Friday, February 13, 2015

Gary Owens - RIP

Gary Owens has died. He was 78 years old.

Owens' entertainment career rested entirely on his marvelous voice, from his start in the radio business to his later voiceover work. He'll be forever known for his role as the radio announcing host of the groundbreaking comedy show Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In. While his other co-stars handled the lunacy and social/political ribs, he brought order to the chaotic program, while also delving into his innate witty humor.

For kids who grew up on animated shows, however, he's best known for supplying his voice to many famous cel-drawn characters. He got his first break into the field as Roger Ramjet, the pill-popping superhero with the catchy theme tune. His most legendary role would come next as Space Ghost, the spectral space avenger who would save the day but not until bringing some then-harsh violence to his opponents. He would then move on to the Batman-like role of Blue Falcon for Dynomutt, Dog Wonder, where he played the straight man to the kooky antics of Frank Welker's mechanical mess.

90's kids like myself would easily recognize him from some of the famous cartoons of the period. Most will remember his booming voice in more heroic roles, such as Captain Squash in Bobby's World and Powered Toast Man in Ren & Stimpy. Personally, he will always be Commander Feral from SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron, which was surprisingly one of the few times he ever played an antagonist. "The Enforcers will handle this!" and "Get me chopper back-up!" are forever engrained into my psyche.

He will be missed.

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