At age 76, America's Oldest Teenager knows a thing or two about time being of the essence on television. So when the producers of the Emmy Awards asked him to walk out onstage for a special tribute, Dick Clark didn't miss a beat. I've just begun to learn to walk again, he told them in mock protest, and the show might run a little long.
In just his second TV appearance since suffering a stroke in December 2004, Clark was already seated on a stool behind a podium when this man who needs no introduction was introduced. Embarrassed by the warm standing ovation from the Emmy audience, Clark faked a grimace and tapped his wristwatch. Please, sit down, he said. Please, the producer will have a fit. You've got to sit down.
Through a jovial yet touching tribute, Clark spoke with a slur but embellished his appearance by gesturing with his arms and hands. After video clips chronicling Clark's decades as host of American Bandstand, Barry Manilow moved him to tears with a rendition of the show's famous theme song.
Before I had my stroke, Clark told millions of Emmy viewers, I was thinking about all of the things I've been involved with all of my life-music, comedy, drama, talk shows, even reality TV. And I realized that I have accomplished my childhood dream to be in sxshow business. Everybody should be so lucky to have their dreams come true.
Not even his stroke and his long rehabilitation have changed that.