Friday, February 5, 2016

Joe Alaskey 1952-2016

The faux tweets are starting to get a little heavy with obituaries, so I'll move this one to a main entry.

Joe Alaskey, who took over for Mel Blanc as the voice actor behind Bugs Bunny and all sorts of rascally Warner Brothers cartoon characters, has died at age 63. As the linked Washington Post obit says: "He switched between characters without missing a beat, an entire comedy troupe in a single man."

Alaskey's tie to our little genre is a couple turns on Hollywood Squares and the 1990 Match Game. You can watch some of the Squares eps on YouTube. At least he got his face before the camera on these gigs. Voice actors tend to be anonymous thespians, lost behind the character in front of your eyes.

As you can see from the screenshot, Joe bore a faint resemblance to Jackie Gleason. This came in handy when Gleason was looking for someone to voice himself on the "lost" episodes of The Honeymooners in the 1980s. Although Alaskey could be "temperamental and fiercely insecure at times," he remains the voice of many childhoods, as the WashPo obit notes. R.I.P.

UPDATE: A commenter says that I should mention Joe's announcer gig on Couch Potatoes (1989). You got it.

1 comment:

  1. You should also mention his role as the announcer/next door neighbor during the first half of the short-lived run of Couch Potatoes in '89 with Marc Summers.

    Joe was quite the It Guy in '89, between that show, the voice acting, the sitcom Out of This World, and around here in Jersey, he was the face of the Tropicana hotel's attempt at rebranding as TropWorld, where he brought his voices and characters to life on a video tour of everything the hotel had to offer.