In a world before Don LaFontaine was King of the Movie Trailers came only one man. One man from Tacoma. One man with a voice.
That man was Art Gilmore.
Many of us first heard Art’s tones over the top of a Bill Loose music bed from the Capitol Hi-Q library (C-95B) as he urged listeners or viewers to write for a free booklet to a box number in Pasadena and tune in again to ‘The World Tomorrow.’
But Art had an amazingly prolific career in broadcasting and acting long before that. He began on radio as a singer on KVI in 1934. Before LaFontaine, he was the King of the Movie Trailers. He wasn’t in all of them, but it sure seemed he was. From Rear Window to any number of cheesy science fiction/horror or beach party movies through the ‘50s into the ‘60s. But unlike LaFontaine, Art Gilmore was known for much more than telling people what starts Friday at a theatre near you. He appeared on camera in the original Dragnet. He was the narrator on the Joe McDoakes series of shorts for Warner Bros. He was the announcer for top radio shows like Dr. Christian, Lux Radio Theatre, Amos ‘n’ Andy. And for Red Skelton on television. None of this even touches on his industrial film narration. Or his leadership of the American Federation of Radio Artists. Or his work with the Red Cross. Or with the Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters Association. Or the announcing award named for him by Alpha Epsilon Rho at Washington State University.
Or his connection to a certain blue hound.
Below are the end titles for the first Huckleberry Hound Show. The voice you hear belongs to Art Gilmore.
I’ve wondered if Art was on the Huck show at the behest of the sponsor. He did commercials for Kellogg’s. Here’s a fun one with Art and the wonderful Thurl Ravenscroft (Hal Smith is Tony, Jr). Anyone know if Hanna-Barbera did the animation? Ed Love maybe?
Art was a quiet, religious man by all accounts, married to the same woman for 72 years. I’ve always enjoyed his work and I hope I’ve given you a little taste of his connection to the early Hanna-Barbera cartoons.