Category Archives: Television

Scatter update: Deemer’s hyperdrama, Mothers of God, women with whips

By Bob Hicks

With Mrs. Scatter on the road eating fresh pineapple and downing margaritas with childhood friends, Mr. Scatter and the offspring have been batching it the last few days.

Mrs. Scatter's fresh pineappleWhile that’s led to a somewhat more relaxed sense of structure (oh, my goodness: is it midnight already?), the basics have been covered: boys showered, sheets washed, fruit or vegetables shoved down reluctant teenager’s plant-averse throat, same reluctant teen’s homework swiped at (eek! it’s finals week!).

It’s also led to a more, well, scattered approach to Mr. Scatter’s schedule. While Friends of Scatter Barry Johnson and Marty Hughley have been dutifully hitting the theaters and discovering interesting things (Barry wrote about the Fertile Ground new-works festival’s Famished, Meshi Chavez and tEEth for OPB; Marty wrote about the fascinating-sounding The Tripping Point: An Exhibition of Fairytale Installations, also at Fertile Ground, for Oregon Live) Mr. Scatter’s been going with the flow.

This is how the flow went.


On his way to Mochitsuki on Sunday afternoon (one son was watching Jane Campion’s The Piano for his English class, with a welcome assist from Ms. Reality’s Netflix account; the other was home listening to Grieg’s In the Hall of the Mountain King on CD), Mr. Scatter ran into actress Eleanor O’Brien, who was standing on a sidewalk outside the Tiffany Center with a stack of postcards for her new show, Girls’ Guide: Dominatrix for Dummies, which will run at Theater! Theatre! Feb. 10-26.

Continue reading Scatter update: Deemer’s hyperdrama, Mothers of God, women with whips

Andy Rooney, signing off one last time

By Bob Hicks

Andy RooneyOver at Splattworks, playwright Steve Patterson delivers this nice farewell to America’s second-most-famous Rooney, after Mickey. Professional television curmudgeon Andy Rooney is dead at 92, and he kept on keeping on with his 60 Minutes moments almost to the end. Patterson, an old newshound himself, appreciates Rooney’s old-fashioned reporting skills, and signs off this way:

Even when he didn’t have much to say, he found an entertaining way to tell you: “Today, I got nothin’.”

Today, we got nothin’. Or at least a little less. And I think Rooney would be okay with that. Anyway, he’s going to have to be. And so are we.

Aging grandly: Elizabeth McGovern

The Earl and Countess of Grantham (Hugh Bonneville and Elizabeth McGovern)

By Bob Hicks

One of the lasting impressions of Ragtime, director Milos Forman‘s 1981 version of the E.L. Doctorow novel, is of the ravishing freshness and physical innocence of the young actress Elizabeth McGovern, playing Evelyn Nesbit. Her beauty was dreamlike, the beauty of a creature only just discovering self-awareness.

Elizabeth McGovern in "Ragtime," 1981.Beauty fades, of course, or rather, it changes. Now, at 49, McGovern is still beautiful, but in a fully mature, more experienced, less unnerving way — which, from some vantages, makes her even more beautiful: It’s a beauty anchored by reality.

McGovern has lived in England for the past 18 years, and has recently co-starred in a hit period television series, Downton Abbey, which will be broadcast in the United States beginning Sunday on PBS’s Masterpiece Classic. Sarah Lyall has a good interview with her in this morning’s editions of the New York Times.

Continue reading Aging grandly: Elizabeth McGovern

Thursday links: Trash-art TV, unkind cuts

By Bob Hicks

Mr. Scatter doesn’t watch much television (especially since the Mariners have taken a dive into baseball’s primordial ooze of futility: where are you now, Edgar and Buhner and Big Unit?), and he doesn’t really go in for the American Idol model of determining cultural “winners.”

Nao Bustamante, not shocking enough for TV. Shows like Idol and So You Think You Can Dance certainly reflect the effect of the marketplace on the art world — an effect that a lot of people like to pretend doesn’t exist but is in fact crucial. That doesn’t necessarily make it a positive, only an inescapable fact of life. Still, as we’ve all become excruciatingly aware, an unchecked marketplace can be an arena for disaster, and Mr. Scatter is not convinced that his musical listening habits, for instance, should be determined by a popular vote.

This is a long route to confessing that he hasn’t actually watched an episode of the Bravo network’s Work of Art, in which visual artists advance or fall by the wayside according to a Trump-like theory of failure and success. Fortunately Regina Hackett, from her perch at the provocative and insightful Another Bouncing Ball, has watched, and thought, and written.

