17 September 2002

Steele Crazy After All These Years

Well here's a weird twist of fate ... after nearly 20 years of hardly ever thinking about my old radio show Brick Steele, my old pal Dan (see picture) has asked me to whip up a mini-adventure for a mate's going-away party this weekend. Ooh, this must be what Woody Allen feels like when people whine about why doesn't he make films like his old, funnier movies.

Not many people know, but many many moons ago I wrote and starred in a short-lived radio comedy-verite show called "Brick Steele, Semi-Private Eye and Part-Time Nose" that aired on WRAS-FM in Atlanta (college station). It was about an actor in a bad radio detective series -- and he thought (as did the public at large) that he really was a detective, so he would invariably and incompetently fall into one adventure after another. A radio show about a radio show -- with me so far?

If I may say so myself, it was mildly clever and mildly amusing. Bad puns, silly parodies and outrageous characters were the order of the day. I eventually wrote some 50 five-minute scripts and a Christmas special, but almost all of this was destroyed in a fire (no, not by the listeners).

Somebody else thought some of the ideas were good too -- the original show got a fair amount of praise, but I was really surprised about four years later when a series on ABC-TV called Sledge Hammer! turned up that was more than eerily similar, right down to the title character's obsession with his tie!

All that remains of Brick Steele are a few precious tapes I wisely made of the "demos" -- practice sessions with me doing all the voices and sound effects -- and some later "re-stagings" with my gang of friends when I would come down to Orlando to visit. My pal Jim lovingly preserved a few on CD, even!

So anyway, here I am trying to recreate the magic that was Brick Steele one more time -- it's a very weird feeling, particularly after 20 years. Anyone out there ever try to do something like this?

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