Who is this man, and why is he wearing a funny suit?



It's a long story.


Twenty-eight years worth o' long.


Back in the late 70's, the disco era, I got my first job as a disk jockey on WKST-AM in New Castle, Pennsylvania.  Thanks to a terrific program director named Steve Mechling, who put up with my young punk's ego, I had the opportunity to learn how to perform in front of a microphone.  It was a terrific job for which I will always be thankful, but of course, as all good things, it came to an end in 1979.


Now here's where the funny suit comes in.


I joined the Army.   Well, perhaps"joined" is a little misrepresentative of the situation.   They owned me because they paid for college.  Now don't get me wrong, I wasn't upset at all about this.  At a time when many of my deejay colleagues were struggling in the smallest of stations in commercial radio, I was wearing Army green.  


First Lieutenant Dan Wolfe, circa 1981


Or in this case, khaki.


On top of that, during my first years, I managed an Army radio station, spun records myself, edited videotape and learned how to produce and anchor a 30-minute television newscast.


Anchor TV News?  Yeah right.  



I am the guy who inspired the phrase "he has a great face for radio."  Not only that, I'd never sat in front of a TV camera in my life except for the security cameras at 7-11.


I was so bad on TV my first time on camera that I decided that I needed to learn some performance skills, presence and discipline.  So I did a community theater play at the Fort Gordon Theatre Guild.


That's where this whole acting thing started.


After my auspicious stage debut, I bounced in and out of the commercial broadcasting industry and in and out of more than my share of community and professional theater companies over my active Army years, all the while continuing to chase success as a Soldier. (And yes, all that theater training DID help my TV and voice over work immensely.)


In 1990, I left the full-time Army and moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting.   Naturally, it was the worst California economy in decades, so I was fortunate enough to associate myself with the Army Reserve.


Knowing that my best chance for long-term financial security was something more stable than acting, and I didn't want to wait tables if I didn't have to, I continued to play Army those years in Los Angeles.  In 1997, I ran the Armed Forces Radio and Television Stations in Bosnia, Croatia and Hungary.  In 2000, I was in Saudi Arabia as the Army spokesperson, reporter, editor and public affairs officer.  In 2002, I was called back to active duty in the Pentagon and retired in 2007.


I stayed on active duty here in the DC area so long that I was able to earn a full active duty retirement. That means that I get to start collecting it now, instead of waiting until I turned 60 as most Reserve Soldiers do -- a pretty good deal fiscally, when you look at it in context.  


What that means now is that I am free to concentrate on more artistic endeavors.  Like acting.  And voice-over work.  And radio.  And growing hair.


During my 29 years performing on the radio, on TV, in national and local commercials, on stage and film, I managed to squeak out an Army career.  I may have dressed funny and had unfashionably short hair, but I fought to stay in touch with the entertainment industry by working in Army broadcasting as well as civilian markets. I performed in community theater in places like Belgium and Alaska as well as Southern California, all truly exotic locales.  Even working as an Army spokesperson, I never strayed far from a job which allowed me to exercise my performance chops.   (Believe me, improv comedy ain't got nuthin' on a room full of angry reporters!)


So that's my story, and I can support it with all sorts of triplicate paperwork the government requires under such circumstances.  Hey, nearly six years in the Pentagon gets you your black belt in Bureaucracy!


I never DID wait tables in Hollywood.  Perhaps that romantic notion of the struggling actor would have made for great conversation with my fellow actors, some of whom actually DID wait tables despite the cliche.  Yet I was fortunate enough to see things and meet people and experience the world in strange and remarkable ways.


Damn, I'm glad I got that out of my system!


Now, let's talk sitcom.