Monday, June 16, 2014

R.I.P. Casey Kasem

With so much talk, here at TIAH Blog, about both the 1968 Filmation Animated Batman and Scooby-Doo, it is particularly sad to report the death of animation voice actor and iconic disc jockey Casey Kasem, on June 15, 2014, at the age of 82.

To many, Casey Kasem was best known as the voice of radio's "American Top 40", from 1970 until 2009. 

His sign-off still echoes on:  "And don't forget, keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars!" 

But, before that, to us animation enthusiasts, he personified two roles -- one already iconic, Robin the Boy Wonder of Filmation's BATMAN (1968-1969) and other animated DC Comics series of the era...

...and one HE made iconic, Shaggy of SCOOBY-DOO WHERE ARE YOU and more subsequent Scooby-series than I'm willing to count.  

Indeed, Casey Kasem was the voice of Shaggy from the character's origination in 1969, thru an appearance in 2009 (!), giving him a 40-year association with the character! 

"Like, that CAVEMAN'S been around more than 40 YEARS!"
"ZOINKS!"  Ya didn't think I would leave out "ZOINKS!", did ya?

After that, he moved on to playing Shaggy's Father

He even portrayed Shaggy AND Robin in the same show twice, in team-ups like this! 

And, speaking of "team-ups", I'd be remiss if I didn't cite this wonderful reference to Casey Kasem having voiced both Shaggy and Robin in the comic book SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP # 4! 


Farewell, Casey Kasem.  If I may be bold enough to borrow from a former mystery-solver and boy wonder:

...Both in the same panel here!

"...Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars!" 

...On the GROUND, Shaggy!


joecab said...

Poor Casey. :( It's unfortunate his family had all this wrangling in his final days. My favorite Kasem role is still Alexander on Josie and the Pussycats: that degree of entertaining cowardice doesn't come around often. :)

Question: how often does a voice artist voice the same character for more than one animation studio?

It's not often a character gets animated by more than one outfit to begin with, but off the top of my head I can't think of anyone besides Olan Soule and Casey Kasem doing Batman and Robin for Filmation in 1968 and then also doing them for Hanna-Barbera (first in the New Scooby-Doo Movies before SuperFriends) in 1972.

Joe Torcivia said...


I’d say the use of Casey Kasem to voice Alexander, after voicing Shaggy, indicates just how much the animated version of JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS owes to SCOOBY-DOO WHERE ARE YOU! I should have mentioned that in the post, too!

I’d imagine that, for a voice actor to voice the same character for more than one animation studio, that character would HAVE to be a licensed character, and not one owned by the studio itself. Batman, Robin, and the other DC Comics characters would have qualified before DC was absorbed by Warner Bros. (which WAS the case when Filmation did their original sixties DC series – and before Hanna-Barbera was also assimilated into WB). AND the voice is SO closely identified with the character that a change would be too noticeable for comfort.

But, unless a character is independently owned, and not the property of an animation studio, it would be assumed that the situation that applied to Olan Soule and Casey Kasem with Batman and Robin, is unlikely to occur very often.

Actually, this would apply to the POPEYE characters, with Jack Mercer, Mae Questel, and Jackson Beck, when non-Paramount TV shorts were made in the sixties.

Joe Torcivia said...

And SUPERMAN and LOIS LANE, by Bud Collier and Joan Alexander, for Paramount and Filmation.

Joe Torcivia said...

Mel Blanc as the Looney Tunes characters in "Daffy Duck and Porky Pig meet the Groovy Ghoulies" from Filmation.

And, maybe other studio's characters that appeared in "Saturday Superstar Movies". Popeye. maybe?

top_cat_james said...

Some other examples of a character voice being retained by a changing studio:

Jim Backus' MR. MAGOO - UPA and DePatie-Freleng.

Mel Blanc's HEATHCLIFF - Ruby-Spears and DIC.

And, with a thirty-five year span between projects, Sid Raymond's BABY HUEY - Famous Studios (last Huey short, 1959) and Carbunkle Cartoons' "The Baby Huey Show" (1994).

Joe Torcivia said...

Oh, yes! Very good, TCJ!

BTW, now that we’ve established that there were a fair number of examples of this, has any one actor voiced a character, and grew old enough that he or she “retired” from that character – and later voiced that character’s PARENT, as Casey Kasem did when he performed as Shaggy’s FATHER in SCOOBY-DOO MYSTERY INC.?

Sure Jack Mercer did Popeye AND Poopdeck Pappy, for instance, but that was at the same time. Mercer didn’t grow OUT of the role of Popeye, and INTO the role of Pappy.

Kasem might actually be alone in that… but, if there’s any group of folks that could prove me wrong; it’s the readers of this Blog! Yes, that's a challenge!

