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Voice-over work sounds like a cushy gig

Saturday, November 24, 2012 - 12:01 am

There are jobs and there are jobs, but I think the cushiest ones in the world have got to be doing voice-over work for TV shows.

Just ask Carol Ann Susi or Lorenzo Music. Their names may not be familiar, but if you watch TV, their voices certainly will be. Ms. Susi is the ever-annoying, grating voice of Howard Wolowitz's mother in “The Big Bang Theory.” (“Howa-a-a-rd, your little friends are here!”)

The closest we ever got to seeing Mr. Music was the intercom box in Rhoda's apartment on Valerie Harper's old TV series “Rhoda.” (“Hello. This is Carlton, your doorman.”)

They aren't the only ones who got to work in their pajamas. Most people will instantly recognize the voice of KITT from “Knight Rider.” William Daniels wasn't the first one to speak through a car radio, however.

How many of you remember Ann Sothern as the voice of Jerry Van Dyke's mom in “My Mother, the Car!”? Granted, that show only lasted one season in the mid-1960s and is generally regarded as one of the worst shows of all time, but still, as talking cars go, it was way ahead of its time.

Many of these unseen actors play an integral part in legendary TV shows. How would Charlie's Angels know which bad guy to go after each week without that early-morning phone call from John Forsythe? How would Kirk, Picard, Janeway and all the other starship captains know how many seconds were left in the self-destruct sequence without Majel Barrett's computer voice coming in loud and clear over the Enterprise's communications system?

As a final counterpoint to these unseen icons of television, let's not forget the characters we saw each week who never uttered a word. Larry's brother Darryl and his other brother Darryl from “Newhart” come to mind immediately. They just stood there. Talk about cushy jobs!

Mike Marin is a cranky curmudgeon who, when he’s not yelling at kids to get off his lawn, likes to complain about the sad state of popular culture, especially as seen through a TV screen. His email address is marinating@tribune.com. This column is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinion of The News-Sentinel.