Back then, to me, Dick Clark was That Man With the Skinny Microphone Who Talked to Singers. Little did I know how much more than that he was. As I got older, I recognized him on New Year's Eve as That Guy From American Bandstand. He was this adult man who got to hang out with pop stars and talk with teenagers I envied (they got to sit in that cool-looking studio!). What made Mr. Clark so cool was his effortless ability to treat every single one of them -- teens, musicians, even the crazy ones -- equally and with respect (and this was waaay before the letters TRL meant anything to anyone and before America was obsessed with voting for an Idol).
Rest in peace, you "Oldest Living Teenager."