Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Real Don Steele

The Real Don Steele would have been 74 on April 1st. You've probably heard me talk of him before. He's one of my idols (American or otherwise).

He passed away on August 5, 1997. For thirty years The Real Don Steele ruled the Los Angeles airwaves, most notably on 93/KHJ “Boss Radio” in the 60’s and 70’s. Outrageous, electrifying, thrilling – that was Real on…and OFF the air. If you want to hear the greatest cookin’ jock to ever crack a mike in the heyday of top 40. You can check him out here.

Real also appeared in some highly prestigious films such as EATING RAOUL, DEATH RACE 2000 (starring Sylvester Stallone), ROCK N’ ROLL HIGH SCHOOL, and Ron Howard’s first directing effort, GRAND THEFT AUTO. Television credits are equally as impressive: TALES FROM THE CRYPT and HERE COMES THE BRIDES.

I had the pleasure of working with him at two radio stations, K100 and TenQ in LA in the 70’s. He also fell off my couch stinking drunk one night and my wife still invited him to dinner again.

His catch phrase was “Tina Delgado is alive, ALIVE!” shouted by some unknown frenzied girl. No one ever knew the story behind it. Who Tina Degado was. How he came to use it. Even what the hell it meant. But it didn’t matter. It was all part of the excitement this larger-than-life personality created for “the magnificent megalopolis of Boss Angeles” three hours every day…and especially on “Fractious Fridays”.

Every year on his birthday, April 1st, I wish that maybe his passing is just an April’s Fool joke. That would be so like him. And at 3:00 I could turn on the radio, “Devil with a Blue Dress” by Mitch Ryder would come blazing out of my speaker and I would hear “The Real Don Steele is alive, ALIVE!”

He is in my heart. And always will be.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Growing up in L.A. as a teen in the '60's it's hard not to feel the same way about the real Don Steele and he never even fell off my couch drunk or sober. Thanks for the honesty of your blog Ken. Art

benson said...

And Tina Delgado is still alive, in our hearts and minds...

Ted Ziegenbusch said...

During my days back at Don Martin School in Hollywood (getting my first class ticket) I was lucky enough to visit with and watch Steele doing his afternoon show on 93KHJ. Observing and interacting from the engineer's side of the glass, both me and my friend Mike were totally awestruck. It's still hard to believe we had that chance to experience it "live". Wow, what a legend.

The Milner Coupe said...

Thanks for this post. We love us some Real Don Steele. Boss forever.

Aloha

Anonymous said...

You mention that The Real Don Steele was in one of my favourite movies, Eating Raoul. From the way you have describe him in this and another post, I will guess (without looking at IMDB) that he was Howard Swine, The Host With The Most As Big As A Post and Warm As Toast.

gih said...

I still like Tina. from her years before.

Bob Harlow said...

Every Friday at 5:58 pm was L.A. radio geek nirvana! You knew RDS would be great, the only question would be will he do it over "You Can't Sit Down", Wiggle Wobble" or "Memphis"?

Aging Boss Jock said...

By now, Tina Delgado is in an assisted living home. That's my next stop.

RIP Donnie.

Gary Mack

Emmett Flatus said...

Don Imus mentioned The Real Don Steele today in a conversation about a Fresno station moving to 980 (I think) with 50kW. Steele was indeed unique.

Barefoot Billy Aloha said...

Yea, baby!

Whatta showman!

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

It's also my cousin Georgie's birthday.

Jeffrey Leonard said...

Listening to the radio in Los Angeles has never been the same since he left us. RIP RDS...

Sandy said...

Orville Wright Jr. HS - The Real Don Steele - Shindig on TV. I am awash in nostalgia.

Will Teullive said...

He looks like the King of All Media in that photo..no not Oprah...I mean Howard.


WV: auted - A person with a speech impediment accusing someone of breaking wind "Who auted??"

blogward said...

Another shout for Eating Raoul.

Dave Logan said...

A transcendent personality and gifted entertainer whose creative spark never flickered. Every show was a celebration. You could hear sheer joy in his delivery. The Real Don was a flamboyant communicator who connected intimately with his audience everyday. He remains the ultimate afternoon drive host.

Anonymous said...

Dose anyone remember Cam Nelson dancing on the Real Don Steele tv show?