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Dick Clark Papers

An inventory of the collection at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: MRC
Date: 7 Nov 2011

Biographical History

Dick Clark (1929-2012) was an American radio and television personality. Over the course of his career he hosted radio shows (Dick Clark Radio Show; Rock, Roll and Remember; Dick Clark National Music Survey), game shows (Pyramid) and television shows and specials, including American Bandstand and his own Dick Clark Show, which ran on Saturday nights from 1958 to 1960. His company dick clark productions [sic], founded in 1957, has produced shows, specials and movies ranging from classic to contemporary, such as American Bandstand (1952-1989) and the popular So You Think You Can Dance. The company was sold in 2007 and as of 2020 is part of entertainment conglomerate MRC under their Live & Alternative division.

Clark was a founding partner of the United Stations radio company. With Nick Verbitsky, Chief Operating Officer at Mutual Radio, Clark formed the company in 1981, and among the company's first shows was Dick Clark's Rock, Roll & Remember. Within twelve years United Stations had become one of America's top three radio networks. By 1994 the company had acquired or merged with several others, including RKO Radio Networks, and was renamed Unistar Communications. In 1994 Clark and Verbitsky resurrected the original name and formed the United Stations Radio Networks; today USRN is the largest independently owned and operated radio network in America and provides comedy writing, production and talent services to more than 600 stations.

Clark is perhaps best known for his annual appearance as host of Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve, broadcast live from Times Square in New York every December 31 since 1972. Although a stroke in December of 2004 prevented him from hosting that year, he returned in 2005 and continued to host the show with Ryan Seacrest until his death in 2012. Clark received numerous awards and recognitions for his contributions to the profession, including four Emmys and a Peabody; induction into the National Radio Hall of Fame, the Broadcasting Magazine Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Dick Clark Papers includes correspondence, interviews, proposals, scrapbooks, scripts, and recordings.

Correspondence contains only a few letters and notes.

Interviews consists of notes and recordings. The notes are from interviews primarily with musicians: singers, songwriters, band members, record producers, and so on. Some are annotated with the show on which the interview aired. These are in alphabetical order by name, beginning with "M"; folders for A through L were not included in the donated collection. The recordings, on audiocassettes, are primarily with movie and television actors.

Proposals for Clark's company, dick clark productions [sic], include a game show, a television episode, and a radio show.

The majority of the collection consists of Recordings of Dick Clark's most well-known and long-running radio programs.

Recordings, Countdown America (approximately 470 episodes) began in 1986 as a four-hour show counting down the Top 30 hits of the day. The show switched to three hours in 1991 and reduced its coverage to the Top 20 hits. Clark began hosting the show in late 1985. The show continued until the weekend of December 31, 1994, when its name was changed to Dick Clark’s U.S. Music Survey (see below).

Recordings, Dick Clark in Hollywood (approximately 500 episodes) was a series of ninety-second (1:30) reports hosted by Dick Clark, consisting of interviews with Hollywood actors, writer, directors etc. Most of the interviews were conducted by radio department personnel, with introductions written to create the illusion that Clark had done the interview personally (for example, Clark's intro might say, "Tom Hanks has a new movie out and when he stopped by I asked him about his early days starring in Bosom Buddies.") The show ran from February 20, 1989 to July 15, 1990.

Recordings, Dick Clark's Music Machine (approximately 80 episodes) was a three-hour oldies show that aired in the mid-1970s. The first hour was oldies, the second hour was current hits, and the third hour was up and coming music and artists. The Oldies Hour was much more popular than the other two hours and eventually became its own show, Dick Clark's Solid Gold (see below).

Recordings, Dick Clark's National Music Survey (approximately 230 episodes) was created in 1981 by Dick Clark for the Mutual Broadcasting System. The show counted down the top 30 contemporary hits of the week in direct competition with American Top 40.

Recordings, Dick Clark's Solid Gold (approximately 350 episodes) was a one-hour "oldies" show, a spin-off of the popular oldies hour on The Dick Clark Music Machine.