Her post Reality TV: artists as female stereotypes is a good read, and typically for ABB, it rattles the cages of conventional wisdom. And Hackett can be funny. Musing on Work of Art‘s judges, whom she judges to be pretty lame, she wonders whether the show couldn’t be goosed up a bit if venerated critic Donald Kuspit joined the panel: “When being fed nonsense, I prefer it to be elegant nonsense, like Kuspit’s.”


Hackett’s post here on Dave Hickey (she calls him “the great tap-dancing art critic of our time”) is also a refreshing read. Here’s Hickey on university life: “It took me a few years to realize you can’t talk to other English teachers about literature. You can talk to them about their pets, though. That’s why you want to learn all the names of the professors’ pets, so when you see them in the hall you can ask, ‘How’s Roscoe?’ and they will go on for half an hour, and you can nod along and think about whatever you want.”


Meanwhile, Barry Johnson at Arts Dispatch and David Stabler at The Oregonian have been having an interesting conversation about whether it’s smart or dumb for arts groups to  slash budgets in tough times. Should you cut budgets and programming, because it’s prudent to balance your budget? Or does that simply make you look desperate? The ping-pong has been interesting, and so have the comments by a lot of smart onlookers.

I like the latest (so far) take on the fray, by Oregon Symphony violist Charles Noble at Noble Viola: “What you cut is almost as important as how much you cut. … For example, cutting all pops programming because ‘the audience is all dying anyway’ is catastrophic cutting, whereas searching for the audience that we most want to develop and then catering to them within the general pops genre is the better route, though possibly more expensive and time consuming. The difference is what you or I might do to our prized Japanese maple tree if we just randomly hack off stray limbs instead of hiring a skilled arborist to perform careful pruning to make the tree more healthy.”

In other words: Constantly reassess, in good times and bad. And spend smart.

This is a discussion that might actually have an impact. If you haven’t already, catch up on the conversation at these links and throw in your own two Euros’ worth.


Illustration: Nao Bustamante’s performance piece wasn’t shocking enough for the judges on Bravo’s “Work of Art.”

Most assuredly, a vote for entertainment

By Bob Hicks

The late lamented Charlie Snowden, Mr. Scatter’s boss at the old Oregon Journal (a newspaper that died when the industry was healthy), was a man who appreciated a good joke but also had unyielding standards.

Simon Russell Beale as Sir Harcourt Courtly in the National Theatre's filmed version of "London Assurance."  Photo: Catherine AshmoreAt his perch on the news desk, Charlie was known to lightly mock certain passages of flowery writing as he slashed through copy with his big black pencil. Sometimes he’d sigh or giggle and choose to overlook a phrase that not so privately drove him crazy: He knew which writers had permission to roam and which did not. But that didn’t stop him from pulling out his inkpad and his favorite stamp and branding the hard copy with his own gleeful judgment. The type was in a florid, immediately post-Gutenberg, barely readable old gothic. “WRETCHED EXCESS,” it said.

Ah, but what if the excess isn’t wretched?

That’s the sort of excess that courses through Dion Boucicault‘s ramshackle 1841 comedy London Assurance, which recently enjoyed a sold-out revival at the National Theatre. That production was filmed live in London on June 28, before the show closed, and it was screened for Portland audiences twice on Saturday by Third Rail Repertory, which has an agreement with the National to show its filmed productions.

Mr. Scatter will argue that it is precisely the excesses in this calculated crowd-pleaser that make London Assurance work — and the firm command of excess on the part of the performers that steers it clear of wretchedness.

Continue reading Most assuredly, a vote for entertainment

It’s spring break: Scatter hits the links

CarlosAlexis Cruz and Mayra Acevedo as Pedro and his militant wife on an attempt to confront a human in "A Suicide Note from a Cockroach." Photo: Drew Foster

No, not the golf course. Mr. and Mrs. Scatter do not do the Scottish thing. (Maybe the Scotch thing, but that’s different.) This morning the Scattermobile is heckbent for the Oregon coast to take the salty waters for a few days, Large Smelly Boys in tow and hoping that some Susan Cooper on tape will quell the teen and pre-teen insurrections.

The Scatter notebooks will be included among the various baggage for this trek into the semi-wild, and yet we cannot guarantee that anything will emerge from them. Perhaps. Perhaps not. But the ingestion of clam chowder and fresh oysters is a better bet.

