Sunday, March 31, 2013

A discovered treasure

Tomorrow is the Real Don Steele's birthday.   He would have been 77.   He was the world's most exciting disc jockey and proud to say -- a dear friend.  We were jocks together at two stations in the '70s -- K100 and TenQ, both in Los Angeles.  This was when I used the air name Beaver Cleaver.

Steele was famous for his Friday night sign-offs.  They were wild rants designed to get you amped up for the weekend, delivered in machine-gun fashion.   From time to time I would follow him on Friday night (which was like being the next act after the Beatles on THE ED SULLIVAN SHOW) and noticed that he always had the sign-off typed out.   So one Friday I asked if I could keep it and would he autograph it for me?   Gracious person that he is, he said sure. 

And now, in honor of his birthday, I am sharing it for the first time.  Try reading this whole thing in one take without making a single mistake... in about thirty seconds.

I love you and miss you Don and always will.   You and Tina Delgado will always be alive!


34 comments:

Anonymous said...

Just to be accurate you did 1 shift a week on KTNQ. You were not part of our full time lineup,

Barefoot Billy Aloha said...

Great to see an actual script! And what a privilege to know Real!

Over at Reelradio.com, I think they still have an audio collection of four of Don's Fractious Friday sign-offs. Priceless!

(...and, "just to be accurate," Beaver Cleaver burped better lines than most of the "full-time" jocks at 10-Q, imho.)

michael stillman, toronto said...

I suspect that in the first comment, that begins with “Just to be accurate”, “anonymous” should be spelled with an “e” at its end.

Ken Levine said...

Anonymous,

I never said I was full-time. I was the head writer of MASH at the time. So I kinda had a full-time job. And why won't you leave a name?

Brule Eagan said...

Ken, that is one of the coolest things I've ever seen. I always thought he was just riffin', which is another testament to his talent.

Dirk said...

And just for the record, what does TDIAA mean?

Ken Levine said...

Tina Delgado is alive alive!

Robert Walker said...

Bitterness has no name. Only a bad taste.

Lairbo said...

For many of my first years in New York, I and fellow former Angelenos used Tina Delgado is alive, ALIVE! as a kind of secret handshake. Even after so many years, it still pops up now and again.

Gary Campbell said...

Always looked forward to him doing that every Friday over Les Cooper's Wiggle Wobble!

GJ Goldwyn said...

Ken taught me much of what I know about radio. He even suggested to me back in 1976 that I become a writer. Here's my first attempt at taking his advice. Anonymous = insecure idiot.

Un Lar's fan said...

For those of us on the outer edges, I have to ask...was there a real Tina Delgado, or was she just a myth?

Tom Parker said...

What a treat see this written out Ken - I had no idea these were scripted. I can almost hear Mitch Ryder and the Detroit wheels.

Speaking for the fraternity of radio folks, I loved your air checks and your material was always first rate. Your TV writing success was envied by all (except a petty few, perhaps)

As Beaver Cleaver once observed when he was looking for an apartment: "The sign said No Dogs, No Pets, No Disc Jockeys!"

Happy BD to TRDS

Ron Jacobs said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Pamela Atherton said...

I worked for the Real Don Steele at K-100 as his secretary. He was the kindest man. He would have me pull his 'golds' for him, and would get nervous if I ran a little late getting there.

One week he let me write his Friday sign-off rhyming 'ays.' Iin going through some old boxes, I found my handwritten copy of it the other day. It was a thrill for me that he would allow me to do that.

And working for the RDS was how I met the Beav.

rick said...

The Real Don Steele and Robert W Morgan were the greatest PM and AM drive personalities ever. First at KHJ, then at KIQQ and KRTH. I do enjoy Gary Bryan and Shotgun today,but oldies radio is not what it used to be. Yeah, demographics,but the 80's music is not oldies!(to me,anyway).

Mac said...

Well, that's disappointing. I only read this blog because I thought Ken used to be full time at KTNQ.

David Kruh said...

I grew up in New York and my first job, in 1978, was at a small radio station in New Jersey. My family took a trip to LA that summer, and I remember dropping them off at the hotel and driving around LA in the rental car. listening to 10Q. Wonder if I heard you, Ken? I also remember thinking THIS is how radio should sound. Man, that station had balls!

Beau Weaver said...

Like my pal Kevin Gershan said....You may have loved listening to Robert W. Morgan, but you wanted to BE The Real Don Steele! I have a few friends who have run with the big dogs....and they have framed photos of themselves with Clinton....or Reagan......but to have a photo of you with TRDS! Dude! I'm impressed. And to make an appearance in a Fractious Friday talk up, over the Phil Upchurch tune? Better than a having a sketch about you on SNL. You have accomplished some major shit in your time in Hollywood, but this may truly be your career high water mark, pal!

