Real Don Steele Show
The Real Don Steele was one of the true legendary voices of Top 40 radio. Steele became a brand name in the mid-1960s during his stint at KHJ in Los Angeles where he helped pioneer their popular “Boss Radio” format. He made the transition to TV early on in his career and by ’65 he was hosting his first series “Boss City” where his zany persona was a natural fit with the teenage set. Unfortunately no episodes of the program are known to exist. Guests included the illustrious likes of The Pink Floyd, Jefferson Airplane, The Doors, Brenton Wood, The Standells and many, many more. As the shows were aired live to the local market only there was no ‘practical’ reason to roll expensive 2” tape or kinescope… a sad but familiar story in television history.
By 1972, when the glam rock explosion was in full swing, The Real Don Steele was back on the tube with another hip teen dance show featuring weekly musical guests, a show which Don himself described at the time as “Dick Clark on Acid”. On this series the charismatic Steele was bookended by a pair of sexy go-go dancers, one of whom was Pamela (“I’m With The Band”) Des Barres for a period of several months. Steele held dance contests featuring the studio audience on every episode and the hilarious spotlight dance involved our host dragging or shoving the often unprepared or unwilling teens dressed in their platform heels and Ziggy Stardust make-up into the circle and screaming “GO!!!”. Steele regularly anchored a fast-paced and humor-laced news desk and covered juicy industry gossip and all of the hot new trends on the L.A. scene. The show was not only a hit with TV viewers but also L.A.’s local scenesters, and tapings were attended religiously by the same congregation of groupies and proto-punks known to attend Rodney’s English Disco at that time. Steele kept up to the minute on the fads from the UK and the ever-mutating Sunset Strip underground and his infectious enthusiasm for music ranging from the mainstream to the surreal makes for some of the most interesting television of its kind. Don had a few pilots and specials over the years and returned with a new oldies-format TV series in 1987, before his sad passing a decade later.
Guests on this series (of which many episodes DO exist) included many incredible rock and soul acts performing their big hits such as The Doobie Brothers, Gary Glitter, Syl Johnson, Redbone, The Spinners, Dr. Hook, The Hues Corporation, Bobby Womack, Waylon Jennings, Kool & The Gang, The Undisputed Truth, Seals & Crofts, Bloodstone, The DeFranco Family & The Sylvers. Rock trivia buffs will note that the cover photographs for the 2nd New York Dolls LP “Too Much Too Soon” were shot on the set of the Real Don Steele Show circa 1972.
Real Don Steele Show Television Library includes footage of:
Related Footage Galleries: