Don Messick

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Don Messick
Don Messick.jpg
BornDonald Earl Messick
(1926-09-07)September 7, 1926
Buffalo, New York, U.S.
DiedOctober 24, 1997(1997-10-24) (aged 71)
Salinas, California, U.S.
Cause of deathStroke
Resting placeCremated
OccupationVoice actor
Years active1946-1996
Spouse(s)Helen Marie McHugh (1949-1997; his death)[1]
ChildrenTimothy C. Messick
 
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Don Messick
Don Messick.jpg
BornDonald Earl Messick
(1926-09-07)September 7, 1926
Buffalo, New York, U.S.
DiedOctober 24, 1997(1997-10-24) (aged 71)
Salinas, California, U.S.
Cause of deathStroke
Resting placeCremated
OccupationVoice actor
Years active1946-1996
Spouse(s)Helen Marie McHugh (1949-1997; his death)[1]
ChildrenTimothy C. Messick

Donald Earl "Don" Messick[1] (September 7, 1926 – October 24, 1997) was an American voice actor best known for his work for Hanna-Barbera. His best remembered vocal creations include Scooby-Doo, Bamm-Bamm Rubble and Hoppy in The Flintstones, Astro the dog in The Jetsons, Muttley the dog in Wacky Races and Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines, Gears, Ratchet and Scavenger in The Transformers, Papa Smurf in The Smurfs, and Dr. Benton Quest in Jonny Quest. He also did the voice of Snip in the Rankin/Bass 1979 movie Jack Frost.

Early life and career[edit]

Messick was born in Buffalo, New York, the son of Lena Birch (née Hughes) and Binford Earl Messick, a house painter.[1] He first wanted to be a ventriloquist, and even supported himself as one for a time. His big break came in the mid-1940s. At MGM, Tex Avery was producing the Droopy cartoons. The regular voice actor, Bill Thompson, was not available. Daws Butler, who voiced characters for MGM, suggested that Avery seek out Messick, and so, he was hired to voice Droopy.

Messick and Butler became a voice acting team for the Hanna-Barbera unit in 1957 with the arrival of Ruff and Reddy. Don was Ruff the cat and the Droopy-sounding Professor Gizmo. Butler was the southern-speaking dog, Reddy. Messick also narrated the show, which played out like an animated soap opera. Beginning in September,1958, Messick played Tadpole in the animated television series produced by Beverly Hills Productions, Spunky and Tadpole.

From 1957-1965, Butler and Messick gave voice to a large number of characters. Always the sidekick, Messick’s characters were not headliners. His notable roles in this era were Boo Boo Bear, Ranger Smith, Major Minor, Pixie Mouse, Astro and Muttley.

Messick was used primarily for his narration skills, which were heard on many of those cartoons in which Daws Butler starred. In narrating the Yogi Bear cartoons, he also voiced Ranger Smith in something close to his natural voice.

Messick would eventually star as Ricochet Rabbit in Ricochet Rabbit (1964–65), while Deputy Droop-a-Long, was voiced by Mel Blanc.

In outer space cartoons, Messick created noises and sounds for weird space creatures and aliens. His Ranger Smith voice was often heard as various space villains. His narrator voice was given to Vapor Man, Dr. Benton Quest, The Perilous Paper Doll Man, and Multi Man, Hong Kong Phooey (1974), where he was also Spot the cat, a faithful sidekick, and Laff-A-Lympics (1977–79).

Scooby Doo and later roles[edit]

In 1969, he was cast as the cowardly canine Scooby-Doo on Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!. He voiced him through all of the various versions of Scooby-Doo: on television in numerous formats from 1969 to 1985, four television films, and a number of commercials as well. In 1970, he voiced Sebastian on Josie and the Pussycats, and reprised the role in its spin-off two years later, as well as voicing the new alien character, Bleep Josie and the Pussycats in Outer Space. In 1977, Don Messick lent his vocal talents to several characters in the first cartoon adaptation of The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. From 1980 to 1988, Messick voiced Scooby's nephew, Scrappy-Doo, having taken over the role originated by Lennie Weinrib in 1979 and was still voicing Scooby-Doo when A Pup Named Scooby-Doo came along from 1988-1991.

The voice actor played Papa Smurf on The Smurfs from 1981-1989. He also voiced Ratchet (the Autobot doctor), Gears, and Constructicon Scavenger on The Transformers.

