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Cartoon voice, kids' host Walker Edmiston dies

Discussion in 'In Memoriam...' started by eminovitz, Nov 7, 2013.

  1. eminovitz

    eminovitz Research Guru / Moderator Emeritus

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    Feb 23, 2007

    Walker Edmiston, a voice in animated TV shows and children's TV host since the 1950s, died February 15 at a Woodland Hills, California hospital. His age was not immediately available.

    Edmiston was "a fine actor and fine gentleman" who had an "extraordinary life," cartoon historian Mark Evanier wrote on his "News From Me" site. He was "one of those guys who was on every damn TV show of the fifties, sixties and seventies at one time or another, and when he wasn't on screen, he was often dubbing the voices of actors who were."

    He took over as Disney duck Ludwig Von Drake following Paul Frees' retirement from the voice role. "Being an ethical person, he only agreed to take it on after talking to Paul and getting his blessing," Evanier recalled.

    Edmiston voiced such series as Top Cat, Plastic Man and Transformers. Ironically, his last credited voice work was in "Permanent Retirement," a 2006 episode of Ben 10, in which he portrayed an ice cream employee and Marty.

    A puppeteer as well, Edmiston voiced the title characters in the early puppet series Thunderbolt the Wondercolt (1952), about a superhero horse, and Willy the Wolf (1954), the very first puppet variety show on TV.

    A performer on Bob Clampett's original Time for Beany puppet show in Los Angeles, Edmiston himself played Beany after Daws Butler left. He also hosted The Walker Edmiston Show on L.A. station KTLA; his main puppets were R. Crag Ravenswood, Calley the Cat, Barky the Dog and Kingsley the Lion.

    Edmiston's first credited role in TV animation was as con man J. Montague Gypsum in "This Is Your Lifesaver," a 1962 episode of The Flintstones. Gypsum offers to be Fred and Barney's lifetime servant, but instead takes control of the Flintstone household.

    Edmiston was the voice of Algernon in Pandamonium (1982), Sir Thornberry in The Gummi Bears (1985), and Inferno in four 1985 episodes of Transformers.

    He voiced Squiddly, Hokey Wolf and Yakky Doodle in the 1972 ABC Saturday Superstar Movie Yogi's Ark Lark. And in Nanny and the Professor and the Phantom of the Circus (1973), he was Zambini.

    In the Ruby-Spears 1982 special Miss Switch to the Rescue, Edmiston provided the voices of the Witch's Book, Old Salt and the Mayor. The partly animated 1988 ABC Weekend Special Runaway Ralph cast him in the cartoon role of Catso.

    He was in the voice casts of Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends, Spider-Man, Smurfs, The Adventures of the Little Prince, Monchhichis and Jem.

    In Disney's movie The Great Mouse Detective (1986), he voiced a citizen and a thug guard. He was in the voice cast of the theatrical animated short Gahan Wilson's Diner (1992). And, in an odd twist, the X-rated animated movie Dirty Duck (1977) cast Edmiston in numerous roles.

    On live-action TV, Edmiston worked extensively in voice roles for Sid and Marty Krofft. H.R. Pufnstuf had him voice all male characters (including Freddy the Talking Flute) not otherwise voiced by Lennie Weinrib. He was Sigmund and many other creatures on Sigmund and the Sea Monsters. Enik the Sleestak and many other characters were voiced by him on The Land of the Lost.

    According to Evanier, he voiced many aliens and creatures on the original Star Trek series, and had a recurring character as Dave Rawls, an expert in replicating voices, on Mission: Impossible. Edmiston was also a member of Red Skelton's stock company on the comedian's TV show.

    On commercials, he took over the voice of Ernie, the Keebler Elf, when Parley Baer was unable to continue.

    In a rare career embarrassment, Edmiston portrayed in the 1965 cheapie The Beach Girls and the Monster, even writing the tune "Monster in the Surf." As Kingsley the Lion, he sang it, too.

    "He was also," Evanier observed, "a very dear, lovely man."


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