The Time Dick Clark Explored His Dark Side


Image via The Video Beat

Amidst all yesterday’s eulogies and well-deserved tributes for the great Dick Clark, I was surprised to learn that he did a little acting. Sure, it’s not a stretch for a man who made his living in radio and television broadcasting to do the occasional guest appearance in a movie or TV show. But beyond some light-hearted cameos on shows like Dharma and Greg and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Clark once delved into the dark side by playing an alcoholic murderer.

The film was called Killers Three. It came out in 1968. Clark co-wrote the screenplay, produced and starred in it, alongside Robert Walker, Jr. (Star Trek fans will know him from the OST episode Charlie X), Diane Varsi and singer Merle Haggard (who also did the soundtrack). Obviously influenced by Bonnie & Clyde, it’s a hillbilly heist story that centers on two down-and-out southern pals who plan to blow up the safe of a bootlegger, steal $200,000 and live the good life in California. Along the way, there’s plenty of drinkin’, hollerin’ and shootin’.

Clark plays Roger, a short-tempered drunk. Though he looks like the same guy who hosted American Bandstand, Clark’s sporting a mustache and wire rim glasses. It’s strange to see “America’s oldest teenager” smearing plastic explosive on a safe, stumbling around and shooting holes in the sheriff (Merle Haggard), and snarling lines like, “You’re gonna get your head blown off.”

While Clark probably got tired of his squeaky clean, Brylcreemed image, and wanted simply to play against type, judging from these clips, I’d say, in another life, Clark might’ve made a fine dramatic actor:

See Also: RIP Dick Clark; The Scandal That Taught Dick Clark to “Protect Your Ass at All Times”