Dec. 29, 2000 -- For many of us, Dick Clark is as much a part of New Year’s Eve as “Auld Lang Syne” and a glass of bubbly. That’s not surprising, considering he’s been hosting New Year’s Rockin’ Eve since 1972.
Maybe it’s the cold air or the crowds who gather each New Year’s Eve in Manhattan’s Times Squares, but Clark seemingly hasn’t aged a bit. For the record, the perennially youthful emcee is 71.
He hosted American Bandstand from 1952 to 1990 and has been at the helm of the New Year’s Rockin’ Eve stage since it began 29 years ago.
He’s under contract to rock in the New Year until 2005 on what is traditionally the highest-rated network show for New Year’s Eve. The show airs on the ABC television network.
Clark says the holiday is not only a time to celebrate, but also to reflect back on the year.
“It’s a time of restrospection, of thinking, and of joy,” Clark said on ABCNEWS’ Good Morning America.
And in Times Square, it is also a time of packed crowds. There were a million people jammed into the square for the millennium celebration in 2000, and millions more watching at home, all around the world, he said.
“Because so many people saw it last year, we think we will have more this year, ” Clark said. Though a snowstorm might hit New York City this weekend, conditions like rain or wind — not snow — are what sends the crowds away from the celebration, he said.
Anything Goes on New Year’s Eve
In his history as host of the holiday bash, Clark has seen a great deal and has come to learn that anything goes on New Year’s Eve. The viewers at home missed it because of the direction that the cameras were pointing, but one year, a group of 30 naked people at a hotel room party were visible to the crowd at Times Square, Clark said.
Clark nearly canceled his New Year’s Eve celebration in 1980 during the Iranian hostage crisis because the owner of the building that houses the ball that drops in Times Square wanted to close the building down as a sign of protest. But Clark says he personally persuaded the man to keep the building open, and the party proceeded.
New Year’s Rockin’ Eve will be 3 1/2 hours this year, and the show will be divided into three parts.
Part one airs 10-11 p.m. ET on Sunday night. From Times Square, Clark will shift between live reports and clips of this year’s music tours. Clips range from older rockers such as KISS to younger ones such as ’N Sync.
Part two will run from 11:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. after a half-hour break for local newscasts. At 11:30 p.m., the standard New Year’s Rockin Eve formula kicks in. Viewers will get to see a party in California and Clark with the crowd at Times Square.
Part three airs from 1a.m.-2 a.m. Clark will be in Times Square for this part as well.
Some Rockin’ Eve Trivia
The most frequent group to perform in Times Square over the years is K.C. and the Sunshine Band, and a clip of the band performing “Get Down Tonight” will air on Sunday night’s broadcast. Since Mother Nature never fails to put her stamp on the party in Times Square, part of this year’s show will be a weather montage from years past.
Gathering in Times Square to watch the ball — or apple — drop at midnight may be a New Year tradition, but after the countdown and all the craziness, Clark heads off for a New Year tradition of his own that’s a bit quieter.
After the show, Clark and his wife retreat to the same restaurant, P.J. Clarke’s, where they share two beers and a hamburger. “Oh, it’s very exciting, ” he said.