And, imagine this… If Kasem last did Shaggy in 2009, that would mean that (more or less) he was 77 at the time! ZOINKS!

joecab said...

I can think of one: Larry Kenney, who was the original Lion-O on Thundercats, played Lion-O's father Claudus in the 2011 reboot.

Anonymous said...

Adam West voiced Batman in a TV cartoon series in 1977, and voiced Thomas Wayne (Bruce/Batman's father) in an episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold on Cartoon Network sometime around 2011.

I think Bud Collier and Joan Alexander also played Superman/Clark and Lois on radio in the 1940's. I remember the Filmation series, but I still tend to remember Collier more as a game show host first, and Superman second. And I tend to remember Olan Soule first as Mayberry's choir director and hotel clerk, and as Batman second. With Casey, it's the opposite: Shaggy first, Top Ten Countdown second. Maybe it's just because of the order in which I first saw or heard them.

Joe Torcivia said...

Yikes! I don’t feel so bad about THUNDERCATS, because I never watched it (and, therefore, would never have known), but I can kick myself over Adam West!

The example of West is exactly what I was referring to… and, not only SHOULD I have known this, but it should have immediately come to mind – given the sheer number of times we mention Batman in general, Adam West’s Batman / the BATMAN ‘66 comic book, and THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD animated series around here!

I can’t even bounce it on the technicality that West didn’t voice Batman in animation, because he DID!

…That’ll teach me to go around issuing challenges! :-)

Comicbookrehab said...

Adam West was also the voice of Batman in the final two seasons of "Superfriends": "Legendary Superpowers Show" & "Galactic Guardians" and the "Boo Wonder" episode of "Chicken Boo" on "Animaniacs". Technically, that's 3 or 4 studios altogether, since I tend to think of Warner Brothers Television Animation as a separate studio from Hanna Barbara and Cartoon Network Studios, even though they're all under the same umbrella.

Casey was also the voice of Waldo in "What's New, Mister Magoo? ", which featured a redesign of Waldo that looked a lot like Shaggy to me, even more so if you watch "A Pup Named Scooby-Doo"!

top_cat_james said...

Off topic, but I had to bring this to your attention. Figured you'd get a kick out of it.

Joe Torcivia said...


LOST IN SPACE is never truly “off topic” around here!

And this is amazing! All the more so because DIFFERENT lines of dialogue from DIFFERENT episodes are put together to form our nominal story!

The animation design is MAGNIFICENT, and I especially love the title sequence, where even some of the better-known aliens get cameos! …And does “Judy Robinson” ever so slightly resemble “Judy Jetson”?

Everyone, go take that link and be amazed too!

Joe Torcivia said...


Everyone’s mileage may differ, but I regard Hanna-Barbera as a “separate” studio from Warner Bros. until H-B (and Turner Broadcasting overall) was absorbed by Time-Warner! Similarly, before that move, anything done for Cartoon Network (Johnny Bravo, Dexter’s Laboratory, etc.) was really a Hanna-Barbera production. But, different (animator’s brush) strokes, for different folks!

I think most would agree, however, that the situation we’re discussing here applies to DISTINCTLY different studios (like Filmation and Hanna-Barbera), where no corporate mergers or acquisitions served to blur the lines.

If true about Waldo, I’m certain the redesign would have been done with Kasem’s long association with Shaggy in mind.

“Boo Wonder”, along with “The Boo Network”, were my two favorite Chicken boo segments! Funny that, instead of growing stale (as you might expect), the Chicken Boo concept actually had STRONGER episodes that late in the run!

Anonymous said...

Judy Robinson DID strongly remind me of Judy Jetson in that link. :)

Also somewhat off-topic, but tangentially related, Adam West also voiced a couple of Batman self-parodies: "Catman" on The Fairly Oddparents, and the "Fearless Ferret" on an episode of Kim Possible. In each, he played a delusional retired actor who imagined himself to be the superhero that he had once played in a TV series.

The Kim Possible episode, in one half hour, spoofed the 1966 Batman show, Batman Beyond, the 1989 movie, and the TV syndicated rerun market in general.


Joe Torcivia said...


With your “Judy Vote” added to mine, I think we can safely say that was very likely the animator’s intention! We didn’t see Don West. Think he might have resembled “Jet Screamer”? …Probably not!

For no reason I can cite, beyond limitations on my time and viewing choices (Ya just can’t see or read it all, folks! No matter how hard ya try! …And I HAVE been known to TRY!), I’ve never seen KIM POSSIBLE (Same would be true for WHAT’S NEW MISTER MAGOO and THUNDERCATS, to name other series mentioned in this comment thread!), but I’d sure enjoy that particular episode!

Stepping back, that’s something that’s so great about the interactions we have here! Everyone brings something to the table! Some of it overlaps in familiarity, and some of it offers a few of us brand new opportunities for enjoyment – old or new! I hope that never changes!