I want to say, it was an honor to work at Dick Clark Productions. I met some really great people during my time on “Your Big Break.” This is in no way a bash on the boss. Dick Clark’s car was in the lot when I would come in at the beginning of the day, and it would still be there most nights when I left. He was a hard worker and a polite guy to the lowly people on his staff.
His office was like the Hard Rock Café, every wall was covered with pictures, gold records, plaques and awards. I would spend my lunch time just walking around. It was like a museum of rock history. Across the hall from our set of offices was a full radio booth where the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer recorded his weekly countdown show and oldies show.
I just remembered that the office I shared with one other person was directly above Dick’s office on the first floor. When his producer and friend Larry would get mad at him, Larry would run into our office, jump up and down on the floor and then run out.
I had been working at Dick Clark productions for a few weeks. Word got around that I had a background in television production. The kid of a manager at one of the American Bandstand Grills wanted to interview the boss. I was asked to set up the camera and lights, so Mr. Clark could record the answer. I wish I could remember what he said. The question for a school project was about the use of drugs in the 60s rock scene. Of course, Dick had lived through the time period and knew so many of the artist. I don’t remember what he said because I was still recovering from a bone headed thing, I said to this true tv legend.
His office was dark wood and like the rest of the building it was covered in rock memorabilia. There was a giant bar that I was told came from the set of the first Blues Brothers movie. There were glass globes covering the light bulbs on the bar. The globes had the silhouettes of Sonny and Cher, from their variety show.
As I was setting up the lights, one of the barndoors, (the flaps used to close or redirect light) kept closing. I was rummaging through the light kit looking for a C-47 (military code/production code for clothespin). Dick Clark looked at the light and said, “What kind of Mickey Mouse operation is this anyway?” Without a thought in my head, I blurted out, “Yours…” Suddenly everything in the world stopped, this multi-talented man, who’s office was lined with awards and iconic mementos, museum pieces really, stared at me. I stared back. It lasted only moments but over his shoulder I could make out a shelf lined with Emmys and at least one MTV astronaut trophy. Is this how I lose my first Hollywood job, insulting Dick Clark? He smiled and said, “Yeah, I guess it is, isn’t it?”
He would joke about it every time I would see him in the hall. One afternoon I was petting his two dalmatians (with real diamond collars) and asked him. “I recognize most of the items in your office, but that small plane door, hanging on the wall, what is that?” Mr. Clark waived me to the office and pointed at the famous photo from when the Beatles landed in the U.S. for the first time. He said, “that’s the door from the plane.”
I have so many great memories of my time in Hollywood. My immediate supervisor, Sara Jane, told me when the show wrapped and she knew I was returning to Wichita, that “Your Big Break” was a great experience, not every Hollywood adventure goes so well. But mine did. I will share more stories, but this one popped into my head recently, so I thought I should write it down before I lost it. I have some other great experiences that I will share in the future.