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Don Messick (1926)

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Donald Earl "Don" Messick (September 7, 1926 – October 24, 1997) was an American voice actor best known for his work for Hanna-Barbera. Perhaps his most well-known voice creations include Scooby-Doo, Papa Smurf, and Dr. Benton Quest.

  Biography  

 early life and career
Messick was born in Buffalo, New York, the son of Lena Birch (née Hughes) and Binford Earl Messick, a house painter. 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, radio 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. Later, in the mid-1950s, when Bill Thompson parted ways with MGM, Messick took over the role of 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.

From 1957 to 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, leaving the impression that the Ranger was narrating the cartoons.

Messick would eventually star in a cartoon series: Ricochet Rabbit. This character was paired with the slow-poke Deputy Droop-a-Long, 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. His narrating voice was also heard on Hong Kong Phooey and Laff-A-Lympics.

In 1974, he performed on Hong Kong Phooey as Spot the cat, Hong Kong Phooey's faithful sidekick.

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Don Messick", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.