Saturday, February 9, 2013


Paul Harvey
Many people on Facebook, both media colleagues and former classmates, and even the media trades were all raving about a commercial that aired during the Super Bowl that featured and old recording of radio commentator Paul Harvey. People were hailing this as the best commercial of this year's Super Bowl (My personal favorite this year was the Audi ad and the Go Daddy ad. Since I'm a nerd, I like nerd kissing fantasies.) and some were saying it was the greatest Super Bowl commercial ever. Yeah right!

I realize I'm going to upset many people, but it will not be the first time I have said it. I was not a fan of Paul Harvey. I never understood why he appealed to people. He always sounded to me like an old cranky man who was about to give you one of those "When-I-was-your-age..." speeches that, as a teenager, I abhorred getting from the disrespectful adults in Lebanon, MO, who thought they were smarter than me.

When I got into radio, I heard what I thought was the ideal radio personality on a syndicated radio oldies show called "Live From The 60s." The host was a guy, who sounded like what I always thought a rock radio DJ should sound like; upbeat, fast-talking and loud. His name was Don Steele, or more accurately THE REAL DON STEELE. His name was usually sung by the Johnny Mann Singers. Paul Harvey didn't have a jingle.
The Real Don Steele

The Real Don Steele trademarks were a loud, upbeat, fast paced, energetic style and always wearing sunglasses. While Paul Harvey told you to "Stand by for news," Real Don Steele would tell you "TINA DELGADO IS STILL ALIVE!!!" followed by a woman screaming. To compare their styles, Paul Harvey was a cart pulled by pack mule and The Real Don Steele was a rocketship.

Where as Paul Harvey was really Paul Aurant, The Reel Don Steele was really Donald Revert. A program director in Omaha, Nebraska decided that he should call himself The Real Don Steele because it would make him stand out among other DJs. It was when he was hired for a job in his hometown of Hollywood with a new Top 40 radio station programmed by Bill Drake. With in a short time KHJ 93 AM in Los Angeles, became not just the most popular radio station in LA but a major force in the music industry. Many acts such as The Doors, The Byrds, The Monkees, The Seeds, Creedence Clearwater Revival and Sonny & Cher, all received their first major exposure through KHJ and the Reel Don Steele was one of the key on-air personalities since he was on from 3 to 6 p.m, when most of the very important, teenage crowd were just getting out of school. If you listen The Doors Live LP, The Real Don Steele introduces the group on the lead-off track, "Roadhouse Blues" (This live version was included on some greatest hits compilations).

The Reel Don Steele also hosted a long running TV dance show in LA. He appeared on TV shows such as Bewitched and Laugh-In. However, most people outside of Los Angeles were familiar with The Real Don Steele through his appearances in such films as Gremlins, Eating Raoul, KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park, Grand Theft Auto, Eat My Dust, Rock and Roll High School and Death Race 2000. He voiced the movie trailer for Eat My Dust, in which he uttered the tagline, made famous by MST3K, "Ron Howard pops the clutch and tells the world to EAT MY DUST!" In Rock and Roll High School, the Real Don Steele played Screaming Steve, a parody of himself, who utters the great line about the classic confrontation between “mindless authority and the rebellious nature of youth.”

Paul Harvey only acted in two movies: Everything That Rises and The Right of the People.
Out of all of the Real Don Steele's movie appearance, he should win multiple points for coolness for being in the dystopian-sci-fi-road-race movie Death Race 2000 with David Caradine and Sylvester Stallone. He plays a TV race commentator named Junior Bruce, who delights when the racers run over a victim.

You can find several airchecks of the Real Don Steele on the web including two tribute from Reel Radio found here and here. Also YouTube has some interesting airchecks as well, including a novelty record with Real Don Steele using his famous catchphrase "Tina Delgado Is Still Alive!"   A video aircheck from 1988 when Real Don Steel was a KRLA with a sexy blonde helping him (Could SHE BE TINA DELGADO?).

However, I wanted to include this aircheck from the early 70s that includes the Real Don Steele working the phones during a movie trivia contest.

The problem is modern radio would be happy to create another version of Paul Harvey, but another Real Don Steele is frowned upon in the current radio world. The idea the past few years has been to create stars in the talk radio side, but cut jobs and fire DJs on the music side. It is kind of sad when you think about it.
Of course, opinions, like this one expressed here, are why I'm considered the Super Villain of the Ozarks!!! Mwu-HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!


Michael Hagerty said...

The Real Don Steele's phrase was actually:

"Tina Delgado is alive, alive!"

He rarely if ever said it himself. The "screaming woman" audio you reference was actually a recording of a woman saying the phrase.

Desdinova said...

True. When I wrote the intro to this post, I was going on my memory of what I had heard. As I was writing this, I found some airchecks of the Real Don Steele from KHJ. I should have went back and corrected this error, although I like how it fits with the rest of the introduction to this.

I also found a recording on You Tube of a record he made with the woman's voice on it. You are correct. Thanks for reading.

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