America lost a living legend early on Father’s Day, when famed DJ Casey Kasem (born Kemal Amin Kasem) was taken off of life support and passed away after a long struggle with dementia and Parkinson’s Disease. Kasem is best known for having hosted ‘American Top 40’ on the radio for decades, before turning hosting duties over to Ryan Seacrest.
Rivaling his radio hosting career, however, is his role as a voice actor. Most notably, he provided the voice of the king of stoners, Norville “Shaggy” Rogers for 40 years on the various incarnations of ‘Scooby Doo’ since the show’s beginning from 1969 until 2009 in the animated movie ‘Scooby Doo and the Samurai Sword’. He returned to voice Shaggy’s father Colton Rogers on the current series ‘Scooby Doo: Mystery Incorporated.” But that’s not all he contributed to the world of animation.
Kasem also voiced Robin the Boy Wonder on the 1968 ‘Batman’ animated series by Filmation, before carrying on in the role on Hanna-Barbera’s ‘The New Scooby Doo Movies’ and finally the ‘Super Friends’ series which ran for ten years from 1974-1984. Kasem also provided the voices of Mark the leader of the G-Force on ‘Battle of the Planets’, Alexander on ‘Josie and the Pussycats’/’Josie and the Pussycats In Outer Space’ and Bluestreak, Cliffjumper, Teletraan I and Dr. Arkeville on ‘The Transformers’. Kasem did opt out of one episode of ‘The Transformers’ due to a racist depiction of a Middle Eastern ruler named Abdul, King of Carbombya. (Kasem was of Lebanese heritage.)
He also provided the voice of Peter Cottontail in the Rankin-Bass special of the same name, opposite Vincent Price who played the villain Iron Tail.
Kasem was a vegan and requested that Shaggy and Scooby also be vegan, so if you watch older episodes of the show, you might notice that these two high-as-a-kite individuals don’t ever eat meat. (Although, I think that was later undone.)
A big chunk of my childhood is now missing. I remember listening to ‘American Top 40’ and recording all the awesome songs onto Maxell cassette tapes, and what about those ‘Long Distance Dedications’?! And… I mean Shaggy and Robin?! R.I.P. sir!