The Wolfman Howls Over Cranston Spot

Times Political Writer

The Wolfman is mad.

And he says to Alan Cranston, “I’m gonna getcha.”

It all started when Robert Shrum and David Doak, who make TV commercials for Democratic Sen. Cranston’s reelection campaign, were looking for one more ad to draw attention to the inconsistent stands that Cranston’s Republican opponent, Rep. Ed Zschau, has taken on some issues.

Why not “Ed Zschau’s greatest flip-flops?” they mused as they brainstormed late one night in Washington.


And why not go for the younger voters and late-night TV viewers with a takeoff on the commercials that offer dozens of greatest hits at low, low prices?

“This is Jackman Wolf with the greatest hits of that great song-and-dance man, Ed Zschau,” the Cranston commercial begins.

Sounds Like Wolfman

The gravelly voice sounds like that of Wolfman Jack, the radio disc jockey whose role in the 1970s movie “American Graffiti” made him famous around the world.

The Wolfman, who had his name legally changed from Bob Smith, didn’t think it was funny recently when he turned on his television and heard that voice very much like his own in Cranston’s TV spot.

This week his Hollywood agent, Don Pitts, called the Cranston campaign and asked it to pull the commercial.

“We started getting calls from his fans wanting to know, ‘Is that Wolfman?’ ” Pitts said Wednesday. “We want the ad off the air. The Wolfman wants people to know it is not his voice. He stays neutral in politics.”

The Cranston campaign is considering the request but, with the election at hand, it will probably be a moot issue.


‘It’s a Big Hit’

Meanwhile, Jackman--not Wolfman--is generating dozens of phone calls to the Cranston campaign, according to Cranston spokesman Kam Kuwata.

“They love the ad. It’s a big hit,” said Kuwata, who does a pretty fair Wolfman himself and knows the ad by heart:

“Ed Zschau will tell you anything,” says Kuwata, doing Jackman doing Wolfman. “You remember his classic about toxic waste?”


Then he breaks into song doing another imitation, this one of Elvis Presley: “Caught in a dump, but I can’t clean it up, because I took too much money, baby.”