The Lighter Side of Voiceover…
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It’s fun to see the faces behind the voice, isn’t it? Check out this virtual collection of noted voice
performers past and present.
I’ll warn you, some of this material is squeaky clean, some isn’t. If you’re faint of heart, stay clear of
the video links that carry a content warning in red. Enjoy! - JR
NEW YORK TELEPHONE: This “blow-up” version of a New York Telephone
radio commercial is an underground classic. I’m not sure when it was recorded,
I think I first heard it in the mid-70s at the first radio station I was with. Back
then, such material was dubbed into hissy oblivian as it made its way into the
hands of radio broadcasters around the nation. NOTE: Audio Only.
WARNING: This comedy bit contains adult language!
ERNIE ANDERSON PROFILE: Ernie Anderson was the signature voice for
ABCs prime time line-up from the 80s until his passing in 1997. Born in Boston,
Ernie first worked as an air personality in Vermont, Albany, NY, then
Providence, RI before making Cleveland, OH his home base in the late 50s. It
was in Cleveland that Ernie developed the popular TV personality, “Ghoulardi.”
He also created the TV show “Ernie’s Place,” which featured comedy
appearances with then Cleveland based comedic talent, Tim Conway. By the
late 60s, Anderson relocated to LA, where his voiceover career hit full speed.
This is a great behind-the-mic peek into the world of a man who was one of the
busiest and most sought after voice actors in the biz. Look for a cameo by
another VO giant, Gary Owens, in this profile from 1984.
ERNIE ANDERSON - BIG SPENDER: Here’s an Ernie Anderson classic. It’s a
1960s TV spot for Volkswagen titled “Big Spender.” While Ernie plays the
starring on-camera role in this vintage spot, the voiceover is by an actor whose
face is familiar,especially to 1960s TV audiences, William Schallert. Enjoy this
excellent combination of Madison Avenue and entertainment.
MILLION DOLLAR VOICES: Here’s a television profile on some of the highest
earning VO superstars in Hollywood, circa 1990s. Included is the late,
legendary, Godfather of movie trailers: Don LaFontaine. Enjoy this fascinating
look at the very best in our industry.
HOW TO MAKE A MILLION DOLLARS WITH YOUR VOICE by Gary Owens:
Long before Gary Owens became a household name playing the ear-cupped
announcer on “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In,” he was one of the highest rated
radio personalities and Voiceover Actors in Hollywood. His voice (and wit) was
instantly recognizable whether you heard him voicing a commercial, hosting a
radio show or giving voice to an animated character on a Saturday morning
cartoon series. We lost Gary in 2015, yet his six decade career is a case study
for newer talent and worth revisiting for those of us who knew Gary and
appreciated his tireless commitment to the industry, art and craft he loved.
Here’s a promotional interview with G.O. for his 2008 book: How to Make a
Million Dollars with Your Voice.
GARY OWENS AIRCHECK. KFI/Los Angeles: Clever, witty, smooth. Gary
Owens was all that and more as a radio personality. Here’s a video aircheck of
Gary doing mornings on KFI Radio, prior to the station going News/Talk.
Thanks to California Aircheck for preserving a slice of Gary’s radio history from
BOB CRANE INTERVIEW: Anybody who knows me well, knows that my all-
time favorite TV show is “Hogan’s Heroes.” Well, thanks to the magic of
YouTube, here’s a short interview with Bob Crane from the early 70s when he
was appearing at a Chicagoland dinner theater. It’s worth noting that prior to his
successful acting career, Bob was a musician (as a drummer, he recorded an
album of TV themes for Epic Records during the Hogan Hey Day). He was also
a VO performer and morning radio personality. Unfortunately, Bob Crane’s dark,
double-life ended with his tragic murder in 1978. Hear a glimpse into the career
of Bob Crane, as told by Bob himself.
SUPERFUN Demo Reel: Here’s an audio demo for a radio station comedy
service Bob Crane was involved in with cartoon voice legend Mel Blanc. Pick
a cartoon character and Mel Blanc was probably the man who gave it voice:
Bugs Bunny, Foghorn Leghorn, Yosemitie Sam, Porky Pig, Barney Rubble and
seemingly thousands of others. If you’d like to enter the world of animated
voiceovers or just appreciate this segment of the VO craft, give a listen to this
demo from an all but forgotten comedy service that featured the best and
brightest VO talent and comedy writers in the biz.
THE TIJUANA STRINGS: From a 1960s Jack Benny TV special, Mel Blanc
guests as he and Jack reprise a classic bit (with a twist) that Mel Blanc first
performed with Jack years earlier on Benny’s radio show.
MEL BLANC INTERVIEWED BY DAVID LETTERMAN: In this 1981 interview,
Mel Blanc discusses how he created some of the most recognizable character
voices in the annals of animated entertainment history. Apologies for the video
quality on this link.
CASEY AT THE MIC -- TAKE #1: It ain’t easy recording a slew of radio station
promos and liners to run on your syndicated countdown show. Just listen to
outtakes from legendary broadcaster and VO performer, Casey Kasem.
WARNING: This audio contains adult language!
CASEY AT THE MIC -- TAKE #2: Here’s the classic blow-up take of Casey
Kasem losing it while taping “AT40,” when he realizes the long distance
dedication he’s reading is a dedication to a dead dog. Ouch!
WARNING: This audio contains adult language!
ORSON WELLES: He was a giant in the fields of Directing, Producing and a he
was a pretty fair actor and most recognizable Voice actor, too! Here’s a
montage of Orson Welles outtakes never intended to be heard by outside ears.
Who knows what evil lurks in these VO sessions? The man who played The
WARNING: The language here does get a bit salty.
ORSON WELLES FOR PAUL MASSON WINE: The bubbly was flowing when
Orson Welles filmed this commercial for Paul Masson Wine. Hopefully there
was someone available to drive him home from the studio!
THE DAWS BUTLER WORKSHOP: You can’t imagine Hanna-Barbera without
the vocal genius of the late Daws Butler. Mr. Butler was the voice of Yogi Bear,
Huckleberry Hound, Quick Draw McGraw and seemingly hundreds more!
Sample the work of Stan Freberg and you’ll notice how vital Daws was to
Stan’s work. This video was shot in 1986, two years before Daws passed. It’s
from the point of view of a visitor to the Daws Butler Workshop in Beverly Hills,
CA. Thanks to Actor and VO superstar, Joe Bevilacqua (who studied with
Daws) for posting this video to YouTube.