How to echo the_excerpt without the P tag wrapper?

In the code snippet below, I trying to get the_excerpt to be written out without tags. However, the source formatting shows that the_excerpt is always wrapped in P tags. How can I pull the excerpt without tags?

foreach($myrecentposts as  $idxrecent=>$post) 
{ ?>
<li class="page_item">
    <a href="<?php the_permalink(); ?>"><?php the_title(); ?></a>
    <?php echo strip_tags(substr( the_excerpt(), 0, 75 ))."..." ?>
</li><?php }    
echo "</ul>


in your code above use get_the_excerpt() instead of the_excerpt(), because the last one will output the excerpt to the screen, and not pass it to your other functions…

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