Letters: On Tacos And Dick Clark

Melissa Block and Robert Siegel read emails from listeners about tacos and Dick Clark's legacy.

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It's time now your letters. Yesterday, we paid homage to a staple of the American diet: the taco. It's native to Mexico, but over the past 50 years, it's become as American as hot dogs and apple pie. That's thanks to fast food and to one chain, in particular.


But, before Taco Bell, there were places like Cielito Lindo, the family-run stand in Los Angeles. As we heard in our story, the stand has been in business since the 1930s, same as for its rolled fried tacos covered in avocado sauce.

SIEGEL: Well, that description certainly got the attention of Jenny Coziatac-Benz(ph) of Superior, Colorado. She writes this: The volume was down on my work radio, but when I heard what I thought was the word taco, I quickly turned up the volume. I was literally salivating. And she goes on to say, an avocado sauce-covered taco sounds like nirvana.

BLOCK: And Jim Nichols(ph) of New Albany, Indiana, will take one to go, please. He writes: I've heard a lot of people talk about their driveway moments with NPR through the years. After hearing your story on the history of the taco, I had to have a drive-through moment.

SIEGEL: Finally, last week, we remembered the world's oldest teenager, Dick Clark.


SIEGEL: He died last Wednesday at the age of 82. Clark was known for his New Year's Eve specials on ABC and as host of "American Bandstand."

DICK CLARK: I think "Bandstand" was important historically because it gave the world a look at a world perhaps they'd never looked at before. That's the world of kids.

BLOCK: And thanks to Dick Clark and "Bandstand," those kids, now grown up, have a world of memories. Paul Meshter(ph) of Collegeville, Pennsylvania, is one of them. When the show premiered, his baby brother Dave was just starting to pull himself up in his playpen. Mr. Meshter writes: Dave was transfixed by "Bandstand" on our 21-inch black and white Magnavox and would dance in place before he could walk.

SIEGEL: And from the very young to the young at heart, George Jeekus(ph) of Bass Harbor, Maine, writes this: I'll have to call my sister tonight and see if she still has those subversive 45s, the ones my parents rolled their eyes at, and maybe while on speakerphone, we could dance our butts off until we were silly kids once again.


CHUBBY CHECKER: (Singing) Come on, baby, let's do the twist.

BLOCK: Well, please, keep sending those letters. All the cool kids are doing it. Just go to NPR.org, then click on Contact Us.


CHECKER: (Singing) Take me by my little hand and go like this. Twist, babe, baby, twist. Oh, yeah, just like this. Come on, little miss, and do the twist.

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