About Don Blanton
Don Blanton was once the youngest on-air personality in the United States, starting in radio at age 15 in Charleston, S.C. His parents did not even know that he was on the radio after school! He actually got his start at a Soul Music station during a time of racial crisis in this country during the 60's. His radio personality persona was that of an African American and he made a promise to the radio station that he would never disclose the details, a promise that he continues to uphold today. Several movie producers have approached him to create a movie about this time in his life. He claims that he would only do this if he could still maintain the anonymity of the people involved who may still be alive today!
Don went on to work at several radio stations while he was in high school which are listed in the Radiography section of this website. He also did numerous voice-overs for television and radio commercials and at one time had 15 distinct character voices.
Some of his many mentors in radio were Marv Brooks, Wolfman Jack, Doug Llewellyn, Bruce Diamond, and Gary Owens.
He decided to leave radio permanently to work in nightclubs as a disco dj as discotech's were becoming very popular and Don wanted to ride the wave of the new emerging disco dance music.
Don Blanton once again became the youngest Disco DJ in the United States working at a major nightclub in Washington, D.C. He started at a club called the Pier Nine on Tuesday nights while still attending high school during the day, working as a bank teller after school, and then sneaking out of his parent's home in Virginia to work at the nightclub in Washington, D.C. Even though he as only 17 and underage, the club owners let him work there as long as he only drank Coca-Cola!
He was tutored by an amazingly bizarre and talented man by the name of Robert Evans, who introduced Don to a world that he never knew existed. Robert explained the reasoning behind playing records, and the emotions that you can generate by the music in which you play. Robert was not a great mixologist, but he was a brilliant programmer. Don watched, listened and learned and eventually developed his own style including the art of beat mixing which he perfected.
In order to obtain his radio license he had to learn a lot of electronics, of which he applied that knowledge to disco deejaying. He brought direct drive turntables from radio, he had traveled to New York with Robert and met Bobby "DJ" Guttadero who showed him a Bozak mixer of which he purchased one and brought back to Washington, D.C. He invented slip pads in order to facilitate the slip cueing of records which was a new phenomenon in those days. Only a handful of DJ's could mix.
Don became friends with many disco stars of the 70's including Barry White and Gloria Gaynor. He would even mix some of their records later on in his career.
In New York, Don was a guest DJ at Studio 54 and was even part of the VIP room downstairs where he hung out with Andy Warhol, Halston and Liza to name a few.
In Ft. Lauderdale, Don worked at the famous Marlin Beach Hotel Disco called The Poop Deck. This was the location of the fim, "Where the Boys Are", starring Connie Francis. Don had met Connie Francis and she persuaded him to spend a summer in Ft. Lauderdale. While in Florida, Don was summoned back to Washington D.C. to host his own television show ala American Bandstand, called the Don Blanton Disco Show.
In Los Angeles Don worked at Studio One, Odyssey1. While working at the Odyssey, he was a powerful DJ being the first to play Donna Summer, Paul Jabara, The Village People, Grace Jones and many disco stars of the day. Their labels and the stars themselves would meet with Don regularly to break new material if Don thought they were going to be a hit.
He also became a celebrity DJ for Allan Carr. Allan produced Grease and hired Don to be his private DJ late at night. Through Allan Don met Governor Jerry Brown, Dinah Shore, Burt Reynolds, Robin Williams, Hugh Hefner, Barbra Streisand, and Orson Welles. Dinah Shore used to have Don in the audience as a shill for Orson Welles' magic tricks. Don and Orson became friends about a year before Orson passed away. He claims that the Dinah Shore Orson Welles experience was one of the best times of his life. Allan and Don remained in contact for many years until Allan passed away a few years ago. Allan cast Don in his film, "Can't Stop the Music" with the Village People.
Don arrived in Los Angeles in May of 1977. The first order of business was to secure a job as a disco DJ in order to survive. One night inside the Backlot Theater he met Charles Nelson Reilly who befriended Don and invited him to the Match Game. Don enrolled in acting classes under Charles' guidance at the Debbie Reynolds Studios. Charles loaned Don the money for his first apartment.
Don studied at the prestigious Charles Conrad Studio, voice with William and Irene Chapman, and fencing with the American Theater Arts.
Don became a celebrated DJ and soon found himself at big Hollywood parties. It was on one occasion that Allan Carr met Don and hired him as a dj for his famous celebrity parties. The story goes that one night, Allan was in the shower and Don persuaded him through the bathroom door to let him audition for "Can't Stop the Music." Allan agreed if Don would let him take his shower in peace. Don was auditioning for the lead which was later given to Steve Guttenberg because he had more experience. But Allan wrote a part in the movie where Don played himself in a scene with Steve which landed Don his SAG card.
Don went on to appear in a few films and a few TV commercials in the 70's. Don decided to abandon the film acting career as he really did not enjoy it as much as he thought he would.
MASTER OF CEREMONIES
Don has been the master of ceremonies for many charity, university and entertainment events. Most recently Don was the emcee for the T-Mobile MyTouch 3G launch in San Francisco in August 2009. This year he will return as the host of the New York Times Square New Year's Eve celebration which will mark his 9th year as the Master of Ceremonies for that event.
His award winning designs have been used in many advertising campaigns, live events, theme park rides to name a few.
Don has invented numerous products for the entertainment industry including customized celebrity gifts which have been featured in People Magazine. He also invented FastCast and entertainment casting system, slip pads for turntables used by many disco jeejays, games for the Warner Bros. and Disney Studio stores, an automated disc-jockey and animated ad system called "The Entertainment Management System" for numerous nightclubs and bars. A digital video delivery system used by Olympic Spirit and Gameworks, talking tombstones, talking urinals and much more!
Note: This biography reflects Don Blanton's performance and personal accomplishments from 1966 until present day. For a more in depth look at his production career, please read the Bio on The WOW Factor website