No Small Feet

WPLJ’s Brad Blanks—Hannah Montana doppelganger? He looked good, in a freaky sort of way, to a mom and daughter who’ll “Rock” Newark.

Survivor begat Fear Factor and the reality shows that followed, merely to prove that people would do or eat anything for cash. That fascination had folks at WPLJ’s Scott & Todd In the Morning wondering: “What can we get Blanksie to do?”Brad Blanks, the Aussie who crashed the station seven years ago and has become ’PLJ’s roving entertainment reporter, has been up for myriad challenges hatched by cohost Todd Pettengill and executive producer Joe “Monkey Boy” Pardavila (check out for the evidence).The co-conspirators capitalized on the scramble for tickets to the December 29 and 30 Mylie Cyrus concerts at Newark’s Prudential Center. Cyrus, daughter of “Achy Breaky Heart” mullet hero Billy Ray Cyrus, stars with her dad in the Disney Channel hit Hannah Montana, about a girl who is unrecognizable to her friends when she’s onstage as a big-time pop star.calpers snatched up most tickets (it’s an epidemic around the country), preventing harried parents from buying them at face value. “There’s nobody hotter right now than Miley/Hannah,” Pettengill says. “With concert ticket prices the way they are, people need a way to get in, so why not have fun with it along the way? Plus it was another opportunity to embarrass Brad.”So it was decreed that Blanks would set out from Highlawn Pavilion in West Orange on a ten-mile run, ending at the Willowbrook Mall in Wayne. Tough enough for a bearded, 6-foot-5-inch, 260-pound guy. But how tough would it be in glittering 7-inch-heeled boots, miniskirt, fishnet stockings, and blue spandex top? Like an intrepid letter carrier (well, a transsexual letter carrier), Blanks braved predawn darkness, rain, and angry commuters, all in the name of good radio.

“I don’t really scare people,” he says, “but I must admit that the schoolkids on the way were a bit shocked by my appearance. I mean, people just know that I am the goofball running by in some crazy getup.”

“You’d think it would be easy to dress up a massive Australian and set him loose on the streets of Jersey, but think again. The planning was mind-numbing. Most of that falls on ‘Monk,’” Pettengill says. “Wardrobe, route planning, bail money—it has to be thought out to the smallest detail.”Irene Duncan of Hopatcong Township was the winner, estimating that “Brad/Hannah” would finish in 2 hours and 52 minutes. Of course, had Brad not stopped for a bathroom break at the home of “Cookie” two miles from the finish line, Irene and daughter Heidi would be watching reruns come December 29. “I haven’t been brave enough to let my folks back home in Australia see this one,” Blanks says. “Elmo is one thing, but I am not sure about the miniskirt and fishnets. Although I do reckon my mum would say, ‘You have nice legs. Got those from me.’”Blanks hopes his future in-laws aren’t following his career. “They’re in England, so they haven’t seen it. I would like to keep it that way.” Hey, a girl can dream, right?

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