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve,” his right hand resting on the desk and his left arm by his side. Clark counted down the seconds until the ball dropped. He stayed at his desk past 1 a.m. as the crowds thinned out.
“I’ve had a wonderful time tonight,” he said. “There’s nothing like being in Times Square on New Year’s Eve and believe me, this is one night I will never, ever forget.
Incredible bravery. While many celebrities wouldn’t have had the guts to show themselves on TV, Dick Clark did. There are few like him, and he deserves every accolade offered up. Bravo Dick.