In the meantime, let’s do the links. Here are a few things from other places we think you might like to read:

COCKROACHES BITE THE BIG ONE. On Saturday night Mr. Scatter went to Imago Theatre to catch Pelu Theatre‘s circus-skill performance of A Suicide Note from a Cockroach …, an hour-long spectacle based on Nuyorican poet Pedro Pietri‘s 1979 piece A Suicide Note from a Cockroach in a Low Income Housing Project. It’s good, utterly nonrealistic stuff. A brief review is in this morning’s Oregonian, and you can read the the longer Oregon Live version here.

Melody Owen, "Drought in Kenya -- Buffalo," Elizabeth Leach GalleryMELODY FOR THE MEEK. Portland artist Melody Owen has a pair of shows up in town, one at Elizabeth Leach Gallery and one in The Art Gym at Marylhurst University.

They are both elegant exhibitions, and both consider, to one degree or another, the position in our midst of the meek — specifically, of the members of the animal kingdom, who have no say in the decisions that humans make about the world in which they live. Mr. Scatter reviewed the shows on Friday in A&E; you can read it here.

PBS UNPLUGS THE ARTS. Scatter friend Holly Sanders relayed this column from the always provocative Terry Teachout of the Wall Street Journal.

Continue reading It’s spring break: Scatter hits the links

Juniper Tavern: After 25 years, we’ll drink to that

A quarter-century after a literary landmark in Oregon, and the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Let’s see. Urban/rural split, with a vengeance. A recession in the city, which means a depression in the small towns and countryside. Newcomers wide-eyed with enthusiasm over their new home; old-timers narrow-eyed with suspicion and mistrust. Jobs disappearing as fast as the trees and fish. An almost desperate love for the land. Merry Christmas, everyone!

The script, published by Arrowood BooksA few evenings ago I sat down and re-read Charles Deemer‘s 1984 stage comedy Christmas at the Juniper Tavern. It was maybe the third or fourth time I’ve read it in the 25 years since it debuted, to great acclaim, at the old New Rose Theatre in Portland. In that time I’ve scratched my head repeatedly over why some Portland theater company doesn’t revive it for a December run. It’s topical, it’s seasonal, it has terrific characters and it gets to the heart of that elusive thing called the Northwest spirit. I’m convinced that with a good production it’d be a hit.


Well, maybe next year. In the absence of a fresh production, the next best thing is a trip on Wednesday evening to the Blackbird Wine Shop, at Northeast Fremont Street and 44th Avenue in Portland, for a 25th anniversary showing of Juniper Tavern‘s original broadcast on Oregon Public Broadcasting. A digitized version of the broadcast will be shown 7-9:30 p.m. Dec. 9. Admission’s free, and wine tasting is five bucks.


The DVD version, a copy of which Deemer sent me, is a mixed bag. It’s pretty much a point-and-shoot affair, a visual recording of that terrific original production, without the kinds of camera movement and visual rethinking that a higher budget might have brought to the project. That makes it, cinematically, more static than it ought to be.

But it also faithfully reproduces what was a top-notch stage production, solid across the board but sparked by the chemistry between Vana O’Brien as down-to-earth bar owner Stella and the late Rollie Wulff as Frank, an unemployed mill worker trying to make sense of a rural world that’s falling apart on him.

Their story is interrupted and amplified by a drinking binge, a stolen Rolls Royce, an abortive kidnapping, an angry mother in pursuit of her blissed-out daughter, a Christmas pageant, and — oh, yes — original director Steve Smith’s shockingly funny performance as Swami Kree, an Indian guru whose followers, who are building an ashram in the Central Oregon desert, have given him 26 Rolls Royces and one cool cowboy hat.

Deemer wrote Christmas at the Juniper Tavern at a time when a New Agey international religious group called the Rajneeshees and their guru, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, had taken over the tiny town of Antelope in Central Oregon and renamed it Rajneeshpuram.

It was one of the unlikeliest and most sensational stories in Oregon history. The split between the mostly wealthy Rajneeshees and the locals was sharp and radical. In a plot to take over Wasco County politically, members of the ashram under the direction of the bhagwan’s right-hand woman Ma Anand Sheela (echoed smartly in the play by Jane Titus as the waspish Ma Prama Rama Kree) spread salmonella poisoning through several restaurants in The Dalles, hoping to sicken enough voters that their own members would dominate the coming election. Rajneesh, who at one point had 90 Rolls Royces rolling in and out of the ashram, was eventually deported back to India.

