Monday, November 12, 2012

You Know The Voice: Bob Hastings (1974)

In the course of nearly 70 years in show business, Bob Hastings has had success on television & radio, but being a game show host wasn't the smartest of career moves.

Hastings began his career in radio during the Golden Age as the voice of Archie Andrews, which begs to ask why in the blue hizell Filmation didn't cast him when they picked up the license for Archie in 1968. Hastings was already on the Filmation roster (Adventures of Superboy), but for some unknown reason, Norm Prescott, Lou Scheimer, & Hal Sutherland went with Dallas McKennon (Daniel Boone), who'd gained voice-over cred with Gumby & Courageous Cat earlier in the 60's, and, if you pay attention, he does use a variation on his Courageous voice for Archie.

Of course, Hastings would wind up at Hanna-Barbera during the 70's, playing Henry Glopp, the sidekick to Cory Anders (Mark Hamill) on Jeannie, as well as D. D. on Clue Club, before returning to "face acting", and his longest running gig, as Bert Ramsey, on General Hospital. In between Jeannie & Clue Club, Hastings had a brief role as bartender Tommy Kelsey on All in the Family. Brief because I think the reason he left was for that game show gig I referenced at the start.

In 1974, Hastings was tapped to host Dealer's Choice, a game show taped in Las Vegas (the first of its kind, but not the last). However, despite his carnival barker style, Hastings was a flop and was let go rather abruptly, replaced by game show veteran Jack Clark. I remember seeing Dealer's Choice when it first aired, and perhaps the fault on Hastings was that he was too excitable. Judge for yourself.

The video has been deleted by YouTube due to copyright issues.

Of course, today's generation knows Hastings as the definitive voice of Gotham City Police Commissioner James Gordon on Batman: The Animated Series, marking the actor's return to cartoons after 15 years. I believe he's retired now, but the body of work he created from the 40's through the last decade will last forever.

6 comments:

magicdog said...

You forgot to mention Hastings was also the original voice for Superboy in those 60s Filmation shorts.

Funny how I remember him in all those previous roles! Kelsey, D.D., Henry and Commissioner Gordon. Like so many VAs of the period, he was around all the time, even if you couldn't always see him!

I think Dallas McKennon was chosen over Hastings for Archie due to the show being more cartoony and TPTB probably figured it'd be better to have a more whiney higher pitched voice for him.

hobbyfan said...

I did reference that, or did you think I referenced the live-action Superboy pilot that failed?

I'm going to try to get a CD of Archie radio shows and test your theory.

SaturdayMorningFan said...

Don't forget his role as Lt. Carpenter on "McHale's Navy". That's what I'll always remember him for.

hobbyfan said...

Everyone remembers that gig, and Bob Hastings segued from McHale's Navy directly to Filmation to do the Superboy shorts.

Scoobyfan1 said...

I actually watched that partial Dealer's Choice episode on youtube in the past(i'm a big retro game show fan), and I have to admit that while the show was good, I'm not sure about Bob Hastings ability as a game show host.

Another series that Bob Hastings did(while not nationally known as the others) was the modern day radio drama series Imagination Theater.

Of course the reason the show isn't known all that well is because it started airing in the 1970s here in the Seattle area, and became syndicated nationally, as well as airing on satellite radio starting in 1996.

He only did one episode though(it was an umbrella title where many different shows aired) and the drama he was in I believe was called Hole In The Sky(you can look it up at harrynile.com, which is the website of the company who produces and syndicates Imagination Theater, Jim French Productions, as it is available for download from the site).

Hobbyfan: actually, you might be interested to know that much like the CBS Radio Mystery Theater from the 70s(the first Jim French produced radio series were also airing at that time on KVI radio in Seattle, as well as half a dozen other west coast radio stations or so), Jim French's productions also had some well known names in their radio dramas.

From the 1970s to the present, the various Jim French produced series(i'm not affiliated with the series at all by the way, i'm just a big fan of the dramas) have featured Hans Conreid, Ruta Lee, Bob Crane, Roddy McDowell, Richard Sanders(from WKRP in Cincinatti), someone from The Love Boat(I beleive her name was Lauren Twees, although I could be wrong), as well as old time radio stars like Rosemary Rice, Gil Stratton, Fred Foy(who was the announcer for one episode), among others.

hobbyfan said...

It was commonplace for current (of the era) TV stars to also do radio dramas, going as late as the early 80's, I believe.

For example, there was a Halloween radio drama that wasn't a CBS Radio Mystery Theatre entry, but was one of the few, if only, times that Casey Kasem and wife Jean worked together on a project. I don't have the title, but I do remember listening to it one year. Syndicated independently, as I recall.

Scoobyfan, any theories as to why Cartoon Network gave up on Scooby-Doo: Mystery Inc. by dumping it into a weekday slot over the summer? PM me at ToonZone.