Over the years, "American Bandstand" host Dick Clark appeared several times in Omaha. In 1964, Clark hosted his "Caravan of the Stars" tour at Rosenblatt Stadium, and in 1983, Clark appeared to promote his Top 40 countdown radio show.
From 1962 to 1964, Omaha musician Johnny Ray Gomez hosted "Channel 7 Dancestand," a takeoff of Clark's TV show. The locally produced show followed "Bandstand" on TV and featured dancers from local high schools such as Central, South, Creighton Prep and Marian. After the show aired, Gomez would sit with director Pete Kouris and watch tapes of Clark to get better at being a host.
"Dick Clark was it," said Gomez, 68. "The way he held his mic, the way he got each entertainer to plug their records but to do it in such a way that it was interesting — Dick was a master."
Gomez also attended Clark's concert at Rosenblatt but wasn't able to meet him. At the time, Gomez worked for KETV, but Clark was such a big star that they couldn't even take a photo of him.
"What a show that was," Gomez said. "You think of television and the golden oldies, that's Dick Clark." "Caravan" stars included Bobby Freeman and Fabian.
When he came here in 1983, Clark was presented with a key to the city and spoke about music videos, which were on the rise at the time with the debut of MTV. Clark said music videos were older than "Bandstand," but he wasn't sure how long the phenomenon would last.
"I don't know how long people can put up with out-of-focus shots, smoke and slow motion. I think music is basically a listening medium," he told The World-Herald.
Omahan Fred Jalass used to watch "American Bandstand" because he liked to watch the dancers.
"He surely will be missed," he said. "I think he was loved by everyone. He's an icon."
Cindy Workman of Omaha once met Clark when she was living in Los Angeles. While she was at a friend's beach house, a neighbor walked out of his home and greeted them, saying it was a stunning view.
"I looked over and my first thought was, 'That looks just like Dick Clark,' " she said. "We sat there and chatted with him for a while, and then the sun went down and he went back inside his place. I looked at my friend and he just smiled and said, 'Yup, that was Dick Clark.'"
World-Herald researcher Jeanne Hauser contributed to this report.
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Cheri Halda of Ralston wrote of Dick Clark:
"I met him about 20 or 25 years ago when he came to Omaha on a radio promotion. I remember driving to the Old Mill shops and dropping my entry in a box at one of the stores to try to win a pass to meet him.
"I wasn't contacted that I had won one of the passes until the day of the event. I couldn't find any of my friends to go at the last minute, so I took my mom because she was always up to doing anything.
"Dick was very nice, classy, polite. He loved my mom. He chose a few people to line up in front of the news camera and he went to each one to ask his or her age (like he would do on 'American Bandstand').
"I was one of the ones chosen. Everyone was 19, 20, 21. Then there was me ... 30-something. I started giggling because I felt so old and knew Dick had not realized I was in my 30s. He had his back to the camera, and he also started laughing. Not sure if that part made it to the evening news.
"I never was sent the picture from the station that was taken with him and me. I wish I had that now."