Bob Nagengast said...

Thank you Ken. I'm a native NY'er but lived for 25 years In LA where I certainly became familiar with the legendary Real Don Steele. I know most radio guys never scripted anything (that they would reveal)though I suspect guys like Howard Stern are much more closely produced and formatted than the on air mayhem suggests. One question-- were you still on air in LA when all the "Beaver Cleaver" (Jerry Mathers) was killed in 'Nam rumors began? Or being a M*A*S*H producer, did you start those?

Anonymous said...

The Real Don Steele was the goods, I'll admit, but Uncle Lar in Chicago was The Man. The Best. Superjock.
So good, you even mentioned Lujack in your book.

Michael Hagerty said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael Hagerty said...

Anonymous:

It's been 37 years.

You were supposed to call a doctor after four hours.

Jeffrey Mark said...

I was a fledgling radio dee-jay back in 1976 going to Chico State U. I had heard that TRDS was on a new station called 10-Q. It was in the late fall, early winter when it got dark early that I used to sit in my car and tune in to listen to TRDS. 10-Q came in pretty good waaaay out in Chico - it just blasted up the entire valley so I was able to catch his last hour or so. I listened most every late afternoon, deciding this was more important homework than anything I got from my classes. Steele was always on fire no matter what station he worked for. So hard to believe he'd be 77 on April Fools Day. And if he was alive I think he still would be at it behind the mic shouting out "What do we know and believe!?

Larry Stone said...

Ken, thanks for the inside look at one of L.A. radio's iconic bits. A Friday question: When you were going by the name Beaver Cleaver, did a fellow jock ever slip on air and call you Ken? What happened next?

Wayne said...

Alice Faye, Susan Dey, Willie Mays Mr. Say Hey
Blue Jay Way and creme brulee

Inverter said...

thanks

Jeff Kaufer said...

Hey Beav,

Thanks for keeping The Real Don alive...alive in our memories. The script is classic.
I was a student at Bill Wade's school in 1970. Bill got me an intro to Don...at Martoni's no less...(Great story behind that too). The meeting led to me being able to interview him for TWO hours at Nick O' Dells and the distinct honor of signing off his show on a fractious friday night...A thrill that lives strong to this day! Thanks again.

Michael Hagerty said...

And how insanely cool to see the other great "part-time" jock (as if that's all there was to it) of 70s LA radio, KHJ's Beau Weaver, on the same cyber page with Beaver Cleaver.

If he were here, RDS might whip up a special Fractious Friday sign off over this:

"Beaver Cleaver, Beau Weaver, Tom Seaver, Mike Deaver, John Cheever, Love Her And Leave Her...."

Storm said...

I'm still curious as to why TRDS was in so many Roger Corman movies, either in person or as a voice cameo, especially in films involving Joe Dante, who got his start with Corman but still used TRDS' voice later in non-Corman movies like "Gremlins" ("Hey! YOU'RE not a Rockin' Ricky fan!"). Was he friends with Corman first, or Dante?

I was born in L.A. in the late 60's, and lived there until I was seven; my aunties are about Ken's age, and I remember them listening to him in the car when they'd take me places. I remember seriously thinking that he was insane, that there was an actual crazyperson on the radio, but that's why I loved him. Thinking about his zaniness brings back so many fun and happy memories for me; I can only imagine how much those who actually knew him must love and miss him.

Cheers, thanks a lot,

Storm

Dale said...

8.26 am. Says a lot. :-)

Lance Ballance said...

Ken,

Truly a great story...there will never be another like him.

WHAT DO WE KNOW AND BELIEVE????

Nancy Plum said...

Hi Ken! Who the hell is "Anonymous"? Some tool that worked at TenQ and who is still living in the past? Hah! What great memories. The last time I saw and spoke to Don was at a radio convention and he came up to me and pointed at me and said "I always liked you" and that meant the world to me! The feeling was mutual, he was so much fun and truly the most original person I worked with. We had two really great part time guys the first year we were on the air, "Dave Trout" and you! Both of you were as original as the rest of the gang. I will never forget my days at Ten Q and loved what you wrote about Don. I tried reading it fast and I think I almost nailed it. Ha ha! Love ya, Nancy Plum

Bill Rapada said...

Don was the coolest jock ever baby!Big Black Cadillac driving down Western Avenue wearing Pink tinted glasses!I still use the term..WAM! Walking around money!It was great being a teen in Hollywood.Thanks again Ken