Interview reveals my mysterious past

Curious about my sordid past? Want to know some of my secret thoughts about freelancing and the copywriting business?

Well, this is your lucky day. I often do interviews with people who are curious about such things and one of them just appeared over at The Web Shop’s Best Practices Blog.

People find it curious that I started out in the weird and wonderful world of television before finding my way (with many twists and turns) into the world of direct mail and direct marketing. But it’s true.

I was a television producer (which sounds more glamorous than it is). My job was to promote syndicated shows on NBC, including The Muppet Show, Dukes of Hazzard, and Laverne & Shirley. Yep, those were real shows, for those of you too young to remember.

General LeeI gained some notoriety for driving around in an authentic replica of the “General Lee,” an orange 1969 Dodge Charger, to promote the Dukes of Hazzard. A fellow employee and I whooped and hollered and generally made asses of ourselves, but achieved our objective of getting attention for the show. It was an early lesson in how not to be subtle if you want to achieve an objective.

Other tidbits, if you’re at all curious:

I was the original “Snow Bird,” a 6-foot penguin mascot that promoted the weather segment of news broadcasts in the Ohio Valley. Even in the winter, the suit was so hot, a battery-operated fan had to be mounted inside the head to keep me from passing out. I made good money with that gig.

I also gained fame as the “Fish Guy,” yet another odd mascot, this time a dancing fish with a vaudevillian past who appeared in TV commercials for a restaurant. The joke? I have never been able to dance.

I’ll also admit to developing a reputation as the “screamer,” one of those announcers who can plow through more than a minute of copy in a 30-second TV or radio spot hawking mattress sales, car shows, and other events.

I’ve sold pipe and paint, taught English to foreign students, ghostwritten (or edited) 22 middle school textbooks, won a respectable number of medals in Olympic-style pistol tournaments, earned a living for a while as a drummer in a top-40 band, and produced some of the commercials you see every night about sponsoring poor children overseas. And I’m the proud sponsor of two of those children.

There. Now you know more about me than many of my neighbors. Aren’t you appalled?

Subscribe to FREE Newsletter / Subscribe to blog by RSS or E-mail


6 Responses to “Interview reveals my mysterious past”

  1. Shama Hyder on June 3rd, 2008 3:15 pm

    Very intriguing indeed! Ever meet any celebrities?
    = )

  2. Dean Rieck on June 3rd, 2008 4:08 pm

    A few. No one huge. Did promos with Blair Underwood of L.A. Law. Some politicians and musicians. I’d have to think about it.

  3. Chad on June 12th, 2008 5:13 pm


  4. Chad on June 12th, 2008 5:14 pm

    sorry…i should clarify:

    Wow…in a very good way!

  5. Dean Rieck on June 12th, 2008 5:39 pm

    Thanks for making that clear, Chad. But I’d understand either way. :)

    And I didn’t even tell you about my English class full of gang members out in Las Vegas or other frightening details.

  6. Chad on June 12th, 2008 6:57 pm

    The 2nd to last paragraph is golden – it’s amazing how well you’ve done in so many different jobs/careers.

    Sounds like you should put together an autobiography!

FREE Newsletter
Get my monthly newsletter and a FREE 16-page Report: 99 Easy Ways to Boost Your Direct Mail Response!
Enter your main e-mail:
Past issues and more info.
Your privacy is guaranteed.