Thursday, July 1, 2010

Wolfman Jack

Wolfman Jack was a gravelly-voiced, American disc jockey who became world famous in the 1960s and 1970s, and whose real name was Robert Weston Smith

Smith attended the National Academy of Broadcasting in Washington, DC. In 1962, he moved to country music station KCIJ-AM in Shreveport, Louisiana to be the station manager as well as the morning disc jockey. It was at KCIJ that he first began to develop his famous alter ego Wolfman Jack. Smith's "Wolfman" persona "derived from Smith's love of horror flicks and his shenanigans as a 'wolfman' with his two young nephews. The 'Jack' was added as a part of the 'hipster' lingo of the 1950s

In 1963, Smith took his act to the border when the Inter-American Radio Advertising's Ramon Bosquez hired him and sent him to the studio and transmitter site of XERB-AM at Ciudad Acuña in Mexico, a station whose high-powered border blaster signal could be picked up across much of the United States. A car driving from New York to L.A. would never lose the station.

Wolfman Jack released two albums on the Wooden Nickel label: Wolfman Jack (1972) and Through the Ages (1973). His 1972 single "I Ain't Never Seen a White Man" hit #106 on the Billboard Singles Charts. In 1973 he appeared in director George Lucas' second feature film, American Graffiti, as himself. His broadcasts tie the film together, and a main character catches a glimpse of the mysterious Wolfman in a pivotal scene. In gratitude for Wolfman Jack's participation, Lucas gave him a fraction of a "point"—the division of the profits from a film—and the extreme financial success of American Graffiti provided him with a regular income for life.

Wolfman Jack died of a heart attack in Belvidere, North Carolina, on July 1, 1995.

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