The Night Marty Feldman Almost Ran Me Down on Sunset Boulevard

It is 1980. photographer-16022_640

KUCI DJ Patrick Zetterlund and I are shooting the Sunset Strip on a Friday night. Between us we have several cameras. lenses and a bunch of film.

Our line is that we’re from a Swedish magazine. Patrick is Swedish, so that’s easy. I’m half Swedish on my mother’s side. I have blonde hair and blue eyes. We decide he’ll do all the talking and then ‘translate’ for me into Swedish. I know how to say ‘thank you’ in a reasonable accent.

We start shooting traffic as the sun goes down, doing some time exposures of head-and-tail lights on color slide film. We’re breaking down our tripods when a Porsche Carrera passes us at a ridiculous speed, followed immediately by a white Highway Patrol Trans Am. We follow the tail lights as they disappear around the bend.

Our next stop is Tower Records. Patrick pitches the manager our story and the guy swallows it like he’s at a Smörgåsbord.

We roam the store taking pictures of the customers looking at records, at the staff waiting on customers, and cover the store. We’re about ready to leave when the manager says “I bet you can get some really good shots from on top of the counter.” I almost blow it by jumping directly up next to the register, but manage to wait long enough for Patrick to ‘instruct’ me in Swedish.

We move up the Strip, shoot the exterior of the Whisky A-Go-Go and walk the line, taking shots of all the punks waiting for the show. Then we return to the other end of the Strip to finish at the Roxy and the Rainbow Grill. We park on the street and walk back to the Roxy. There isn’t much going on. We wander across the driveway to the entrance to the Rainbow.

We are talking to the valets, trying to find out if there are any celebrities inside when a dune buggy comes flying up the driveway. I turn to find Marty Feldman driving at me wearing a ball cap with moose antlers. I dive out of the way just in time. As I pull myself to my feet and try to get my camera into shooting position, Feldman stumbles into the Rainbow.

#TBT The Devil Made Me Do It

It is 1980.
I am at UC Irivne. My Spanish class must write and perform skits in Spanish. I am absent the day of writing/rehearsing. I show up on performance day.
“Okay. What are we doing?”
“We’re doing the trial of a man’s soul before God.”
“OK. What do I play?”
“I’m the judge – that’s God. James is the man whose soul is on trial. Janet is the angel.”
“And I am..?”
She looks at me uncomfortably.
I have long hair, a moustache and a goatee. I have been told that I look like a young Albrecht Durer, the German Renaissance – era painter and printmaker.
“You’re El Diablo. You’re the Devil.”
I am a little disturbed by this.
“Why me? Why do I have to be El Diablo?”
“You weren’t here. I’m sorry. It just worked out this way.”
Then she pauses.
“Besides,” she adds. “You kind of look like the Devil.”
A few hours later, after we have successfully performed our trial en español, I head to my darkroom to develop the day’s photos for the newspaper. A group is gathered in the lobby of KUC across the hall. Several staff members – Vince Han, Michael Becchina, Michael Weinzweig, Jeff Schneidewind, Ken Spears, and others are orienting the newbies like Katrina Nourblin and Christine Suh on the station policies.
Then they begin discussing that most important topic, the ‘air name’ they must select for themselves. Staff members offer suggestions, bantering back and forth. Suddenly, Schneidewind turns to me, where I am watching from what I thought was a safe distance.
“You should be Diablo!” he exclaims.
Wha – WHAT?
I snap back. “WHY?”
He laughs. “You know. Deeble. Diablo.”
Well, that only makes too much sense. It’s actually pretty good. I’m pleased. And relieved.
“Besides,” he adds. “You kind of look like the Devil.”