In the mid-1980s, new episodes of The Jetsons were produced. Messick returned as Astro, RUDI, Mac and Uniblab, a pesky robot that worked for Mr. Spacely.

Messick also starred in the Masters of the Universe Golden Book video as He-Man.

In 1985, he voiced Louie and Snichey in The Pound Puppies TV Special.

Messick also appeared in an on-camera role on the MTM Enterprises sitcom Duck Factory, playing a cartoon voice artist named Wally Wooster. In one episode, frequent collaborator Frank Welker guest-starred as a rival voice artist angling for his job. In 1988, he had an uncredited role as the Pimp of the Year pageant announcer on I'm Gonna Git You Sucka.

From 1990-1995, he voiced Hamton J. Pig in Amblin's Tiny Toon Adventures and its spin-offs. Around that time, Don Messick also returned as the voice of Droopy for Tom & Jerry Kids and Droopy, Master Detective.

Also in the 1995 Freakazoid episode "Toby Danger - Doomsday Bet", a spoof of Jonny Quest, Messick played Dr. Vernon Danger, a parody of his own Dr. Benton Quest.

At a charity speaking engagement in London, shortly before his death, he performed many of his characters, except Scooby Doo. He claimed that giving up smoking had robbed him of the rasp in the voice that he needed.

Retirement and death[edit]

In late September 1996, Messick suffered a stroke while recording voices at Hanna Barbera.

On October 12, 1996, Messick had a "retirement party" at his favorite Chinese restaurant (Joe Barbera personally sent a limo to Messick and his wife, and the two were chauffeured). Many of his companions and peers during his career who had come to pay tribute to him included Henry Corden, Casey Kasem, Lucille Bliss, Maurice LaMarche, Gregg Berger, Neil Ross, June Foray, Sharon Mack, Greg Burson, Walker Edmiston, Marvin Kaplan, Gary Owens, Howard Morris, Teresa Ganzel, Jean Vander Pyl and Myrtis Martin Butler (Daws' widow).

Messick suffered a second stroke and died on October 24, 1997. He was cremated and his ashes were scattered into the Pacific Ocean at the Point Lobos State Reserve.

Legacy[edit]

Since Messick's death, Scott Innes and Frank Welker have both played the role of Scooby-Doo.

In 1998, the film Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island was dedicated to his memory.

In 2011, Jonathan Winters (Grandpa Smurf in the TV series) became his successor as the voice of Papa Smurf in The Smurfs (film).

Filmography[edit]