The parallels between the Rajneeshee movement and Christmas at the Juniper Tavern were obvious, and audiences and critics alike assumed the play was a comic riff on current events. Deemer declared his play was not about the Rajneeshees (more on that below) but people didn’t pay much attention. Now, the play’s broader themes are easier to see.

As neatly as it strikes the historical chords of an outrageous cultural clash, in a larger sense Juniper Tavern belongs with a series of plays Deemer wrote in the 1980s about the social and economic strains of mostly small-town life in the Northwest. He included it in his 2006 collection Country Northwestern and Other Plays of the Pacific Northwest, which also included the title play plus Varmints, Waitresses and The Half-Life Conspiracy. Those plays mark a considerable achievement in documenting, with insight and humor, both the stubborn will of the region’s hardscrabble rural romantics and the fading of a way of life.

Listen to Rex (Gary Brickner-Schulz) in his monologue at the top of Act Two of Christmas at the Juniper Tavern:

“The bottom line is, you gotta eat. I don’t know what Margie expects me to do. You won’t find a harder working sum-bitch than yours truly but I can’t open up the mill if the company don’t want it open. If the mill ain’t open, I can’t haul logs. It’s that simple.

“There was a time when I’d’ve hit the road by now. But, damn it, I love this part of the country. I love Central Oregon. I love Juniper, the home I’m buying, my neighbors, the kind of life we share. I wake up in the morning, look out my kitchen window, and see nothing but snow-capped mountains. A rich man can’t see anything prettier.

“But you gotta eat, is what I’m saying. And if there ain’t work in the woods, you gotta find something else. You gotta use your imagination.”

I’ve spent time this year in some far corners of the Pacific Northwest. Twenty-five years ago I couldn’t have used free wifi or probably found a good cup of coffee in LaGrande, and both are easy now. Still, a quarter-century on, Rex’s description of the problem and the vague search for a solution seems uncannily familiar.


Back to Christmas at the Juniper Tavern and the Rajneeshees. A few weeks ago Deemer sent me this explanation for how the play actually came about:

“Now that you’re revisiting Juniper, maybe you’d be interested in the true roots of Swami Kree. They are different from what folks assumed at the time.

“In grad school, when I began teaching, I became interested in the possible pedagogic uses of paradox and contradiction. This culminated in a very controversial academic article, English Composition as a Happening, that was published in College English in 1967. … Later I discovered a thin book called Zen and the Comic Spirit. Historically, many zen masters used paradox and contradiction in their teachings. One was a 13th century monk named Teng Yin-feng. Teng presumably, as a lesson to his students, died standing on his head. In 1975, before moving to Portland, I wrote a one-act play called The Death of Teng Yin-feng. This was my first attempt at Swami Kree.

“In 1983 I was commissioned by New Rose to write the Moliere play [The Comedian in Spite of Himself; later revised as Sad Laughter]. I had a situation where I could live rent-free in Bend and went there. The papers there were full of Rajneeshee news, much more than in Portland. Also, the Bhagwan was on his vow of silence. This latter is hugely important. If he had been talking, he would not have fascinated me because once he talked, he just sounded like a politician to me. But silent, I could fantasize that he was a Zen clown.

“Bend was full of unemployed mill workers. What on earth would these two camps have to say to one another once the vow of silence ended? This was the question that created the play, fueled by my long interest in paradox and contradiction as methods of knowledge and enlightenment. Yes, the Rajneesh were an influence of sorts — but Eng Comp as a Happening and Teng Yin-feng are far greater contributors to the DNA of Swami Kree.”

Soupy Sales, 1926-2009: one last pie in the face


A moment, please, to remember comedian Soupy Sales,
who is with us no more, although the image of whipped cream cascading thickly from some passing celebrity’s pie-toss’d kisser remains vivid in our mind’s eye.

Sales, born Milton Supman on Jan. 8, 1926, in Franklinton, North Carolina, reportedly tossed 20,000 pies into the pusses of willing victims ranging from Frank Sinatra to Shirley MacLaine during a career that peaked in the 1960s and just kept coming back for more. He died Thursday in the Bronx, at age 83.

Soupy Sales schlepping his book. Nightscream/Wikimedia CommonsI don’t remember much about Sales. He was mostly a television figure — he had an extremely popular comedy show — and in the 1960s and ’70s I watched even less TV than I do now. But in the same way you know Britney Spears even if you couldn’t pick out one of her songs from a criminal lineup, I knew Soupy — that dopey elastic mug, the fading pie-in-the-face routine that he revived … well, 20,000 times.

