Monday, March 30, 2009

Voice Artist Bob Arbogast Passes On

Bob Arbogast, known in Los Angeles, California as a radio personality but known elsewhere as a voice artist on cartoons and commercials, as well as a comedy writer, passed on March 21 at the age of 81. The cause was cancer.

Bob Arbogast was born in Bellingham, Washington on April 1, 1927. He attended John Marshall High School in Los Angeles, California. Following graduation he served in the United States Navy in 1944. He attended the Los Angeles City College and the University of Arizona following World War II. He was hired by WHB in Kansas City after its programme director heard Arbogast on the University of Arizona radio station. Arbogast would spend the next several years in radio, at WMAQ in Chicago, KSFO and KFRC in San Francisco, California, and KMPC, KLAC, KFI, and KGBS in Los Angeles. While at KLAC he wrote for Gary Owens, later to become famous as the DJ on Laugh In. Arbogast also appeared on KTTV in Los Angeles as well.

While working in radio, Bob Arbogast also worked in comedy. He created the Question Man while still at WHB in Kansas City, which would later be incorporated into The Steve Allen Show, albeit without Arbogast's permission. In 1958 Arbogast and future television writer Stanley Ralph Ross wrote the record single "Chaos, Parts 1 and 2." Although initially popular, radio stations would soon stop playing it when they figured out it was a parody of Top 40 radio. It was later revived by Dr. Demento. Arbogast and Ross also the book peak When You Hear the Beep and the album of parody songs My Son, the Copycat. He also wrote Jay Ward's unsold, live action pilot The Nut House. He also wrote for Sesame Street, The Pat Paulsen Show, and the notorious one night wonder Turn On.

Arbogast also worked as a voice artist. In fact, he may well have been most famous as the voice of General G.I. Brassbottom on the carton Roger Ramjet. He also provided additional voices for The Jetsons, voices for the short The Ruby Eye of the Monkey-God, the voice of Doc Warren on Hot Wheels, the voice of the Parrot and the Undertaker in the animated special Carlton the Doorman, and the voice of Theo on The Adventures of the American Rabbit. He also did a good deal of work in commercials, including the voice of the animated Granny Goose in Granny Goose commercials, and the first voice for the original "What would you do for a Klondike Bar?" advertising campaign.

Bob Arbogast had a varied career and excelled at most everything he did. He was arguably one of the best voice artists around, providing thousands of hours of voice overs and voices for cartoons. In fact, while he primarily played General Brassbottom on Roger Ramjet, he also provided the voices of Noodles Romanoff and Ma Ramjet on the cartoon--three characters who sounded very different. It is little wonder that he was a legend in LA radio and fondly remembered by cartoon fans everywhere.

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