Radio
Original Air DateProgramEpisodeRole
1946Spotlight Playhouse"Genius From Hoboken"
1948The NBC University Theatre"Alice in Wonderland"
1949Let George Do It"Out Of Mind"
1965Horizons West"Down The Missouri To St. Louis
Television
YearTitleRoleNotes
1949-1950Buffalo BillyAdditional voices
1952Time For BeanyNarrator
1952Thunderbolt and WondercoltAdditional voices
1954The Willy The Wolf ShowAdditional voices
1957-1960Ruff and ReddyRuff
Professor Gizmo
Ubble Ubble
Additional voices
First work for Hanna-Barbera
1958-1962The Huckleberry Hound ShowPixie
Boo-Boo Bear
Ranger Smith
Narrator
1958-1959The Adventures of Spunky and TadpoleTadpoleFirst and Second Season
1959-1962The Quick Draw McGraw ShowNarrator
Horse-Face Harry
Sheriff
Additional voices
1960-1966The FlintstonesBamm-Bamm Rubble
Hoppy
Arnold the Newsboy
Additional voices
Joined the cast in Season 2
1961-1962Top CatBeau
Prowler
Dr. Dawson
1962-1963The JetsonsAstro
U.N.I.B.L.A.B.
Additional voices
1962-1963Wally GatorMr. Tweedle
Additional voices
1963-1967The Magilla Gorilla ShowAdditional voices
Mr. Peebles
Replaced Howard Morris as Mr. Peebles in Season 4
1964-1965Jonny QuestDr. Benton Quest
Bandit
1964-1965Ricochet Rabbit & Droop-a-LongRicochet Rabbit
Additional voices
1967-1968The Atom Ant/Secret Squirrel ShowAtom Ant
Precious Pup
Shag Rugg
Replaced Howard Morris as Atom Ant
1968-1970Wacky RacesMuttley
Professor Pat Pending
Ring-a-Ding (Dum-Dum)
Little Gruesome
Dragon
Gravel Slag
1969-1971The Perils of Penelope PitstopDum-Dum
Pockets
Zippy
Snoozy
1969-1971Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying MachinesMuttley
Klunk
Zilly
Yankee Doodle Pidgeon
Muttley's Girlfriend
1969-1971Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?Scooby-Doo
Professor Hide-Whyte
Additional voices
1970-1972Josie and the PussycatsSebastian
Additional voices
1970-1974Sabrina the Teenage WitchHarvey KinkleUncredited
1971Help!... It's the Hair Bear Bunch!Hercules the Hippo
Ambassador of Ptomania
"Gobs of Gabaloons"
1972-1973The New Scooby-Doo MoviesScooby-Doo
Additional voices
1974It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie BrownWoodstock
1974Hong Kong PhooeySpot
Additional voices
1975The Tom and Jerry ShowSpike
Mumbly
Additional voices
Shared the role of Spike with Joe E. Ross
1976-1977The Mumbly Cartoon ShowMumbly
1976-1978The Scooby-Doo ShowScooby-Doo
Additional voices
1977-1979Laff-A-LympicsScooby-Doo
Mumbly
The Show's Announcer
Boo Boo Bear
Mr. Creeply
Creeply Jr.
Dastardly Dalton
Pixie
1979Scooby Goes HollywoodScooby-Doo
Additional voices
TV Movie
1979Jack FrostSnipTV special
1979-1980Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo (1979 TV series)Scooby-Doo
Additional voices
1980-1982Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-DooScooby-Doo
Scrappy-Doo
Additional voices
1981-1989The SmurfsPapa Smurf
Azrael
Dreamy Smurf
Sweepy Smurf
1983-1984The New Scooby and Scrappy-Doo ShowScooby-Doo
Scrappy-Doo
1984The Duck FactoryWally WoosterFirst Live-Action role
1984-1987The TransformersRatchet
Scavenger
1984-1988Yogi's Treasure HuntBoo-Boo Bear
Ranger Smith
Ricochet Rabbit
Touche Turtle
Ruff
1985The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-DooScooby-Doo
Scrappy-Doo
Additional voices
1985-1987The JetsonsAstro
R.U.D.I.
U.N.I.B.L.A.B.
Additional voices
1980s revival of the original show
1986-1987Pound PuppiesRed Alert Pup
1988The New Yogi Bear ShowBoo-Boo Bear
Ranger Smith
1988-1991A Pup Named Scooby-DooScooby-Doo
Scooby Doo's Dad
Additional voices
1990-1991Wake, Rattle, and RollBoo-Boo Bear
Pixie
Muttley
Lucky the Cat
1990-1994Tom and Jerry KidsDroopy
Bat Mouse
Additional voices
1990-1995Tiny Toon AdventuresHamton J. Pig
Dog
Additional voices
1991Yo Yogi!Boo-Boo Bear
Muttley
Atom Ant
1993BonkersThe Mayor"The Good, The Bad, and the Kanifky"
1993-1994Droopy, Master DetectiveDroopy
Additional voices
1993-1994Garfield and FriendsLudlow
1995Freakazoid!Dr. Vernon Danger"Toby Danger in Doomsday Bet"
Film
YearFilmRoleNotes
1949The House of TomorrowKitchen NarratorUncredited
1949Wags To RichesDroopyUncredited
1956Millionaire DroopyDroopyArchive footage, uncredited
1959-1965Loopy De LoopAdditional voices
1964Hey There, It's Yogi Bear!Boo-Boo Bear
Ranger Smith
Mugger
1966The Man Called FlintstoneAdditional voices
1971The Andromeda StrainAlarm Voice
1987The Jetsons Meet the FlintstonesR.U.D.I.
1990Jetsons: The MovieAstro
R.U.D.I.
1992Tom and Jerry: The MovieDroopy

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Preceded by
None
Voice Of Scooby-Doo
September 1969—September 1996
Succeeded by
Hadley Kay
Preceded by
None
Voice of Ratchet
1984-1986
Succeeded by
Robert Foxworth