Thursday, May 31, 2012

RIP Dick Beals

Veteran voice actor Dick Beals passed away on May 29 at the age of 85.  The "big little man" of the business (at four feet tall and 70 pounds) was perhaps best known for his commercial voice-overs as Speedy Alka-Seltzer.  Here are a trio of vintage 1950's Speedy ads co-starring the legendary Buster Keaton.  

In the field of animation, Beals famously did the voices of Ralph Phillips, daydreaming star of several Chuck Jones-helmed Warner Bros. shorts, and Roger Ramjet's kid sidekicks Yank and Dan. He was also prominently featured in Ken Snyder Productions' earlier "educational" series, THE FUNNY COMPANY.  Betcha didn't know that he also served as a voice director for at least one PEANUTS special, that being You're in Love, Charlie Brown (1967).  Somehow, I can see him being a very effective coach for the young and inexperienced kids who made up the voice casts in the classic Bill Melendez cartoons.

Beals was still in there pitching in 1987 when he voiced an unnamed (yet still well-characterized) pigface Junior Woodchuck who is among those chivvying Doofus in the DuckTales episode "Superdoo!"  When I first watched the ep, I remember instantly recognizing Beals' voice and just as quickly wondering, "What the heck, is that guy STILL working?"

Beals appears to have been a cheerful, upbeat sort who took his "disability" (which he clearly didn't regard as such) in stride and built a 50-year career in voice acting out of it. He supplemented that by doing everything from leading cheers at his alma mater, Michigan State University, to sailing a custom-fitted yacht in his old age. Thanks for the memories, Dick.

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