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They call him America's Oldest Living Teenager, but if Dick Clark ever actually was a teenager, he was probably the type they call seventeen going on thirty-five. Behind his famously boyish, pleasingly vacuous demeanor has always lurked a razor-sharp businessman, and it is difficult for those who first encountered him in his TV Bloopers days to understand the godlike popstrological power he once wielded from his platform on American Bandstand. Indeed, Dick Clark's power in the late 1950s was not only great enough to make a star out of just about anyone he chose, but also great enough to attract the attention of the congressional subcommittee investigating the Payola scandal. By the time Mr. Clark launched Connie Francis as the third star in the constellation Thanks, Dick merely by playing Everybody's Somebody's Fool on the air and saying that it "Sounds like it's headed to number one," he'd already been forced by his employer, ABC, to divest himself of his suspicious financial interest in the labels, distributors, and manufacturers who profited handsomely from the rise of Clark-anointed stars like Danny and the Juniors and Frankie Avalon. But all that did was lead to the formation of Dick Clark's TV-production empire, through which he preserved enough starmaking power to launch two stars into his namesake constellation in the 1970s and one, Michael Damian, in 1989, the very last year of the popstrological era.

Everyone brings some kind of baggage into their relationships, but there's a big difference between the everyday baggage of, say, a trail of bitter romantic disappointment and the baggage of being almost completely beholden to someone else for everything you have. Parents, bosses, therapists -- these and other kinds of power brokers are likely to have played a significant role in getting the children of the constellation Thanks, Dick where they are today, and while the presence of such figures hovering over a relationship need not necessarily become an obstacle to true togetherness, it's something you might want to be aware of before you dive in too deep.

2004 All rights reserved. "Popstrology" is a trademark of Ian Van Tuyl.

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