America’s oldest teenager Dick Clark dies

Dick Clark, host of American Bandstand—and known as America’s oldest teenager—died Wednesday. He was 82. But on Twitter, dominated by people who grew up after Clark’s heyday, some people collectively scratched their heads, wondering who he really was.

No, he was not “the captain of the Titanic, a ship designed by Paul McCartney” as @daveweigel tweeted, making reference to an earlier story in which young people had no idea that the Titanic was a real ship.

But even some youngsters recognized Clark as the annual host of each “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve.” Before that, he hosted the music show American Bandstand which, in the 1950s, was pretty much the only TV show dedicated to teenagers and the music they loved.

On April 17, the day before he died, Clark made headlines—and inspired multiple tweets—by putting his “rockin’ Flintstone home” in Southern California on the market for $3.5 million: a mansion that, from the outside, looks just like Fred and Wilma’s house.

But interest in his real estate transactions evaporated the second news of his passing hit the Internet. On Twitter, celebrities and non-celebs alike mourned his passing:

RIP Dick Clark! The broadcasting legend will remain a teenager in our memory forever,” tweeted TV host Andy Cohen.

Lesson from Dick Clark: No matter what do, no matter how you look, continue to live your dream until the day you die,” said sportscaster Darren Rovell.

Without Dick Clark, maybe 2012 really is the last year,” said someone who identified as @DoucheMcBaggus.

Of course, when any celebrity dies there are inevitably tweets from people swearing they never heard of said celebrity before:

Will you hate me if I admit I don’t know who Dick Clark is? I’m sorry for his loss if that helps,” asked @Tinkerbell_.

Dick Clark died? I don’t have a clue who that is but time to get drunk in his memory,” said  @NowThatsCollege.

This inevitably leads to additional tweets wondering when Buzzfeed will collect the aforementioned “Who the hell was that?” tweets and turn them into an article:

Somewhere, Buzzfeed editors are frantically searching Twitter for teenagers who don’t know who Dick Clark is,” said @demonbaby.

But the editors’ search didn’t take too long, as Buzzfeed soon tweeted its predicted story:
SHOCKING: Lots Of People On Twitter Don’t Know Who Dick Clark Is.”

News of Clark’s death exploded on Tumblr as fast as it did on Twitter, though Tumble bloggersappeared  more likely to mourn the news of his death, rather than explain why it’s the first time they ever heard of him.

But the attitude of most Americans – especially those whose New Year’s Eve rituals involved watching him lead the ritual dropping of the ball in Times Square—can be summarized in this particular tweet:

RIP Dick Clark,” said @EverythingNYC. “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve won’t be the same without you.”

Jennifer Abel

Jennifer Abel

Jennifer Abel was an early contributor to the Daily Dot's web culture coverage. Her work has appeared in Mashable, Salon, Playboy, the Guardian, and elsewhere.