Tuesday, July 16, 2013

John Stephenson, The Voice Of My Childhood

Katie-Bar-The-Door and I have been watching old Perry Mason episodes on DVD the last week or so. Nothing like a little angst-free locked-room mystery (not to mention the coolest-looking lawyering job ever) to wind down at the end of the day.

In addition to trying to solve the mystery (I just point to everybody as they come on screen and say, "He did it!"), one of the games we wind up playing is "who is that guy again?" Everybody was on Perry Mason at one time or the other, faces you recognize but can't place the name. You know how it is. Our parents used to drive us nuts with this sort of thing, now we drive each other nuts.

Tonight, one of the suspects was a face that for once we didn't recognize—but that voice! We knew that voice. The actor's name was John Stephenson. Do you recognize his face?

How about if I told you he was the voice of these classic cartoon characters?

Mr. Slate (The Flintstones)

Dr. Benton Quest (Jonny Quest)

Fancy-Fancy (Top Cat)

The Sheriff (Scooby Doo, Where Are You!)

... and a whole lot of other voices. He was also the "In a minute, the results of that trial" narrator at the end of Dragnet. In fact, John Stephenson was pretty much the voice of my entire childhood. And the good news is, he's still out there, alive and kicking, still doing voice work. If my math is correct, he'll turn 90 on August 9th. How about that!

I don't know about you, but I feel just a little bit younger knowing he's still with us.

Mr. Stephenson, we here at the Monkey salute you!


Anonymous said...

Hey Sock Monkey,

Thanks for the great info in this post! Character actors never get enough credit.

Who Am Us Anyway? said...

I dunno, better watch your back -- this Stephenson dude has that sneaky
Riddlin' Frank Gorshin look about him if you ask me

ACcountryFan said...

That's definitely John Stephenson in that photo. I'm familiar with his appearances. Nice blog entry about the under-rated John Stephenson. He did some great impressions of iconic celebrities, too. In most of the Scooby cartoons of the '70s and early '80s he could be heard doing impressions of Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, and Joe Flynn. In fact, his Joe Flynn impression can be heard as Mr. Finkerton on "Inch High Private Eye", Schnooker on "Inspector Mumbly", and Mr. Peevly on "Hair Bear Bunch". His impression of Paul Lynde can be heard on Laff-a-Lympics as Mildew wolf. Paul Lynde had originally voiced the character but didn't return for "Laff-a-Lympics" and so John Stephenson mimicked Lynde's voice. Also on "Laff-a-Lympics" Stephenson voiced the Lugosi sounding magician, The Great Fondoo, plus Dread Baron and the Jimmy Durante sounding Doggy Daddy. Not to be forgotten are his roles in the Dynomutt series. I could go on and on but he did a TON of cartoon voices for Hanna-Barbera throughout the 1970's and 1980's.