|Wolfman live @ the KRLA studios in Burbank, CA circa 5/27/1985|
|Wolfman & Frank "Mars" Cotolo hard at work|
|A fan captured pic of Wolfman in the early-1970s.|
FRANK: No. But, he would also do stuff; if you listen to those Graffiti Gold things, you can hear him in the background; he’s really there as the songs are playing. He used to back up the beat by drumming on a telephone book. I started helping him ‘cause he didn’t want to do it anymore. We had two telephone books, I used to beat the telephone book and he sang over it and we did all sorts of stuff. So, it was quite a mixture. He did voice tracks and stuff too. And, then of course we did a live gig - we were on KRLA. Five nights a week we did it live unless he was out of town, then they played tapes. And, then I ran the show for him when we went to Nashville. I moved to Tennessee to run the show for him. I wrote and produced Wolfman’s country music show over the TNN radio network [circa 1989]. There was a live show from the Grand Ole Opry Hotel and then when he wasn’t there I would run the show at night as if he was really there. You see, he created this… [long pause] process of being able to make people think he was live even when he wasn’t live. Only a certain amount of people knew how to run the show. Lonnie knew how to run the show; I knew how to run the show. We could do everything and people would never have a clue that he wasn’t there.
FRANK: Yeah, sometimes, yeah when he wasn’t there. But, it’s very hard for anybody to pick out which ones when he was there, and when he wasn’t there. Because, we had it down to a science. Because we would even take phone calls when he wasn’t there.
KIP: Oh my God. That’s amazing.
FRANK: Yeah, that particular survey was used to measure the recognizable popularity of celebrities around the world. Yeah, I think that was the exact order. It got him so much work.
|Wolfman & Blues legend, B.B. King enjoy a moment on The Midnight Special.|
FRANK: Well, yeah everything helped him make a living being Wolfman Jack. When he did The Midnight Special [late-night TV concert series that ran from 1973-81] everyone knew, Wolfman Jack. He had more radio stations because he was on the TV. He would generate more business because of all the stuff. Of course, it was so much business that’s why he had to create certain ways of being in five places at once. Nobody could do that. There was no other Wolfman Jack. So, we had to do that. No, everything helped him. Once he came out… I mean he never wanted to come out. Did you read his book?
KIP: Oh, yeah. I have a signed autograph copy of his biography.
FRANK: I mean, he did not want to come out. He wanted to be that guy down there [in Mexico]. When he started coming out he had all sorts of fake make-up and he acted rude and everything ‘cause he just wanted to be that character. He never wanted to come out; he just came out and became publicly, Wolfman Jack. I mean, I never called him by his birth name, Bob Smith or anything. He hated that name. Unless you were a really, really close friend. People would try and be cool, “Hey, Bob, how ya doin’!” [Imitating the voice of a fan.] He wouldn’t even look at them. It was like invading his privacy. To me he was, “Woof.” Not even, “Wolf,” but just, “Woof.” But, ah, once the Wolfman character came out, that was it. He couldn’t be anything else. It was hard to be whatever was left of Bob Smith. Ya know, at XERF he sold all the airtime. During the day he was like a regular businessman and then he went and did his thing over the radio. In fact, the thing about American Graffiti that’s really weird is that he probably didn’t really look like that, in the year 1962 that was supposed to be happening [laughs]. Ya know, he put Wolfman Jack in there. But, he probably did not have that look that he had in the movie with a goatee and slicked back hair. He was thinner, he didn’t have the beard - he was different.
KIP: I know he didn’t have a beard in 1962, the year the film takes place.
FRANK: That’s what I mean. He created this character and the character took him over. That kind of exposure just helped him. It never hurt him. The only way it hurt him is that he wanted to do some serious acting and it prevented him from getting certain parts in movies. So, of course that hurt him. He was cursed in a way with being “Wolfman Jack.”
KIP: Speaking of movies, I heard he tried out for a part in one of Francis Ford Coppola’s legendary Godfather films?
|At Knott's Berry Farm circa 1976|
KIP: Wolfman Jack got stereotyped.
FRANK: Yeah, it happens with so many actors, they get known for one part. It’s the same thing we hit. Everyone was just like, “Hey, looks there’s Wolfman Jack!” That’s the end of it. So, he had considered shaving and being completely made-up and doing something other than Wolfman Jack. He did a couple of parts where he wasn’t Wolfman Jack. He was in ah; you must have seen uh, did you see, “Mortuary Academy?”
FRANK: I was there every moment. I even wrote a scene for him but they took it out, they pulled it from the movie. He didn’t play himself.
|Wolfman as Rev. Billy in the1980, B-horror flick, Motel Hell.|
|By the mid-'80s, Wolfman had his own cartoon show!|
FRANK: It’s horrible. You sleep on the plane, you don’t sleep on the plane, you get off, you gotta run for a plane, you go to a hotel, you gotta go to a show, you go back to the hotel, then you have to get back on the plane. It’s really…
FRANK: It’s really a strain.
KIP: I guess the strain become tiresome because in about 1989 you stopped working full-time with him to pursue other adventures. But, you kept in touch.
FRANK: Oh, absolutely. I was still writing for him when I moved and he’d come over the house to visit. We had a working relationship until he died. About two weeks before he died [of a heart-attack] he called me up and asked me to come to New York because they were getting together a lot of old disc jockeys from WNBC and some other east coast stations He said, “I’m doing this thing and I don’t want to do it without you. You have to be there.” It was very strange. I just had this funny feeling that I HAVE to go. We hadn’t seen each other in a long time and it turned out to be the last time we would ever be together. It’s one of the decisions in my life that I’ll never forget, because I can imagine what it would be like now if I’d said, “Why didn’t I go?” But, I did go and we had a blast. We had a great time. It was so much fun and it was a great way for us to go out. After he died we went down to North Carolina. The whole gang got together there for his funeral. We helped do the press and interviews and things.
|He made one of his last TV appearances on the sit-com, MARRIED WITH CHILDREN, 1995.|
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Two hours of Cotolo, uncut. Thursdays on Mediaworks' Canadian station, SRN One
|"Say, GOODBYE MARS!"|
- Clendaniel, Nancy. [Photo of Wolfman @ KRLA 1985.] Fine Art web site. http://nancy-clendaniel.artistwebsites.com/
- P, Allen. [Wolfman in cape & casket @ Knott's Berry Farm pics] Halloween Haunt 1976 part 2. Knott’s in Print Website. Thursday, October 27, 2011. Retrieved 10/16/2013. http://knottsinprint.blogspot.com