Friday, February 13, 2015

Gary Owens, RIP

From the AP:

Gary Owens, the droll, mellifluous-voiced announcer on “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In” and a familiar part of radio, TV and movies for more than six decades, has died. He was 80.

The veteran voiceover star died Thursday at his Los Angeles-area home, his son, producer Scott Owens, said Friday. Gary Owens had struggled with complications from diabetes, which he had since childhood. ...

Owens hosted thousands of radio programs in his long career, appeared in more than a dozen movies and on scores of TV shows, including Lucille Ball and Bob Hope specials. He also voiced hundreds of animated characters, was part of dozens of comedy albums and wrote books.

On “Laugh-In,” the 1968-73 sketch show starring Dan Rowan and Dick Martin, Owens was shown on camera in a parody of an old-school announcer. ...

In the sixties and seventies, Gary Owens was omnipresent.

He was on radio every day, doing comedy riffs. He was doing cartoon characters. He was performing on Laugh-In on a weekly basis.

The man was everywhere, and it was difficult, if you turned on a radio or TV, to avoid him. During my high school years, I listened to him holding forth on station KMPC as often as possible. I thought he was hysterical.

As for the cartoon part of his career, Mark Evanier tells us:

... He was Space Ghost and the Blue Falcon and Roger Ramjet and Powered Toast Man and the announcer on Garfield and Friends and so many more. He did an amazing number of cartoons when you consider that the guy really only had one voice. When it's a voice that good, all you need is one. ...

Mark's right. Gary's voice was amazing. And he traveled a long way on it.

And there is this tribute from Ken Levine.


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