Yesterday word came down that Casey Kasem passed away. Sadly his last few years were plagued by illness and family squabbling. However, we’re here to celebrate his work. While most people only know him through his radio show, America’s Top 40, and the Top 10 TV spinoff show, storytelling and animation fans know him best for his voice work, specifically four characters that he brought into my life.
Probably the one most everyone knows is Norville “Shaggy” Rogers in the Scooby-Doo franchise. While others have taken his spot when he didn’t want to or was unable to do it (although he’s played Shaggy’s dad in A Pup Named Scooby-Doo and most recently Mystery Incorporated) he will be the voice of Shaggy for pretty much everyone because he did it so often.
Most of you know that Kasem was the voice of Robin on Super Friends and you may even recall he voiced the character as part of The New Scooby-Doo Movies, since he voiced Shaggy. However, he started playing the Boy Wonder long before than in Filmation’s version of Batman. Except for The New Adventures since he was now over at Hanna-Barbera and they had to bring in Adam West and Burt Ward to return to their live-action superhero roles. (Fun fact: Adam West would replace the Batman of Super Friends during the “Super Powers” seasons, while Batman’s VA at the time played Martin Stein, one half of Firestorm. Not sure why.)
Kasem would also be the voice of Teletran-1, the Autobot computer but for range he was Cliffjumper, the hotheaded scout who acted before he thought, sometimes getting his friends into trouble. In this clip, an almost “minisode” editing of “Traitor” he even accused his friend of being a traitor based on flimsy evidence. He’s was partly right.
Long time readers already know how much I love Battle Of The Planets on both a personal and nostalgic level. I couldn’t find just clips of Mark, the leader of the spacefaring superhero team G-Force so here’s a whole episode where an enemy other than the usual Spectra forces challenges the heroes.
I’m sure someone out there remembers other characters he’s performed like Alexander from the animated version of Josie & The Pussycats but these are the four I enjoyed the most of his work. His last appearance was the aforementioned Mystery Incorporated appearance and he quit his radio show in 2004 (although anything Wikipedia says about his other spinoff radios shows is marked with “citation needed”) but Kasem will always have a place in entertainment history for both his voice acting and his love of music and bringing it to people. Farewell Mr. Kasem, thank you for bringing these characters to life and making countdowns interesting. Keep reaching for those stars.