Tuesday, August 7, 2012

You Know The Voice: Robert Ridgely (1975)

Actor Robert Ridgely began his association with Filmation when he was cast as Steve Exhaustion, the $6.95 Man (a parody of ABC's Six Million Dollar Man) on Uncle Croc's Block. He comes off sounding more like he's doing a John Wayne impersonation than trying to approximate Lee Majors' voice, but, well, you can't have everything.

Charles Nelson Reilly (Uncle Croc) had done some voice work, starting with the syndicated holiday special, The City That Forgot About Christmas, but it would be 6 years before he landed another voice-over gig, taking over the part of Frank Frankenstone on The Flintstone Comedy Show. I cannot be certain, but I think Reilly was on leave from Match Game when he took the Uncle Croc gig.

To complete our trifecta, Jonathan Harris, who gets to invoke his Lost In Space catchphrase as Basil Bitterbottom, had made his voice-over debut in The Three Musketeers, part of the Banana Splits anthology series in 1968, and was the lone cast member to reprise when Hanna-Barbera adapted Lost into a Saturday Superstar Movie in 1973.

Back to Ridgely. He would enjoy greater success in his voice work, starting with Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle, and followed up with Flash Gordon & Thundarr the Barbarian, but did you know his career had started several years earlier? One of his earliest live-action jobs was in an episode of Kraft Suspense Theatre in 1964, which was later repackaged as the feature film, "Nightmare in Chicago", co-starring Ted Knight.

Muttley16 supplied this 2 1/2 minute snippet of silliness.


magicdog said...

This is the first time I've ever seen Ridgely on cam. I lnow many VAs start out doing acting on cam or in theatre but some you rarely see in action unless they were really popular.

Sadly, Ridgely is no longer with us, the voice of Tarzan, Flash and Thundarr but a childhood memory.

I do remember Jonathan Harris very well. I gre upo watching reruns of "Lost In Space" and his voice was unmistakable. Yes, I do remember him voicing Aramis on "Three Musketeers"! I did catch the LIS superstar animated movie not too long ago and I was bored to tears! No point if they didn't even keep the original premise much less the cast.

Harris was offered a walk on role in the big screen version of LIS but turned it down and deemed the script trash. He was so right!

hobbyfan said...

Actually, Harris was Athos. Don Messick was Aramis, who was recast as a magician. Barney Phillips (Shazzan) was Porthos in Three Musketeers. The funny thing is, when H-B went to a more straight adaptation of the book for Famous Classic Tales, they hired a new set of actors for the same roles. I wonder why......

magicdog said...

Oopsie! Can't believe I missed that one!

Maybe the old cast wasn't retained becasue HB wanted to set the new adaptation apart from the earlier one.

If they had kept them, I would have loved it anyway!

hobbyfan said...

That makes the most amount of sense, especially considering Dumas' original tale never included a little boy named Tooly......

Mike Doran said...

I suppose I ought to put this at the later post, but most of your errors are here, so ...

Robert Ridgely's on-camera career goes back farther than "Once Upon A Savage Night."

He'd been a contract player at Warners as far back as 1960, scoring a featured weekly role on the '62 war show, The Gallant Men.

Most of Ridgely's career was on-camera, in all genres and types of roles, dramatic and comic.

The "John Wayne" voice was one of his staples; I remember once when he did a spot in old lady drag with the Wayne voice (breakfast food, I think).

Ridgely also appeared in many feature films, including Melvin And Howard (he's the beaming game show host), Philadelphia (the law firm client who outs Tom Hanks to his partners), Boogie Nights ("The Colonel", who financed the porno film company), and best of all, Blazing Saddles (the humpbacked, one-eyed Medieval hangman; he reprised the part in Robin Hood: Men In Tights)

Bob Ridgely was also one of Hollywood's wildest characters in his own right; stories of his pranks, most of which can't be recounted in a family-friendly blog, are legends in the business.

I know that this is a specialized site, but still -

- I mean, just how young are you, anyway?

hobbyfan said...

Over 50.