In 'Don Donaldo,' governor could continue a dramatic role

This Just In...

April 18, 1994|By Dan Rodricks

As everyone feels compelled to speculate on what William Donald Schaefer should do with himself after he finishes being governor -- an understandable desire; the man is a public institution -- I think I'll nudge up through the crowd and grab the mike for a minute. I spent the whole weekend doing almost nothing but thinking about Don Donaldo's future because, frankly -- and this is going to sound selfish -- I do not want to think about life without The Don in public, where we can all enjoy him. So I have suggestions.

As you read this, governor, remember: This is coming from a citizen of Baltimore who has been tickled pink by you for nearly two decades and who is sincerely thankful for your years of public service. Face it: You're an entertaining guy -- the best we have. When you're not blowing your top over something, you're usually doing something good for people. And you're honest. All these years, you were never indicted. For all I know, you've never even been audited.

So here are my suggestions.

* This is going to sound self-serving, but I see no reason why William Donald Schaefer could not play himself in "Don Donaldo," the operatic ring cycle. The libretto and argument sit in my files waiting for someone such as Ray Sprenkle or Ronnie Dove to compose the score. You don't even have to sing. You could lip the words while someone like the great bass-baritone James Morris sings your part from offstage. You would get to wear robes and brood a lot. You could even slay guys, which is standard in opera. We could book the Lyric for a run and finally stage this thing. Zim Zemarel could conduct the orchestra, and I bet Joan Jett would consider donning steel breastplate and helmet as your love interest. Screams, I guarantee screams.

* Host your own TV talk show. Why not? Kweisi Mfume has one, and he's good at it. We could call the show, "Donald," and air it live from, say, Blob's Park. I would love to see you standing in a studio audience with a microphone, asking people how they feel about, say, Women Who Eat Too Much, Men Who Sweat Too Much and People Who Like to Impersonate Cows. That would be eye-popping television, and it would give you a chance to make a lot of funny faces, express disgust or delight, whatever turns you on. The show would be best if it dealt with local issues. Imagine the themes: Busting The Block; Surviving Snow Panic; Extinguishing Stump Dump Fires; The Eastern Shore: Maryland's Outhouse?; Robert Irsay: A Life Examined; Crabs N' Critters (I would love to see Donald in a live-animal segment); Hon: Greeting or Putdown? You could even have a cooking segment. Endless, baby, the possibilities are endless!

* Host your own radio talk show. Ed Koch has one, why not you? You could get on the air every morning and blast The Sun and make all kinds of uninhibited comments about the person who succeeds you as governor. You could interview celebrities, such as Peter Angelos, Tom Clancy and George F. Will. You could deal with issues such as taxes, the death penalty, welfare reform and gays in the military. Killer, I tell you, killer ratings!

* Host your own cable TV fishing show. You like to fish. You love the state of Maryland. I would finally became a cable subscriber if I knew we could see William Donald Schaefer hosting a show called, "The Temperamental Fisherman." Imagine yourself in a twin-engine Tracker, racing across Loch Raven Reservoir and fishing for bass, or chumming for rockfish in the Chesapeake or spearing blues off Assateague, or crabbing off the Potee Street Bridge, or blasting your boat siren at oyster poachers. You could have celebrity guests such as Peter Angelos, Tom Clancy and George F. Will. You could go fly-fishing in the Patuxent with Kurt Schmoke and, of course, we'd all tune in to see how careful you are with your back-cast. The endorsement possibilities are tremendous: "Hi, I'm William Donald Schaefer and I want to tell you what a difference Catfish Hot Dogs have made in my angling success." Pay, I tell you, I'd pay to see it.

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