Recordings, Dick Clark's U.S. Music Survey (approximately 360 episodes) was the successor to Countdown America. It began airing the weekend of January 7-8, 1995 and continued until December 2004 with Dick Clark as host. Following Clark’s stroke in December of 2004, voiceover talent Jeff Robins filled in briefly, followed by permanent guest host Mark Wallengren of Los Angeles radio station KOST-FM. Wllengren hosted the show until it ceased production in December 2005.

Recordings, Rock, Roll and Remember (approximately 1000 episodes) began in 1982. Gene Weed appears as co-host from show #002 (February 20-21, 1982) to show #048 (Jan 8-9, 1983) and Mark Elliot appears as co-host from show #049 (Jan 15-16, 1983) to show #194 (Oct 26-27, 1985). Dick Clark is the only host as of show #195 (November 2-3, 1985). The last original show with Clark aired the weekend of January 1-2, 2005 (pre-recorded shortly before his stroke). After that date, the show continued in syndication with repeat episodes from the archives. It currently (as of 2013) airs on stations around the country.

Recordings, Specials and one-time shows (approximately 100 items) include the American Music Awards, American Country Music Awards, and specials on specific artists or themes (Beach Boys, Elvis, Pat Benatar, Journey, Golden Years of Motown, Top 30 Artists of All Time, Dick Clark's Summer Memories, etc.). A variety of formats are represented, from reels to large-format BetaMax and VHS.

More than 250 Scrapbooks contain clippings covering Clark's life, work, and career.

Scripts consists of annotated scripts for several hundred episodes of Countdown America, Rock Roll and Remember, and the US Music Survey, as well as for a few specials such as the American Country Music Awards. Many of these also include cue sheets (lists of commercial spots).

Issues of TV Guide span more than fifty years of the magazine, providing a comprehensive picture of the television landscape at the time.

A small amount of Miscellaneous material completes the collection. Most of this consists of lists of names, dates, interviews, program topics, and so on,

[Portions of this description generously provided by Jim Zoller, producer, writer and engineer at Dick Clark Productions for more than twenty years.]

Arrangement of the Collection

Within each series, material is ordered alphabetically by show title. Within each show, episodes are ordered chronologically.


Access Restrictions:

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Access to recordings requires advance notice in order for staff to produce a use copy.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Related Material

More than 150 issues of Rolling Stone have been transferred to Rare Books for cataloging. Please refer to the Classic Catalog to locate these items.

Subject Headings


Clark, Dick, 1929-2012.

Corporate Bodies

Dick Clark Productions (Firm)

Associated Titles

Countdown America (Radio program)
Dick Clark in Hollywood (Radio program)
Dick Clark's Music Machine (Radio program)
Dick Clark's National Music Survey (Radio program)
Dick Clark's Solid Gold (Radio program)
Rock, Roll and Remember (Radio program)


Country music music -- United States -- History.
Disc jockeys -- United States.
Popular culture -- United States.
Popular music -- United States.
Radio broadcasters -- United States.
Radio broadcasting -- United States -- History.
Rock music -- United States -- History.
Television personalities -- United States.
Television producers and directors -- United States.
Television specials -- Awards.
Television specials -- Country music.
Television specials -- Rock music.
Variety shows (Television programs)

Genres and Forms

Clippings (information artifacts)
Sound recordings.


Radio broadcasters.
Television personalities.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Dick Clark Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of Dick Clark, 2009.

Table of Contents




Recordings: Countdown America (CDA)

Recordings: Dick Clark in Hollywood (DCIH)

Recordings: Dick Clark's Music Machine (DCMM)

Recordings: Dick Clark's National Music Survey (NMS)

Recordings: Dick Clark's Solid Gold (DCSG)

Recordings: Dick Clark's U.S. Music Survey (USMS)

Recordings: Rock, Roll and Remember (RRR)

Recordings: Specials and miscellaneous



TV Guides