|On-location during production of American Graffiti, smoking one of his typical non-filtered cigarettes.|
WOLFMAN DOES LUCAS
|Wolfy & Lucas picking his favorite "wolfisms."|
|Wolfy & George Lucas pose by the '32 coupe at the Avco Cinema Center Theater Press Screening, 1973|
|The KRE studio in Berkeley, CA doubled as XERB|
|At the premier of American Graffiti with Kim Fowley who produced the 3 Flash Cadillac tunes for the film.|
AMERICAN GRAFFITI IS A SUCCESS
money helping publicize American Graffiti by making promotional appearances and setting up giveaways for albums, posters, and other items. As we know, American Graffiti went on to become one of the most profitable films in Hollywood history. George Lucas was grateful to those that helped make the film a success and showed his gratitude by sharing the wealth. After the film made $20 million in profits Lucas and co-producer, Gary Kurtz generously began sharing a small percentage of the film’s profits with its stars including Wolfman. For the first few years after Graffiti was released Wolfman said he'd get royalty checks for about $175,000 every six months. However, cast member, Cindy Williams once told Entertainment Weekly magazine the total ended up being over $50,000 for each of them. Regardless, after a few checks Wolfman was able to pay back his debts incurred while at XERB. At the time of his death he was still receiving periodic residual checks.
|Wolfy, & Graffiti stars, Cindy Williams & Paul LeMat at the press screening for the film.|
|1975 trade ad for syndicated shows|
|U.S. Air Force recruiting show|
|With Lonnie Napier who spent more than 20 years working as producer for WOLFMAN JACK|
Even when he was on the air from 7:00pm to midnight, at station WNBC in 1973 he had total creative control over what he could play and say for about the first 6 months he was there. No program director or general manager could interfere with his decision. Much to the dismay of he and his fans, in order to stay on the airwaves of commercial radio Wolfman had to change his "anything goes" style and play current popular music as determined by the sometimes bland Top 40 music charts. He once told a British newspaper writer, "I want to stay in syndication so there are rules and regulations that I have to comply with," he said, "and a lot of control of the music is out of my hands. But, they haven't been able to control my mouth." However, Wolfman even had to censor his suggestive language. On mainstream radio he could no longer ask female callers, "Are your little peaches sweet?" Certain terms that were once part of the Wolfman lexicon had to be eliminated to comply with FCC regulations at the time. "I'm gonna have to cut some of that stuff out," he regrettably told Creem magazine in August 1972 when he was working at KDAY and his syndicated show was just beginning to take off. "They won't let me say whizz or boogaloo anymore." It's too bad. He was once the outlaw boss of Border radio, but became legit and wound up bowing down to the demands of the marketplace by way of play lists determined by audience research, consultants, and computer software.
|Both a Culture Club and Rolling Stones video can be seen in this 1984 clip of Wolf Rock TV|
|Woflman & Bopper|
|An ad for his single from his 1972 self-titled album.|
|Wolfman Jack on 8-Track tape|
including "I Ain't Never Seen a White Man" (penned by Kenny Rogers) which charted on Billboard Singles Charts at #106. Other songs on the album included "Sweet Caroline," "Hey, Wolfman," and "Diggin' on Miss Jones." His second album on Wooden Nickel records, THROUGH THE AGES was released in 1973. It featured such songs as "The Blob," "One Mint Julep," "The Rapper," and "Stagger Lee." Another Wolfman album, FUN & ROMANCE was released on the Columbia label in 1975. As a novelty, the songs on these albums were fun to listen to, but it convinced the record buying public that Wolfman was a much better disc jockey than singer. Below you can hear one of the songs from his THROUGH THE AGES album that was released as a single.
ALL "SOULED" OUT!
|A 1976 sock hop at the Charleston Landing Auditorium sponsored by WCSC-1390|
Almost twenty years after his unexpected death in 1995, the Wolfman Jack legacy continues. To honor his memory, ongoing efforts persist to build a large Wolfman Jack sculpture and a museum in Del Rio,Texas where he first got his start. There's no doubt his legacy is part of rock history.Wolfman Jack was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 1996, and into the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Broadcasting Hall of Fame in 1999. . He continues to find new fans in a career that lasted over three decades as an entertainer. But, the largest proof of his staying power and popularity is the fact that Wolfman Jack's show is in syndication.
We'll close this article with the Wolfman saying good night and signing off as he did during his reign at XERB. To set the scene, just imagine its very late at night and some sexy, jazz instrumental music performed on the B3 organ by Johnny Smith or Jimmy McGriff is playing softly as Wolfman in a relaxed personable, low-key, voice says,"We gotta split, baby. That's it for another, groovy, groovy, night. It's been really a pleasure keepin' you company along the highways and bi-ways, man. And, if I helped to keep you awake just a teeny bit, I might have saved your life tonight. You never know. For those of you who wanna dig da Wolfman tomorrow night, I'll be back here same stand, man. Right here, on the big XERB. 50,000-watt clear channel. 10-90 on yer radio dial. And, I'll always be lookin' for you, baby. Hope you'll always be lookin' for me, ya understand? When you love you live... Listen, ah, for those of you who live in southern California, now...Don't forget, yours truly, Wolfman Jack will be back on the air right here on the big XERB from two until six o'clock in the afternoon. Each and every afternoon, right here, on XERB. That's where I'm at, baby. And, for you folks all over the United States, Canada, and Mexico; God bless ya. Keep yer ears clean. BYE!"
|Wolfman's grave site is in Belvidere Plantation, Belvidere, North Carolina. At the base of his tombstone are a few famous Wolfman phrases such as, "Owwwww, Are your little peaches sweet?"|
~ FIN ~
THE WORD FROM MARS: INTERVIEW WITH LONGTIME WRITER OF THE WOLFMAN JACK SHOW, FRANK "MARS" COTOLO
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- Taylor, Chuck. (2005). Wolfman Jack is Back. AllBusiness.com
- Tickell, Paul. November 7th, 1981. New Musical Express p.11. Website Radio Caroline Story-the 80s. <http://www.offshoreechos.com/Caroline%2080/Press%20Reports-17.htm> Retrieved 12/1/2010.
- Tiegel, Eliot. XERB Sharpens R&B Format. Billboard Magazine. January 28, 1967.
- Twin Cities Radio Timeline. St. Louis Park Historical Society website: <http://www.slphistory.org/history/radio.asp> Retrieved 10/6/2010.
- Tyler, Tim. Wolfman Jack Finally Shows his Face. Creem Magazine. August 1972.
- "The Making of American Graffiti." (Supplementary documentary by Laurent Bouzereau). American Graffiti. Dir. George Lucas. DVD. Universal Studios, 1973; dist. Universal Home Video, Inc., 1998.
- Wolfman Jack and Byron Laursen. Have Mercy! Confessions of the Original Rock 'n' Roll Animal. Warner Books, New York 1995.
- Wolfman Jack and the Border Blasters. Rick Everett. CD. Air-Check Factory.com. 2002.
- XERB 1970. Comments page. Reel Top 40 Radio Repository. First post: 4/18/2001. Retrieved 3/20/2013. http://www.reelradio.com/comment/comment.cgi?wmxerb70~Wolfman+Jack,+XERB,+1970~../pf/index.html.
"Airplay, the Rise & Fall of Rock Radio" DVD (2008) [Photograph] composite photo of Wolfman in front of X station circa 1964.
"Rock 'N' Roll Invaders, The AM Radio DJ's" DVD (1998) Winstar Home Entertainment. [Photograph] Young Bob Smith in studio.