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October 6, 2015

Don Pardo says "It's Saturday Night Live" for the last time

by Danny Gallagher, posted May 18th 2009 2:02PM
SNL announcer Don PardoFox may have lost Mad TV last Saturday, but Saturday Night Live lost something worth much, much more to the world of television than Mad TV. And no, I don't mean that the SNL writing staff lost their snack machine.

Announcer Don Pardo, 91, announced in his induction speech to the Rhode Island Radio Hall of Fame that last Saturday's show will be his last.

Pardo has been the voice of the show since it hit the airwaves in 1975, minus the 7th season in '81 and '82. He has also been an announcer in a number of game shows, movies, commercials and news shows, and holds the distinction of being the first person on television to announce the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

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SNL didn't just lose an announcer. It lost their longest running cast member.

Now I know that Pardo wasn't technically a cast member (I can hear the angry fingers of the trivia Nazis now screaming "Don Pardo was not a cast member!"), but his voice brought a great deal of personality and grace to an otherwise silly show. Plus he's been with the show for so long (even though he retired in 2004) that the voice has become an iconic part of an already iconic show.

His voice didn't just grace the opening and closing credits of each show. His role on the show became its own character, a faceless booming voice that over-enunciated every syllable and treated every bit of copy with the bravado and energy of a classically trained actor announcing the end of the world. The authority his faceless presence exuded became the perfect foil for a lot of great sketches. He even did a sketch on camera, which was brilliant because you never saw him on camera.

"I'm on TV!" should have been a catchphrase, dammit.

[via TV Tattle]

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. . . .Don Pardo was the voice for NBC on Friday, November 22, 1963 that annonounced that President Kennedy had been shot.

August 19 2014 at 12:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Additional trivia. Pardo is the longest running on-air presence in the history of US late night TV. Longer than Carson and McMahon even.

May 21 2009 at 11:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Are we sure Pardo's actually leaving the show? Unless I'm missing something that wasn't included in the clip, what he said could EASILY be construed as him just joking about being ready to step down, but not really meaning it.

I didn't hear anything definitive that said it was over.

May 21 2009 at 2:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Patrick's comment

. . . .he wasn't joking......he'ssaid "LIVE FROM NEW YORK" for the last time.RIP big voice.

August 19 2014 at 12:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Well, smeg. If I'd known, I would've DVR'd it. Hopefully, it'll run as a repeat this summer and I can grab it then.

As a longtime fan of announcers and voice artists of all sorts, I've gotta say he'll be missed.

May 19 2009 at 5:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What a loss to the show...

May 18 2009 at 11:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Pardo may not have shown up on SNL's air very often, but regular viewers of "Live at Five" on WNBC in New York saw Pardo on a daily basis in the 80s and early 90s - they'd often turn a camera in his direction as he signed the show off the air (before the era of the 'live throw').

And @ac - you're right, Pardo did show up on camera during in the "Cutbacks" episode of 30Rock earlier this season, as the announcer who'd been struck by lightning.

May 18 2009 at 9:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

If you weren't around when SNL started in '76, you might not realize Don Pardo was kinduva joke from the get-go. At the time, he was known mainly as the announcer on the Art Fleming version of "Jeopardy!" and was already getting a little long in the tooth. So it was a "hip to be square" kind of deal. There's a story that Michael O'Donoghue lobbied for Don Pardo to be fired on the air -- for real -- but of course it was never done, and look who got the last laugh.

May 18 2009 at 8:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Danny Smith

He was on camera before early on when they were introducing new cast members for the next season and he was one of the new cast members (I believe wearing a jogging suit). So I think this does make him a cast member.

Probably his biggest highlight on there was when he did that song with Frank Zappa.

Maybe this mean that if Darrell Hammond stays, he'll have more work to do.

May 18 2009 at 7:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
David D

Actually, Pardo was not the SNL announcer for most, if not all of the Dick Ebersol seasons ("From New York, the Most Dangerous City In America!"); when Lorne Michaels came back, he brought Pardo back with him.

May 18 2009 at 5:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The funniest one was when James Van Der Beek was on the show and Don Pardo had a "thing" for him. Every time Don said James's name, it sounded like a little girl with a crush. It was very funny.

May 18 2009 at 3:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to ricochet's comment

That wasn't Pardo, it was actually Darrell Hammond.


May 18 2009 at 4:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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