Walter Mencken 8:27 a.m., April 18
Dig a Hole: Dick Beals, Escondido Resident and Voice of Ralph Phillips, Gumby, & Speedy Alka Seltzer
Plop-plop, fizz-fizz, I now know what grief is.
He stood only 4' 6", but the everlastingly boyish Dick Beals was a Goliath among voice actors.
Dick Beals, the voice of Gumby, Speedy Alka Seltzer, cartoon favorite Ralph Phillips, and countless others has been forever silenced. The veteran vocal performer died on Tuesday at the Vista Gardens Memory Care facility in Vista. He was 85.
Richard Lee Beals was born on March 16, 1927 in Detroit, Michigan. He began by doing children's voices for commercials and gradually advanced to small talking animals. No matter his age, Beals never sounded any older than a 10-year-old boy.
Beals moved to California in the 1950's and spent much of his life in Escondido.
Here is a partial list of Dick Beals' vocal contributions:
- The kid who sang about wanting to grow up to be an Oscar Meyer wiener.
- Everyone's favorite stop-motion analgesic, Speedy Alka Seltzer
- Arthur Spacely on The Jetsons.
- Davey Hansen on Davey and Goliath.
- Shrinking Violet and Buzzer Bell on The Funny Company.
- Dan on the Roger Ramjet series.
- Pinch hit for Art Cloakey as the voice of Gumby.
- One of the Campbell's Soup Kids.
Beals earned a spot in the cartoon hall of fame right out of the gate. His first voice for a cartoon character was Chuck Jones' wide-eyed daydreamer, Ralph Phillips in From A to Z-z-z-z. From inside his classroom, Phillips wages battle with numbers on a chalkboard, Pony Express riders, and an octopus, all to the consternation of his ever-vigilant teacher, Miss Wallace (voiced by Bea Benaderet). It's a miraculous ode to imagination, a cartoon that actively encourages its rebellious character's mind to wander. This cartoon received an Academy Award nomination for Best Animated Short in 1953.
According to the New York Times, Beals' "youthful voice resulted from a childhood glandular problem that also stunted his growth."
He left no immediate survivors.
[Source: The New York Times]
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