Saturday, February 14, 2015

R.I.P. Gary Owens.

Gary Owens, a performer with a unique and instantly recognizable voice, passed away on February 12, 2015, at the (no longer old) age of 80.

Gary Owens is best remembered by the sixties and seventies generation as the announcer for the groundbreaking NBC TV series ROWAN AND MARTIN’S  LAUGH-IN (1968-1973), which changed the face of television comedy and introduced many enduring stars and personalities to the medium. 

But, before – during and after – that Gary Owens was known to us animation enthusiasts as a popular animation voice performer. 

In 1965, he was Roger Ramjet.

In 1966, he was Space Ghost.

In 1969, he narrated The Perils of Penelope Pitstop. 

In 1976 and beyond, he was The Blue Falcon to Dynomutt, and teamed-up with Scooby-Doo and the gang.  (…Um, think we’ll soon see The Blue Falcon and Dynomutt in the SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP comic book title?)

He even reprised his role as Space Ghost in 2011, on BATMAN THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD!

And narrated features on THIS SERIES of DVDs

Mr. Owens’ list of credits can be found HERE

Rest in Peace, Mr. Gary Owens… we will “hear” you forever!  


scarecrow33 said...

He also served as live-action host in "The Roots of Goofy", a compilation movie shown on Disney Channel.

My best memory of him is of course as the announcer for "Laugh-In."

After that, I remember him best as "Space Ghost."

A great talent, and from what I hear, a really decent guy in person.

Joe Torcivia said...


I somehow managed to never see “The Roots of Goofy”, but I expect he was typically perfect in it.

Dan said...

Rest in Peace, indeed, Mr. Owens. Such a BIG part of television and radio broadcast history, with an exceptional sense of humor: pretty tough not to laugh at Gary's enthusiastic roll call inclusion of "...and Morgul, as the friendly drelb!"

Beyond the business of radio broadcasting, classic TV and voice-over work, Gary Owens had some involvement in the publishing venture of the twelve issues of Laugh-In magazine. I have the details of that somewhere, but I recall it was on the business side of the operation. Let it be know Mr. Owens was unashamed of being a fan of fiction and comic books, so that surely rates him a special place of honor at TIAH!

Scarecrow's addition of hosting The Roots of Goofy is indeed correct—for the record, Gary also provided the narration for GM's "World of Motion" attraction at Walt Disney World's EPCOT Center. I remember settling into the vehicle and smiling wide as I realized it was the one-and-only voice of Gary Owens coming through the speakers, to guide us through the history of transportation!

– Dan

Joe Torcivia said...


There are certain celebrities who have made known their interest in comic books and related fiction, such as Robert Culp, Bill Mumy, Nathan Fillion, etc. but I was not aware of this in Gary Owens. Glad to find this out.

His voice was simultaneously an amusement and a comfort, no matter where, and no matter what project, it emanated from.

Oh, and I hope I never meet an “unfriendly drelb”!

Mark Lungo said...

Some of Owens' other notable voice credits include Powdered Toast man from Ren & Stimpy, Badly Animated Man from Raw Toonage, and my personal favorite, Commander Feral from SWAT Kats. He was one of the greats, and he'll be missed.

Joe Torcivia said...


Of course, when someone has the vast number of credits that Gary Owens has, it’s impossible to even scratch the surface in a post like this. So, I tend to list those that might mean the most to me. And, knowing me as you do, that would lean toward ‘60s and / or Hanna-Barbera credits.

But, that’s why I link to the entire list of credits, and encourage readers to list their own highlights. And, knowing you as I do, those sound as if they would be among your own favorites. Glad you mentioned them here!

Oh, and while I’m at it, I want to correct a major highlight omission of my own…

Gary Owens was also the voice of the “Dick Sprang-Era / ‘50s-Era Batman” in the 1998 “Legends of the Dark Knight” episode of BATMAN THE ANIMATED SERIES!

Somehow, Owen’s “Blue Falcon-esque” vocal was perfect for that era of Batman. Simultaneously retro-heroic and suitably “corny”, but without sounding exactly “campy” as Adam West would have.

Mr. Owens seemed to always know how to “get it right”, didn’t he?

Dan said...


I've since stumbled onto a terrific 2010 interview with Gary Owens by Kliph Nesteroff, in which Gary expresses his original professional aspiration to be a cartoonist—he even sold several cartoons to magazines in his teen years! Here's the link:


Further proof that the talented man who gave voice to Blue Falcon, Roger Ramjet, Space Ghost and many others was, indeed, "one of us!"

– Dan

Joe Torcivia said...


That link is absolutely marvelous – though loooong-er than even some of my past DVD reviews! So readers, be warned of length, but GO THERE!

It certainly is great to know that Gary Owens was “one of us”, and that would add some extra dimension to his roles as Roger Ramjet, Space Ghost, Blue Falcon – and even Batman (see my last comment-reply above)…

…But any interview that mentions NBC Radio’s “Monitor” (which I listened to on weekends as a kid), animation writer George Atkins, Batman ’66 and Green Hornet ’66, “old man actor” Burt Mustin, and so much more in ONE interview is SOOO worth reading!

Thanks for directing us to that!