A 27-yearold social climber named Danny Estrada is riding the cachet of being Erik Estrada’s son.
Until recently, the aspiring “It” boy was
cutting a smooth path toward the upper reaches of Manhattan’s junior
class hierarchy. The Long Island native—who, by his own account, “looks
exactly like” Erik Estrada—had made a name for himself as a club
promoter. He regularly played host at nightclubs like Marquee, Butter,
Suede and Gypsy Tea.The snag in his celebrity pantyhose was revealed, however, when the New York Daily News
was forced to publish a retraction to a syrupy gossip item which had
ran June 19 under the headline “‘ChiPs’ Off the Old Block.” It featured
Mr. Estrada ostensibly sharing a page from the family scrapbook.“‘My
earliest memory of my father, [‘CHiPs’ star] Erik Estrada,’” the
original item read, “‘is being in the family car with him, stuck in
endless L.A. highway traffic and then suddenly being escorted by two
California Highway Patrolmen on motorcycles,’ recalls TV actor Danny
Estrada …. ‘I asked Dad why the patrolmen were out in front, and he
said he had been a patrolman once himself. For years, I thought Dad was
The most incredible thing about the story isn’t that Danny Estrada isn’t really Erik Estrada’s son, it’s that Erik Estrada still has any cachet. We’re talking about a has-been actor who hosts infomercials for desolate home sites in Arkanasas…what possible social cachet could he have? If Erik Estrada’s name still has juice, just think how far you’d get saying you’re Greg Evigan’s son. Or the Bear’s.
I can’t be too hard on Erik Estrada, though. He doesn’t take himself too seriously. He spoofed himself in a cameo on an episode DIAGNOSIS MURDER that Bill Rabkin and I wrote. We had him starring in a new Stephen J. Cannell series called "Frankencop." We put a scar on his head, bolts on his neck, and stuck him on a Highway Patrol motorcycle.
Speaking of Estrada, I heard a story from a former junior NBC exec who was assigned to make sure Erik Estrada, at the height of his CHIPS stardom, didn’t succeed in seducing a senior NBC exec’s mistress at various industry/network parties. The junior exec always failed, at one point catching the mistress giving Estrada a handjob under the table at some affiliates party. But the junior exec wisely always told the senior exec that, thanks to his vigilance, the mistress and Estrada never were able to hook up. I don’t know if the anecdote is true, but this former junior NBC exec had a lot of fun telling us stories about this futile assignment.