New Year's Rockin Eve, B.S. (Before Seacrest) -- VIDEOS
New Year's Eve. A time to celebrate, get poop-faced drunk, reflect on the last year and the new one to follow, and get even more drunk as you see the daunting task ahead. It is, or was, also a time for an annual tradition that, whether you were stone-cold sober or falling down drunk, was a regular part of your celebrating.
Until his stroke in 2004, Dick Clark counted down the remaining seconds of the current year with millions of others during his annual New Year's Rockin' Eve specials, first on NBC (1972 and 73), then on ABC. In the beginning, most of the show was live. But as the years moved on, only the Times Square performances would go out live while many other performances would be pre-taped (remember that episode of Friends?). In it's most recent incarnation, Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve With Ryan Seacrest (God, what an awful title), there's a lot more performance and a lot less celebration.
That's why we have the Internet, isn't it? Since the Information Superweb has become the world's crawl space, we can remember some of the better Rockin times with Dick Clark. Here are but a few examples to review while sipping your champagne and playing with your party favors.
This is the earliest example of Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve (henceforth known as DCNYRE) I could find. It's from 1984-85 and features Dick himself, dapper in his bright yellow coat with the ABC logo plastered on the chest. His co-hosts over in Hollywood are Priscilla Barnes from Three's Company and, ready for it, Adrian Zmed from T.J. Hooker. Ah, the 80s.
Moving ahead a few years to 1990-91 which, according to Dick, is the 83rd ball drop. It's 27 degrees in New York City, but the crowd is still going wild. The ball is red, white and blue for this year; probably to signify our support for the troops stationed in the Gulf ready to fight the first Gulf War. In Hollywood, it's Jack Wagner, Nina Blackwood, and the Beach Boys who are doing the celebrating.
While DCNYRE wasn't held when 1999 became 2000, though Dick worked with Peter Jennings during that marathon session, the show came back for 2000-01. The technology used during the ball drop is much more advanced than what appeared only a decade previously, and Dick spends the first few seconds describing what goes into that big ball. We also get to see Dick kissing and hugging someone who seems to be his wife. At least, I hope it was his wife. Over in Hollywood, it's the bands Vertical Horizon and ...The Bangles?
The final entry is from New Year's 2001-02 -- the year that everything changed. Dick is inside this time around, rather than in the crowd or on the rooftop. "God Bless America" is playing in the background right before the ball drops.I don't know why, but I teared up somewhat watching that ball drop. I guess that time doesn't really fade from memory, does it? Oh, in Hollywood, it was go-to guy Wayne Brady on stage.