Bob McFadden: The Man Who Would Be Franken Berry

A shout today for voice-over comedian Bob McFadden (1923-2000). The Ohio born entertainer started out in nightclubs as a singer and impressionist, achieving his first notoriety with a series of novelty singles he recorded in collaboration with one “Dor” (a pseudonym for Rod McKuen). These included “The Mummy” b/w, “The Beat Generation” (1959), “Son of The Mummy” (1960), and, who could forget “The Dracula Cha-Cha” (1960). This led to work on comedy records, notably Vaughn Meader’s best-selling JFK send-up The First Family (1962), and another one called Fast, Fast Relief from TV Commercials (1963).

McFadden also did cartoon voice-overs, such as the title character on Cool McCool (1966-69), which he performed as Jack Benny. Starting in 1971 he voiced Franken Berry (as Karloff, of course) in the Monster Cereals commercials. He also debuted Wisk’s “Ring Around the Collar!” slogan in 1971 as an obnoxious parrot. From 1974 through 1985 he did voice-overs in numerous Rankin-Bass Holiday specials, including Twas the Night Before Christmas and The Year Without a Santa Claus (both 1974), The Little Drummer Boy Book II (1976), The Easter Bunny is Coming to Town (1977), Rudolph and Frosty’s Christmas in July (1977), The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus (1985), and others. His last credits were on the animated show Thundercats (1895-89).

To learn more about the variety arts, please see No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, and for more on classic comedy please read Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube.