Dick Clark walked into the room and heads turned as he flashed his white teeth in a big American Bandstand smile.
Then he shuddered at the age of his interviewer. He wondered how a 24-year-old reporter could possibly understand the importance of looking young while growing old -- the topic of his latest book.
At 51, Clark could easily pass for a man 10 to 15 years younger and people tell him so. Everyday. Then they ask him how he stays so young looking.
'I've been around so long on radio and television, people figure I've got to be about 80,' said Clark. 'It's a logical question. It's the question most asked of me. So I decided to write a book.'
Now when anybody asks Clark what his secret is, he can hand them a copy of 'Looking Great, Staying Young' and collect $11.95 for the book published by Bobbs-Merrill, which reports the first printing sold out in a few weeks.
'I have been typecast as the eternal youth,' Clark said. 'Having that mantle, then, on me, I'm now speaking about it.
'But I'm a little sensitive lately. Since the book has been out people are saying, 'The man is obsessed,' which I'm not. I don't look in the mirror all day. And I don't give a damn how you look. But if YOU are worried about it, I can tell you what I've observed over the years.'
One of the first things the reader discovers is there is no fountain of youth, no miracle drug. And to the gossip mongers' dismay, Clark's secrets don't even include a face-lift.
'When I get right down to it ... I admit I picked my parents very carefully,' writes Clark. 'I've been blessed with the good luck of having come from good bloodlines.
'And frankly, I think a lot of looking good, looking young is the luck of the draw. I got good genes from my parents. I guess I have good body chemistry.'
Clark said the real secret is to think young, stay active and make the best of what you have.
'If you want to stay young, you have to know what the young are thinking. If you want to keep up with the world, you have to keep current. If you don't want to be old before your time, you have to do something about it.
'I constantly run into people who tell me that their high school or college days were the best times of their lives, whose conversation consists of remembering the bash at the frat house when drunken Charlie rolled down the stairs.
'I say, 'Wow. I forgot about that a hundred years ago.' Sure those were good times. But I've had a lot of good times since. I'm having good times today. I can remember yesterday, but I don't want to spend all my time doing it. I'd rather enjoy today and look forward to tomorrow.
'I try to keep up with current trend and thoughts,' he said. 'If I don't like something, I don't do it. But If I find merit in something new, I'm not afraid to try it. I can change with the times and I think that is important to anyone who wants to stay young.'
Looking young means looking your best, according to the New York native-turned-Californian.
'I haven't had a nose-bob and I haven't had my teeth capped, but I sure don't look down on someone who has. I'd be more apt to look down on someone who needed these things and didn't get them done.'
Clark's book gives tips -- based on his own experience as well as advice from several experts -- on everything from basic personal grooming to makeup, clothes, posture, diet and exercise.
For example, he reveals: 'We men have to get over our self-consciousness if we are going to make a real effort to look good. I use skin creams. There, one of my secrets is out. I don't think of myself as macho, but I sure don't think using skin cream makes me less macho.'
And: 'I make it a rule that the minute I hit 160 pounds, I stop eating. I cut it out. All of it. That's my secret. I go cold turkey.'
While learning Clark's hints for keeping his outside looking good, the reader also learns what goes on inside the television personality as he discusses such topics as divorce, sex, women's rights, living together and drugs.
He also tells about his roots, how he worked his way up in the radio business from a small radio station in Utica, N.Y., and how he has changed through the years, through three marriages and three children.
'There is nothing wrong with being 50,' Clark concludes. 'Or being 30, or 40, or 60, or 70. I am not ashamed to admit I'm over 50. Frankly, I wish I were 20. But, there you are, I don't want to pretend I'm 20 or even 30.
'And I wouldn't want to give up what I've gained with the years. With experience, we learn a lot -- if we're interested in learning. I'm interested. And I'm learning everyday.'