Dick Clark on Saturday will mark the 40th anniversary of his televised Times Square bash, Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve. "There have been many memorable moments," Clark tells USA Today. "The year of the Iran hostage crisis [in 1980], the ball almost didn't drop," he says. The owner of One Times Square wanted to cancel to protest Iran's detention of 52 Americans. "The most nerve-racking would have to be the first New Year's Eve after the 9/11 tragedy," Clark adds.

Clark says the popular show had its origins in Philly.

"Strangely enough, New Year's Rockin' Eve probably began on Dec. 31, 1959, when we broadcast a New Year's Eve version of American Bandstand from [local station] WFIL . . . on ABC," Clark says. "The actual first formal telecast was on NBC Dec. 31, 1972. It was hosted by Three Dog Night, with performances by Helen Reddy, Al Green, and Blood, Sweat and Tears." Clark and cohost Ryan Seacrest's party on Saturday will air on ABC.

Cheetah controversy runs amok!!!

Cheetah, the chimp who costarred with various Tarzans in the immensely popular Tarzan films in the 1930s, died on Christmas Eve, the Suncoast Primate Sanctuary in Palm Harbor, Fla., announced Wednesday. Cheetah, who had lived at the sanctuary since the 1960s, died of kidney failure at age 80.

"He was very outgoing," says the sanctuary's outreach coordinator, Debbie Cobb. "Loved women. Didn't care for men that much. Loved to finger paint."

. . . But wait!! Confusion reigns! Another primate joint in Palm Springs, Calif., says it has the real Cheetah, and he ain't dead. Others claim chimps can't get to be 80. And Mia Farrow, whose mom, Maureen O'Sullivan, acted with the original Cheetah in the Tarzan potboilers, suggests that that Cheetah, the Cheetah, died awhile back.

Is he alive? Dead? The whole thing makes us scratch our head and turn around three times. As far as we at SideShow are concerned, Cheetah's star burns immortal. He was a real swinger.

New playmate for Ashton Kutcher?

Love - or lust - is in the air for the newly single Ashton Kutcher, claims Us Weekly, which says Demi Moore's estranged baby husband spent the holidays frolicking in Italy with actor-turned-screenwriter Lorene Scafaria. Lorene recently extricated herself from a relationship with The O.C. actor Adam Brody. The duo took touristy pics and drove around in a Porsche. Romance? Nonsense, insists a Kutcher rep, who tells Us Weekly the duo are "just friends."

Steven Tyler to wed Erin Brady?

TMZ says Steven Tyler, 63, became engaged to gf Erin Brady, 38, over the holidays. The lippy Aerosmith singer may be over the moon, but it seems the rest of his family are less than pleased.

Anonymous Sources tell TMZ that Brady is "just not nice" and has "been mean to the family." (Boo-hoo!) Tyler began seeing Brady in 2006, shortly after he and second wife Teresa Barrick broke up.

Danny Gokey's surprise proposal

Details are emerging from a rush announcement Tuesday that Leyicet Peralta has agreed to wed American Idol alum and country warbler Danny Gokey.

"Danny surprised Leyicet and had a car pick her up," Danny's rep tells People mag. "They had an intimate dinner by the ocean under a beautiful sunset in downtown Miami." Then he proposed or something like that. The wedding is Jan. 29. Danny, 31, is a widower: His first wife, Sophia, died during heart surgery in '08. 

Maria Shriver: Let's not terminate

In other news matrimonial, anonymous sources tell TMZ that Maria Shriver is reconsidering her decision to divorce Terminator actor and former California Govinator Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Is there reconciliation in the air?

TMZ says Arnold "is playing Charminator, trying to woo Shriver back." But will Shriver, a member of the American royal family, the Kennedys, forgive Arnold's affairs? She may have to, say TMZ sources, who claim Shriver is committed to Catholic values, including the church's resistance to divorce.

Tidbits 'n' pieces

E!News personality Giuliana Rancic, 37, is back at work just two weeks after undergoing a successful double mastectomy as part of her battle against breast cancer. . . . Rihanna stopped by for eats at a McDonald's in London after a show last week at the O2 Arena. A Member of the Public told London's the Sun, "It was amazing to see one of the world's biggest female stars queuing like everyone else." . . . Katy Perry and Russell Brand deny they are splitting up after a new round of tabloid rumors.

Emma Watson's hair influence

The Wall Street Journal has named Emma Watson's "pixie" hairdo and Justin Bieber's "swish" the most influential haircuts of '11.

'Bambi,' 'Forrest Gump' in registry

The Library of Congress has added 25 films to be preserved as part of its National Film Registry, including Bambi, Forrest Gump, Norma Rae, and The Silence of the Lambs.

Bill Cosby: Gotta go to Netflix

Bill Cosby is excited that his epochal NBC sitcom The Cosby Show, which ran from 1984 to 1992, is finally available online.

So excited - and so worried fans may not be able to find it - he has posted a YouTube video with information: Want to see it? Then visit Netflix, not Hulu, he says.

Baby for Tiger Woods' ex-gf

Rachel Uchitel, 36, one of the gals who took part in Tiger Woods' extramarital activities, is five months pregnant. Dude, don't worry: Rachel made the baby with her hub, former Penn State football star Matt Hahn, whom she wed in secret in October.

Rachel, who starred on Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew, also is known for hooking up with David Boreanaz in 2009 while the actor's wife, Jaime Bergman, was pregnant.

Justin Bieber news from all over

Canadian megastar Justin Bieber's mom, Pattie Mallette, tweeted Wednesday that her parents, Bruce and Diane Dale, are recovering from injuries sustained in a car accident Tuesday near Biebs' hometown of Stratford, Ontario. Meantime, the 17-year-old croonbaby gifted childhood pal Ryan Butler a Ford Mustang for the holidays, reports the New York Daily News. The lads grew up in Stratford.

This article contains information from wire services. Contact "SideShow" at sideshow@phillynews.com.