Wang Jianlin‘s Dalian Wanda Group is paying $1 billion for Dick Clark Productions, the company founded by entertainment impresario Dick Clark in 1957. Dick Clark Productions produces the American Music Awards and the Billboard Music Awards, among many other programs. While it’s unlikely that the Chinese billionaire Wang needs any tutoring when it comes to making money, the late Dick Clark — who died in 2012 at 82 — had plenty of tricks for amassing wealth that might interest an entrepreneur like Wang.
In the early days of Clark’s career, when both pop music and the television business were new frontiers, Clark ran and hosted the popular music show American Bandstand. According to an excerpt in Peter Ames Carlin‘s excellent new biography of Paul Simon (Homeward Bound) Clark often skirted the rules if it meant finding a way to pocket extra cash. Here’s Carlin on how it worked during an early appearance by Simon and Art Garfunkel on Clark’s show:
“As per union rules, Paul and Artie both earned $176 for their national TV performance, but before the show’s producer gave the boys their checks, he explained that the show’s policy required all guests to endorse the checks and then hand them back to Dick Clark, who would keep the money for himself.”