His latest episode might be called: Rock 'n' Rollen Meets the KGB." Or some sort of Soviet police. By whatever title, today's stunt was a career capstone for America's best-known sports publicity hound.
The Soviets are in love with the Olympic colors at the moment. But they become almost apoplectic after seeing them apparently sprouting in beehive fashion from the head of a man wearing a T-shirt that reads: "Believe in Christ Jesus" on the front and "Repent Your Sins" on the back.
Rock 'n' Rollen is 35-year-old Rollen Stewart, native of the state of Washington and citizen of international sports. Like some other American characters, his presence at an event certifies it as special. He covets attention -- and the way to get it here was to be detained awhile by Soviet security.
It took him about 45 minutes this morning to accomplish that.
"It's taken me three days to slowly but surely slide out of the woodwork," he said before two Soviet cops could no longer restrain themselves from questioning him. "Very intimidating. Everyone thought I'd be locked up in Siberia, that they would put a clone in my place, send him out wearing a Russian T-shirt and say: 'Here he is.'
"But I haven't been out very much. I was in Detroit for the Republican Convention Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of last week and flew here on Thursday. I rested a couple of days."
He was standing in front of the main press center, waving and greeting journalists as they stepped off buses, posing for pictures and greeting passersby. To a nation that preaches atheism, he might as well have descended -- or -- risen -- from the unknown.
"Look at them," he said, pointing at one woman trying to keep her jaw from sliding along the pavement. "The hat (hairdo) I think they can stand. But the T-shirt is really stickin' it in their nose. I'm here for the press coverage, to use television and the intenational media. In Finland, I'm known as the many-colored lid.
"I had watched television, seen all the angles and said: 'A person could stand in the background in all of these shots and become instantly known.' I had a dream in technology. I needed a magnet. To stand there as a person would be fine, but I could do twice as good If I had a color scheme or something.
"So I had a dream about a rainbow 'do. I went out and finally found the hat that was perfect for what I wanted to do, something that would draw people to me.
"I've been to the NBA finals, the World Series and Soccer Bowl the last three years. I went to the Winter Games -- and now I'm here." He also is availbable for weddings and bar mitzvahs. Honest.
"I became a Christian after the Super Bowl this year," he said. "The first three years I was promoting only myself. Vanity and greed and all that had set in and I was enjoying the benefits. After the Super Bowl, I saw a religious program -- and I discovered God had sent me out to preach his word on the street, to people who do not go to church."
Two plainclothes officers approached him and the one who spoke English said: "What are you doing here?"
"Waiting for an American journalist," Stewart said.
There was conversation in Russian.
"How will this journalist get here?" the English-speaking officer said.
"I'm not sure. Either cab or bus."
There was more talk in Russian and then he was asked to come along inside the security area. Earlier, he had vowed to scream and create an Olympian fuss if apprehended, perhaps grab the tree that was inches from him and cling to it. But he went without a whimper.
He was released shortly.
"They only questioned me," he said. "They wanted to know my motive, but they were really quite pleasant. I'm sure I will probably have more hassles. tI already have been questioned twice. Everywhere I go I try to create some kind of sensation."
The only response from the security staff, through a spokesman, was: "Whatever was done was done right."