The great, ill-fated movie actor Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle is said to have taken the first filmed pie in the face, back around 1912 or 1914, as one of the Keystone Cops. Whether the whole routine was dreamed up by Mack Sennett for the silent flickers I don’t know, although there certainly seems a rough country humor to it. It has a vaudeville feel, and vaudeville ruled when farm and small-town folk were just starting to feel the tug of bright lights and manufactured sin in the big city. Imagine doing that with Aunt Mabel’s blue-ribbon banana cream pie! The waste! The wonderful waste!

The pie-in-the-face routine has settled into American culture at a largely subterranean level. Politicians and the obscenely wealthy occasionally get one in the kisser as an act of political theater, although exactly what point it makes that a traditional razzberry doesn’t manage more cheaply and just as well is a little tough to figure out. Pitcher A.J. Burnett has apparently revived it in the clubhouse this baseball season, and it seems to be working some sort of mojo: His New York Yankees appear to be heading for the World Series. (I refrain from expressing the depth of my regret over that probability.)

Even at his height of popularity, Sales was a throwback. Comedy was mostly going in other directions, and he was in a weird way a conservator, carrying on the tradition of the Three Stooges and Jerry Lewis in his astonishing prime on early television with Dean Martin, and — going further back — to the likes of Buster Keaton, Abbott and Costello, and Charlie Chaplin. Well, sort of. If you lack the genius of the greats but have a burning ambition to succeed, you do what you have to do. You toss a pie in someone’s face. It’s the art of the unexpected, and, once you get known for doing it, of the expected: the big payoff.

Fatty Arbuckle with Mabel Normand: What's cookin, good-lookin?Physical comedy — and what is more physical than smacking a pie in someone’s kisser for laughs? — has been around at least since the early-Renaissance beginnings of commedia dell’arte. Shakespeare thrived on it. You find it everywhere from kabuki to Punch and Judy shows to I Love Lucy and the buff posturings of pro wrestling. Imagine Hulk Hogan as Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The tradition’s continued, if not often with the aid of actual pies, with the likes of Robin Williams (in his astonishing “nanu nanu” phase), John Cleese, John Bulushi, Bette Midler (non-weepy version), Danny DeVito and, I am sorry to point out, Adam Sandler.

A lot of comedy, of course, comes out of tragedy, or at least tough times. Many of our best comedians have led tortured lives. I don’t want to stretch out poor Soupy’s body on an analyst’s couch, but it struck me, reading his Associated Press obituary, not just that the Supmans were the only Jewish family in Franklinton at a time when that was a dodgy thing to be in the Carolinas, but also that Sales’ parents, who ran a dry-goods store, sold sheets to the Ku Klux Klan. Go ahead: Laugh that off.

Sales seemed genuinely liked in show-biz circles, but he did have an edge. According to one story, he once told the kids watching his TV show to take out all those green papers with numbers on them from their parents’ purses and wallets and send them to him. Astonishingly, a lot of kids did. Sales didn’t think the joke would work so well. He returned the money. When he couldn’t figure out where it came from, he donated it to charity.

Privately, he must have laughed his rear end off. He’d just tossed a pie in the whole nation’s face.

Nice to meet you, Ardi. See you at the family reunion.

Meet the family: Ardi, or Ardipithecus ramidus, in the flesh. Illustration: Jay Matterns, Science magazine

Meet the family: Ardi, or Ardipithecus ramidus, in the flesh. At 4.4 million years old, she’s our REALLY great aunt. Illustration: Jay Matternes, Science magazine

As we all know, modern life seems to be zipping around us at something approaching light speed: Whole trends and movements sometimes flower and die before we’re even aware of them. Whatever happened to the New Kids on the Block?

Thank goodness for science, which tends to take a longer, more measured view of things. It was a pleasure to look at the front pages of my two newspapers this morning and make the acquaintance of Ardi, a distant relative, and welcome her to the sort-of human family.

Ardi — short for Ardipithecus ramidus — is our newest oldest relative. At about 4.4 million years, she’s roughly a million years older than our old friend Lucy, who clocks in at 3.2 million. Ardi and Lucy grew up not too far from each other, about 45 miles distant in what is now Ethiopia. (A couple of even older specimens, Orrorin tugenensis and Saheanthropus tchadensis, might stretch the old family tree back to more than 6 million years, but apparently their fossils are too few for paleontologists to make a definitive case for them.)

