Director Mary Kerr’s UK Documentary “Radioman” investigates the daily life of former transient Craig Schwartz, better known as “Radio” for the token boom box worn around his neck. This heartwarming story explores the varying experiences of being homeless in NYC, which actually includes some definite high points. The main high? The ability to roam around film sets on an old Schwinn bike and shake hands with famous people.
Radioman is an incredibly devoted movie-lover who prowls film sets in Manhattan, hoping to make a cameo appearance and perhaps get some food. Called the “Where’s Waldo of Showbiz” and the “New York film set mascot,” Radio has appeared in over 100 movies and TV shows, from “30 Rock” to “Elf” to “The Bourne Trilogy.” Over the years, he has developed close first-name-basis relationships with many folks in Hollywood, including Robin Williams, George Clooney, Tom Hanks, Jude Law, Helen Mirren, Meryl Streep, Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg and Johnny Depp.
Kerr’s documentary focuses on the very special friendship Radio has with his celebrity friends, who have taken an easy liking to him because of his charisma and good humor. Some stars, like Meryl Streep, even venture to call him Hollywood’s good luck charm.
“This man is a cultural institution,” said Tom Hanks in an interview. “If you get on a first name basis with the Radio you know you’ve made it!”
Radio will be in good company at this year’s Santa Barbara International Film Festival. For the full story, check out “Radioman” for yourself.
A version of this article appeared on page 6 of January 17, 2013’s print edition of the Nexus.