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October 6, 2015

The Five: Voices

by Adam Finley, posted Mar 13th 2006 5:33PM

Gary OwensOkay, kids, for this addition of "The Five" we're going to talk about those voices we love so much. I'm going to focus entirely on television announcers, but I'm expanding the topic to include anyone whose job in television is (or was) centered around their vocal cords. That's why you won't see Mel Blanc or Daws Butler on my list, though they most certainly would have been on it otherwise. Everyone on board? Okay, let's do it:

  • Don Pardo: Even Lorne Michaels hasn't been on Saturday Night Live as long as Don Pardo (remember Lorne left the show briefly in the 1980s). No one can say "musical guest: FISHBONE!" with as much conviction as Mr. Pardo, and that's why I admire him. He was also the announcer on Jeopardy! for the first several years when Art Fleming was host.
  • Rod Roddy: Roddy, the perpetually ecstatic announcer for The Price if Right, passed away three years ago. Most people liked his flashy clothes, but I always admired the way he would pronounce things in a really unique way, sometimes seeming to invent entirely new letters in order to stretch out monosyllabic words. It was actually scientifically proven several years ago that when Rod Roddy pronounces the word "car" it has twenty-seven syllables.
  • Joel Godard: It's not unusual for late night talk shows to utilize their announcers in sketches. Letterman does it with Alan Kalter all the time. Nobody beats Joel Godard, though, who plays a clinically insane version of himself on Late Night with Conan O'Brien when he's not busy doing his announcer thing. My favorite Joel moment was when he threatened to sue God for making him stupid, and that merely making that statement proved his point.
  • Ted Knight: Sure, most people know him as Ted Baxter, the self-centered news anchor on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and some even remember him as the creator of Cosmic the Cow, but I knew him best as the narrator on Super Friends, a show I watched in reruns, seeing as how I was only a year old when it ended its original run.
  • Gary Owens: I gave Conan credit above for making Joel Godard part of the show, but long before Conan's show there was Laugh-In, which made Gary Owens (later the voice of Space Ghost in the original Hanna-Barbera series) a vital part of the show's insanity.

Okay, so who do you like? Remember it doesn't have to be an announcer, just anyone known for their voice.

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Kurt Haslbauer

I can't believe Thurl Ravenscroft hasn't been mentioned yet. The voice of Tony the Tiger, not to mention having sung "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch"!

And, although he's not exclusively known as a "TV" voice, I'd say Sterling Holloway had enough small-screen credits under his belt to be included, too.

March 17 2006 at 10:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Chris Wyant

Billy West:
Ren, Stimpy, Doug Funny, Fry, Prof. Farnsworth, Zoidberg, Bugs Bunny (in a lot of recent stuff), and lots of other memorable cartoon voices.
But I guess in that vain, Mel Blanc would totally take the cake, no question.

March 13 2006 at 10:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Danny Edwards

Gary Owens was also the original voice of Powdered Toast Man.

Max Raphael is the guy that does a lot of the narrating for Modern Marvels and other shows on the History Channel. He's really good.

March 13 2006 at 7:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joel Keller

Well, Adam, if you're going to mention Rod Roddy, you have to mention his TPiR predecessor, Johnny Olson. He was *the* voice of Goodson-Todman from the '50s into the '80s... he was almost as well known for announcing Match Game ("Get ready to match the stars!") as he was for TPiR. If it weren't for him, Roddy would have never been able to say "Come on down!" for all those years (Olson coined that phrase).

Oh, and another G-T voice that stood out for me was Gene Wood. He did Family Feud for years, and became the company's "go to" guy after Olson died.

Lessee... ABC used to have a great voiceover guy for years... I think his name was Ernie Anderson... the way he did network promos was priceless... "coming up on The Looooove Boat!" "You're watching Eyyyyewitness News", etc.

Oh, and Adam, I don't think Pardo was on SNL through the entire run... I think there was a different announcer during the Eddie Murphy years, but maybe I'm remembering it wrong.

March 13 2006 at 6:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Radical Bender

Known for their voice, huh? What about sports announcers? Gotta go with Keith Jackson in that case.

Whoooooa, Nelly!

March 13 2006 at 6:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Even Don Pardo couldn't muster the conviction to say "musical guest: THE ARCTIC MONKEYS," though.

March 13 2006 at 6:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I had no idea that Ted Knight was the narrator of the Superfriends. That's good trivia right there. I would add Don LaFontaine to the list. Most people will know him as the voice of 4000+ movie trailers. While not an instantly recognizable name, certainly an instantly recognizable voice.

March 13 2006 at 6:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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