Don Donaldo, you're just unforgettable, that's what you are

THIS JUST IN . . .

May 27, 1994|By DAN RODRICKS

William Donald Schaefer, taking one of an endless series of bows as he makes his exit from the political stage, received an especially effusive introduction at the Better Business Bureau's annual luncheon the other day. Schaefer, said Alvin Levi, will be "remembered as the greatest mayor in the city's history and the greatest governor in Maryland's history." Don Donaldo then spoke, relating again how various people and regions of the state, especially the Eastern Shore, haven't appreciated his efforts. (He can't resist a little whine, can he?) "In history I will be remembered?" he asked. "Damn, I want to be remembered now." Don't worry, pal. Unforgettable -- that's what you are.

Old mids and ribs

At Damon's, a rib place at Ritchie Highway and Jones Station Road, the sign this week said: "Congratulations USNA 94 Now Hiring." Guess they figure some freshly minted ensigns would make good waiters.

A savvy defendant

The other day in Baltimore County District Court, a defendant in a theft case asked for a jury trial. He got what he wanted. Tuesday evening in Circuit Court in Towson, the prosecutor and public defender needed about an hour to select and seat a jury. Then, next morning, the defendant was brought to Judge J. William Hinkel's courtroom for trial. He leaned back in his chair at the trial table, kicked up one of his feet, pointed to the shackles on them and said, "Can somebody take these off so I can get a fair trial?" Deputies had failed to remove the shackles before the defendant entered the courtroom. (Jurors are not supposed to see defendants in handcuffs or shackles, because such a vision might influence the panel.) Everyone saw the shackles. Judge Hinkel, who was not amused, had to declare a mistrial, dismiss the jury and start the process all over again. Of course, had this procedure-savvy defendant expressed a concern about his shackles earlier -- or resisted sticking his foot in the air where everyone could see it -- his trial might have moved forward expeditiously. But, hey, if there's a chance you'll be doing time, what's the rush, right?

Coughing by the numbers

One evening last week, the guy who records the daily numbers for the Maryland Lottery on the Talking Yellow Pages had a terrible coughing fit. How do we know? It was on tape. At least two women heard the poor guy gagging, and they said the recording was on all night. How do they know? They kept calling to hear it. "I couldn't help it, it was hysterical," one of them said. The women dialed the Donnelly Directory Talking Yellow Pages to get the daily numbers. The recording started with the usual greeting -- "Hi, here are the Maryland lottery results . . ." -- followed by coughing. The fit lasted anywhere from 20 to 40 seconds, according to the women who heard it. "And he just kept coughing and coughing until you heard him say, 'Oh, that hurt,' " one of the women reported. "Then, finally, he re-introduced himself and gave the numbers. Apparently, he didn't erase the coughing before the second recording. It was funny. I called several friends to tell them to dial the number just to hear the guy coughing." Hey, beats listening to numbers you don't have, right?

The singing painter

Ever heard of Earl Bozman, the singing painter? "I did the Marty Bass show on Channel 13," Earl says and, in Baltimore, that pretty much means you've arrived, baby. Earl will be 66 this year and, yes, he actually had a career as a house painter but, no, he doesn't sing while he paints. "I have to concentrate when I paint and I have to concentrate when I sing, and I can't do both," he says. Though he's retired, Earl still travels around in a truck with a sign advertising himself as "the singing painter." That's what Bass and Don Scott call him whenever he appears on WJZ's morning show, and that's how veteran country music and bluegrass man L. C. Smith introduces him when Earl stands up and sings with Smith and his Down Home Folks. (They play every Friday night at Star Liquors and Lounge on Northpoint Road.) "I wear my white work clothes sometimes," Earl says. "But I have $900 Gene Autry boots. I got a white Gene Autry hat, too. I use 'em when I sing. I sing, 'Silver-Haired Daddy of Mine,' and 'Back In The Saddle Again,' and I sing a little Hank Williams." He does not perform with a paint brush or roller. "Nope," says Earl. "But I got a Gibson guitar."

Croons like Sinatra

Mickey Light, Baltimore's -- and maybe the nation's -- leading impersonator of Frank Sinatra, wants to meet the Frank Man himself when he plays Merriweather Post Pavilion this summer. "That would be a dream of a lifetime, Dan," Mickey says. "Can you get me backstage to meet Frank?" Sinatra in August I can't do, Mick, but if you want to meet the pope in October, hey, no problem. . . . Mickey says he's playing regular gigs at Giovanni's in Edgewood and Joey's in Essex. He gets an occasional "job in Jersey" and, next month, he's playing the parking lot at the grand reopening of Mr. D's, the diner that sits on Eastern Avenue at the Back River Bridge, the Gateway to Essex. The strangest job Mickey had recently took him to the choir loft of a Catholic church in East Baltimore. It was a funeral. He sang "Summer Wind" during Mass and, as the coffin was being carried out of the church, "My Way." Says Mickey, "It gave me chills."

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