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Voice actor Casey Kasem

Voice actor Casey Kasem

March 11, 1971: Charles H. Stern, whose agency specializes in providing talent for TV and radio commercials, monitors tape recorder as actor-announcer Casey Kasem makes audition tape.

This John Malmin photo appeared in the Aug. 9, 1971, Los Angeles Times. Staff writer Martin Rossman reported:

If that voice that’s trying to sell you soap or beer or an automobile on a TV or radio commercial reminds you of somebody you know, don’t be puzzled. It’s supposed to.

“That voice you hear today,” says Charles H. Stern, “sounds much like the guy next door. There’s been a definite trend to a ‘real guy.’ Not an announcer with rich pear-shaped tones and his hand cupped to his ear. That went out 10 years ago.”

Stern, whose Sunset Strip agency specialized in supplying on-and off-camera talent for commercials, says that “a youthful sound” is prevalent today.

“It used to be very hard sell and punctuated. Today, it’s understated, non offensive. The voice is usually very listenable and often has a subliminal effect–you may not even notice the selling message is coming through.” …

Some producers, he says, like to use tried and true voices–standouts in the field such as Mason Adams or Bob Landers–while others are constantly on the lookout for “a new voice.”

Stern cites Casey Kasem, one of the newer additions to his client roster, as an example of the latter.

The talent agency heard Kasem doing a disk jockey show in Los Angeles and “thought his voice would probably be good for commercials.

“He caught on overnight. He was lucky enough to come along just as the trend to the ‘real guy’ was coming in. But it only took most of his life to prepare for it.”

Kasem has a radio-stage-TV-motion picture background, but considers radio the best training for commercials. “That’s because on radio every word has a nuance, even to the point where you do or don’t pronounce the ‘t’ at the end of a word.”

Kasem has been doing commercials for only two years, but in 1970 alone cranked out 250 of them “plus a couple of hundred cartoon shows” where he does a variety of voices. …

Kasem passed away June 15, 2014. His Los Angeles Times obituary is online: Casey Kasem dies at 82.

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