Ardi stood about 4 feet tall and weighed a muscle-bound 120 — almost a foot taller and twice the weight of Lucy, according to John Noble Wilford’s typically lively and graceful story in the New York Times. (Brian Switek also has an interesting discussion at But although Ardi was bigger, Lucy was more advanced in most ways we think of as typically human, including walking. Lucy was much more of a stand-up gal. Despite the drawings, Ardi was likely in climbing mode most of the time: Note the stretched-out arms, huge hands, and relatively short legs.

Ardi’s first bones were discovered in 1992 and scientists have literally been piecing together her story since. At long last she’s having her debutante ball, and — speaking of speed — already she’s a star: Television’s Discovery Channel will air a two-hour special about her, Discovering Ardi, on Oct. 11. She’ll be dressed up in fur for the big event.

This morning, before he left for school, I showed Ardi’s picture to the Smaller Large Smelly Boy.

“She lived 4.4 million years ago,” I said. “That’s pretty old.”

“Yeah, but not as old as you,” he replied. “What was it you were doing on the day of the Big Bang?”

For the record, I was trying to take a nap.

Time Line of the Universe  Credit: NASA/WMAP Science Team; Wikimedia Commons

Time Line of the Universe, with Big Bang. NASA/WMAP Science Team; Wikimedia Commons

Farewell, frontiersman: Dallas McKennon, 1919-2009

One day in 1978 a shadow fell over my desk at the old Oregon Journal in downtown Portland. I looked up and there stood a giant of a mountain man, beard down to his chest, big grin peeking though from the bramble of hair, hand outstretched in greeting.

Dallas McKennonJoe Meek, maybe. Jedediah Smith. Liver-Eating Johnson. Jim Bridger.

Or, as it turned out, Cincinnatus, the frontier storekeeper on Fess Parker’s old Daniel Boone television series from the 1960s.

Dallas McKennon, the actor who played Cincinnatus, reveled in the rugged-outdoorsman role that was his bread and butter through several seasons of Daniel Boone and occasional shots on the likes of Gunsmoke, Laramie, The Rifleman, The Virginian, Wagon Train, and the Don Knotts spoof-Western movie Hot Lead and Cold Feet.

It fit him well. He was born in 1919 in the eastern Oregon town of La Grande, and although he became one of those familiar Hollywood faces (and even more familiar Hollywood voices) he loved that frontier image. I never saw him clean-shaven and surely wouldn’t have recognized him if I had. He was big and booming and glad-spirited, a happy salesman of himself.

I don’t remember what his particular purpose was on that day in 1978, other than to make himself known to the new kid handling entertainment news at the paper. My mind was filled with Big Stuff — the French New Wave, new German cinema, Important Literaure — and I wasn’t sure where to fit in a full-throttle show biz throwback to the American-frontier myth.

But McKennon was gregarious and patient and genially insistent — I’m here, he never quite said; you need to deal with me — and when he had a project going, he’d drop by for a few minutes and a fresh photo. He knew how the business worked: I’d make sure a line landed somewhere in the paper.

I really should have paid more attention. McKennon died July 14, five days shy of his 90th birthday, and if Oregon didn’t pay much notice to the passing of a native son, other parts of the world did. Here’s a fine obituary by Claire Noland from the Los Angeles Times.

Dallas (or Dal, as his old movie and TV credits often had it) was living in the Washington coastal town of Raymond, along Willapa Bay, when he died, but he’d spent many years in Cannon Beach on the Oregon Coast. It was there that he began to put together his own live-theater musical productions with titles such as Johnny Appleseed, Kaintuck and Wagons Ho. In the early 1950s he’d had a pioneering kids’ TV show in Los Angeles, and once he’d settled back in Oregon he’d sometimes show up on the old Ramblin’ Rod morning show in Portland.

He was never forgotten in Hollywood. Partly that was because of the old TV shows, but it was also for his prominence as a gifted voice actor. He worked for Walt Disney and Walter Lantz. He was the voice of Buzz Buzzard on Woody Woodpecker. He was Gumby, he worked on Mr. Magoo, he voiced part of the cartoon scene in Mary Poppins and did voice work on other Disney animated films such as A Hundred and One Dalmatians and Sleeping Beauty. He was the voice of Archie Andrews, the freckle-faced prototypical comic teen-ager, on TV. He even had a bit part in the Elvis Presley movie Clambake; according to a poster at, during film breaks he and Elvis passed the time together doing dog barks.

That’s a life. Or part of one. Other things of note: He had eight kids. He married Betty Warner in Portland in 1942, and they stayed married: She survives him.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 1, in the Cannon beach Community Presbyterian Church.