Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Art Gilmore 1912-2010

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 Documentary Legato Underscore) 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.


  1. So sorry to hear of Art Gilmore's passing. I remember that voice all through out my childhood. Another great from that generation has left us. It's sad that we can actually count on our fingers how many are left. A true class act.

  2. Art was a gem, a delightful fellow. I interviewed him by telephone for my book "My Name's Friday," then met him in person in 2001 at the annual convention for the Radio Enthusiasts of Puget Sound (REPS) in Seattle. Needless to say, I gave him a signed copy of my book with my thanks for his valuable contribution. He sent a letter thanking me some weeks later! What a gentlemen. He and the other actors at REPS set a standard for graciousness that subsequent generations have failed to approach. I'm saddened to read of his passing.

  3. As a Boomer (less baby now) I will miss the wonderful voices of those who were the early electronic media pioneers.

    Personally I remember Art Gilmore's performance on my RCA radio and TV too. He was a true 'gentle'man of the media. Each time someone looks back and listens to the 'voices' that entertained us one of those voices will be Art Gilmore the man who spoke so well for it for so long.

  4. Great voice! And thanks for posting the end title for Huck and the inimitable Thurl Ravenscroft "Tony" ad. I remember that one quite well.

  5. Like many of the best announcers of the day, Art's voice was distinctive. What's remarkable is while a lot of the big-time network announcers vanished as radio died, Art seems to have gotten busier. I've heard him in the most unexpected places, doing industrials for example.
    I was listening to him just the other day doing a Rinso spot on an Amos n Andy featuring Jean Vander Pyl. It was uncredited.
    This is running off-speed, but he did a Mel-O-Toon you can watch here.