This week’s blog turns the voice artist spotlight on none other than Larry Storch. Most of us remember him as a comedic actor starring in such shows as “F Troop”, Gilligan’s Island, “That Girl”, “Get Smart”, “Love American Style”, or “The Love Boat”. Many remember him popping up in dramatic shows such as “Mannix”, “Trapper John, M.D.”, “Fantasy Island”, “Columbo”, or even “Kolchak: The Night Stalker”, not to mention movies like “The Great Race” and “Airport 1975”. But as lengthy as his in front of the camera career has been, his voice over resume is just as impressive.
His voice over career kicked off in a big way taking on the role of Koko the Clown when the famous Max Fleischer character from the “Out of the Inkwell” series was revived for television in the early 1960s. Larry provided his voice for 100 shorts. Next up for Larry was the role of Phineas J. Whoopie, who with his famous 3DBB helped Tennessee Tuxedo and his friend Chumley learn some very valuable lessons. Larry has said he modeled the voice on Frank Morgan’s character from MGM’s “Wizard of Oz”. On the same show he would also voice such characters as Rocky Maninoff, and Red Beard.
When Warner Brothers reopened their studios in the late 1960s they made some new characters for their theatrical shorts. One of those was Cool Cat voiced by Larry, who also voiced two other characters in the original short, the British hunter Colonel Rimfire, and the ghost Spooky (not to be confused with the Harvey character of the same name).
After some more Warner Brothers shorts, as well as many in front of the camera roles, Larry began a long relationship working for a brand new animation company called Filmation. Filmation had started up in 1966 after getting the rights to bring first Superman, and then Aquaman to Saturday morning TV. Naturally with the success of the Batman live action prime time show they went after the rights for Batman as well. Larry would be the first to voice the Joker in animated form. He would next show up on Saturday morning doing the voice of The Painter on “The Pink Panther Show”.
As the decade of the 1970s began, Larry’s voice acting career really took off. He even did a voice for a live action show in which the actors couldn’t speak for themselves, “Lancelot Link: Secret Chimp”. Then Filmation really started putting to him to work with the show “Groovie Goolies” in which he provided voices for one of the main characters Drac, as well as Ratso, and Ghoulihand. On the companion show, “Sabrina the Teenage Witch”, he reprised his roles of Drac and Ratso as well as added Hagatha. In 1972 when “The New Scooby-Doo Movies” used Batman and Robin as guests, Larry once again voiced the Joker. That same year, his voice was heard in a feature film, the animated “Journey Back to Oz” in which he played the character Amos.
1972 would go on to be a very productive year for Saturday morning animation with the addition of “The ABC Saturday Superstar Movie” which served as a showcase of pilots for new Saturday morning shows. One of those was a pilot for “The Brady Kids” which would turn out to keep Larry very busy voicing Marlon, the magic mynah bird that would get the kids into all kinds of misadventures with his uncontrollable magical powers. On the same show he would provide voices for Mop Top, the kids’ dog, their friends Chuck White and Fleetwood, as well as the Mayor, Judge and other various characters on the show.
In 1975 Larry’s in front of the camera career would collide with his Saturday morning career when he became Spencer on the live action show “The Ghost Busters”. The show would also re-team him with his old “F Troop” costar Forrest Tucker who played Kong. The two men and their gorilla pal Tracy, played by Bob Burns, would travel around looking for ghosts a whole decade before the popular movie of the same name.
During the 1980s Larry would continue with voice acting playing additional parts on shows like “Scooby-Doo and Scrappy Doo”, “Mork & Mindy/Laverne & Shirley/Fonz Hour”, “The Puppy’s Further Adventures”, and “Foofur”.
Growing up during the greatest Saturday mornings ever, it would be hard to miss hearing Larry Storch even as we watched him all over prime time TV. He even showed up on commercials as the voice for the McDonaldland characters, the Hamburglar, and Captain Crook. Larry was one of many famous television actors who also worked as a voice actor. Some of those, such as Allan Melvin, and Howard Morris will get their own spotlights in future blogs.