Sunday, June 15, 2014

Casey Kasem (1932-2014)

The "King of the Countdowns" has been silenced.

Casey Kasem passed away after a lengthy illness at 82, leaving behind a legacy and a lifetime of memories for radio listeners and cartoon fans alike.

We've previously discussed his health issues, which caused a reopening of old wounds between his 2nd wife, Jean, and the grown children from his first marriage, over in The Land of Whatever, so we won't rehash it again. I think we all want to remember Casey at his best.

Most of us thought that America's Top 10, which he launched in July 1980, was Casey's 1st TV hosting job. It wasn't. In the late 60's, Casey hosted the Los Angeles-based music show, Shebang, which was produced by another music icon, American Bandstand's Dick Clark, and there've been a couple of clips posted here and at Land of Whatever, and we'll add one more. From 1967, here's Casey, on location in Anaheim, and one of his earliest "Long Distance Dedications", which would become a staple of American Top 40, which launched 3 years later.

In 1964, Casey made an attempt at the very same Billboard charts he would count down the Top 40 from years later, but "A Letter From Elaina" peaked at #103. We all know he was a Golden Throat from his attempts at singing in character as Shaggy on Scooby-Doo in the 70's & 80's, but here is the "pilot", if you will, for those "Dedications":

Casey's voice acting career took off in 1968 when he was cast as Robin in Filmation's adaptation of Batman, a role he would essay again between 1972-86, and in a 1-off for Cartoon Network in the 90's. You know most of the credits. Scooby-Doo. Super Friends. Battle of the Planets. Skyhawks. Hot Wheels. Cattanooga Cats. Josie & the Pussycats. Served as a house announcer for NBC during the late 70's, and thus was the announcer for the 1st Daffy Duck show (1979). Even tried his hand as an action hero in the 1971 thriller, "The Incredible Two-Headed Transplant", with Bruce Dern & Pat Priest. He also acted on shows such as Matt Houston, Saved by The Bell, Sweepstakes, and Hawaii Five-O. Beginning in the early 80's, Casey joined up with Jerry Lewis for the annual Muscular Dystrophy telethons. Around 1987, Casey was moved to bring one of his animated "alter-egos", if ya will, into play........

Rest in peace, Casey. We're all going to miss you, old friend.

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