I missed the interview at the time and you won’t find it on their site but reader Greg Ehrbar has come to the rescue by passing on what Doug had to say to Stu Shostak and his guests, Mark Evanier and Earl Kress.
It’s a shame the interview was so short and didn’t talk about his childhood or go in depth about into his radio career. But he did discuss how he got in—and out—of cartoons.
Anyway, let’s pass on some snips from the interview. About the Golden Days of Radio:
I really got in kinda late. I was one of those guys who was in the Army.It’s too bad Doug himself switched the subject at that point. But, as mentioned earlier, since he appeared on the syndicated and transcribed The Anderson Family around 1947, “Army” must mean World War Two, which would make it unlikely he was born in 1931. In fact, if you click here you can see Doug’s Army enlistment file which has him born considerably before 1931.
Doug lauds Daws Butler as “my hero” (isn’t he everybody’s?) and explains how Daws got him into Hanna-Barbera.
Daws was with me when we used to make the rounds looking for radio work, radio dramas. I was driving a truck, you know, and ran into him at a book store. I had a little delay. He said “What are you doing?” I told him. He says “Forget it.” Come to my place. We’re going to make a tape, take you out to H-B and that’s it ... he went out and we did an audition and Joe Barbera liked it.Mark Evanier has explained to me the two were auditioning for Doggie Daddy.
Actually, myself and a guy named Peter Leeds who used to be on the Bob Hope Show a lot, and quite a good actor, and I just happened to luck out, and they seemed to like my punctuation [sic] better than his. In fact, it was early in the morning, about 8 o’clock we had to go out to the studio and audition for this. ...
They liked the way I did the Durante thing [Barbera told him they needed someone that sounded like Jimmy Durante]. I tried to keep a lot of warmth in it because he was one of my favourite comedians of that era. And he just exuded that kind of openness and warmth and everything so I tried to get that into the voice.
Leeds, for the uninitiated, also has a Daws Butler connection as the two of them appeared on Stan Freberg’s CBS radio show and Capitol comedy albums. Leeds’ career at Hanna-Barbara consisted of an opening narration on Quick Draw McGraw’s Scat, Scout, Scat as a narrator and that was it. It seems odd he’d do just one cartoon; Mark informs me Leeds cut other audio tracks for H-B that were not used. Cartoon voice historian Keith Scott mentions Leeds did at least one theatrical Magoo cartoon, Safety Spin (1953). Keith also related a story about Leeds at a commercial audition that I don’t know I’m at liberty to pass on (it’s not dirty or derogatory, but it was in a private e-mail).
Doug outlines a typical recording session for one cartoon:
It was just like doing a radio show, you sit around and go through the script, assign the parts Joe would, and then we’d go to the mike and do it, and they would animate from the voice track, of course ... It took probably a couple of hours before we got it all ironed out. ... [They would use the first take] 80 or 90% of the time.As mentioned in the birthday post, Doug seems to have provided incidental characters in the Hanna-Barbera cartoons until 1966 and then just disappears. He explains that he had personal problems, including with his marriage.
I just had to get away from it. I intended to come up here [the Pacific Northwest] just for a little bit, but I decided to change my whole lifestyle, so I stayed with some good real friends in Salem, Oregon and I changed my whole situation around. And I loved the Northwest so I’m still here, remarried and happy as can be.There’s a little more on the interview, but that sums up most of what Doug had to say about his work at Hanna-Barbera. The other thing that’s striking is his comment about the one thing that’s changed since he voiced cartoons is the money. He says he got something like $100 an episode while the cast of The Simpsons are millionaires. But he’s not rueful, wistful or resentful about it. He tells how he admires them.
In the end, Doug Young comes across as a friendly, warm guy. So it seems there’s not only a lot of Jimmy Durante in Doggie Daddy, there’s a lot of Doug Young, too.