Sunday, June 15, 2014

Keep Your Feet on the Ground

Now this is a bummer- famous famous radio personality and voice actor Casey Kasem has left for that big studio in the sky. As a child, I used to listen to Casey's American Top 40 until the fateful day that I found the famous WLIR and never looked back. I bid Casey's radio show goodbye and started listening to stuff like this:

That's an old number by the Cure with their mailman on lead vocals (the band would eventually break into the, you got it, American Top 40).

While I stopped listening to Top 40 radio, I would have to note that radio was a less balkanized medium back in the day- a radio station could play synth-pop, funky-pop, and country-pop without a programming manager blowing a gasket. Casey's production team packaged it all together, and he'd lend his familiar voice to the countdown, being America's weekly companion unobtrusive and articulator of emotions over long distances. At the risk of losing my cynic's card, I'd have to say that Casey was able to convey a care for his listeners. Of course, every so often, he'd get a little flustered, as this NSFW outtake hilariously demonstrates:

Tonight, on DJ Rich Russo's great weekly radio show, Mr Russo played an edited version of that clip and followed it up with a eulogy about Casey Kasem's professionalism, and how he was such a perfectionist that a blunder like following an up-tempo number with a dead-dog story was enough to throw him off his game for a brief spell. It's a funny clip precisely because it's so unexpected.

While I quickly left "Top 40" radio behind, I remained a big fan of Mr Kasem because of his great voice performance as Shaggy, the unintentionally(?) counterculture member of the Scooby Doo cast (he always has the munchies, never changes his clothes, talks to a dog, and sees phantoms- you make the call). Hmmmm... Boombastic charted high- if Shaggy played Shaggy, would that be a meta-Shaggy experience? Here's a classic comic/musical interlude featuring Shaggy and his constant cartoon canine companion:

On a more poignant note, here's Casey performing live as Shaggy at the MDA telethon:

It's sad to see that Mr Kasem signed off for one last time. He was a familiar, comforting voice in countless households.


ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

As a child, I used to listen to Casey's American Top 40 until the fateful day that I found the famous WLIR and never looked back.

Same for me, although I think it was D.C.'s DC 101.

Anonymous said...

I've not read any other eulogies for Mr. Kasem, But this one is brilliant, thanks.