“Forgotten Hollywood”- Two L.A. Media Pioneers Have Died…

Posted on February 13, 2015 by raideoman1 | No Comments

Manny P. here…

gary owens   Southern California has suffered the loss of two media giants. One was a giant in radio and television, while the other was best known for his work in news broadcasting:

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   Gary Owens hosted thousands of radio programs over his busy seven-decade career. He appeared in more than a dozen movies, and scores of television shows, including Lucille Ball and Bob Hope specials. Owens also voiced hundreds of animated characters, recorded a comedy album, and wrote two books. He is best remembered as the wacky announcer on Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In.

   Gary joined the staff of KMPC in 1962, replacing previous host Johnny Grant, where he remained for over the next two decades working the weekday Afternoon Drive shift. Owens was part of Armed Forces Radio for 10 years. He also hosted a national show on The Music of Your Life Network, the syndicated Soundtrack of the 60s. A gifted punster, the air personality became known for his surrealistic humor.

   National Lampoon’s European Vacation, The Green Hornet, and Neil Simon’s Prisoner of Second Avenue were among his film credits. During the late 1960s, when the films of 1930s comedians, such as The Marx Brothers, W.C. Fields, and Mae West, were finding a new audience, Owens narrated phonograph records containing sound clips from the flicks.

  During this period, Owens became widely known as the voice of the eponymous cartoon characters in Roger Ramjet and Space Ghost, and the excitable narrator/announcer from The Perils of Penelope Pitstop. He was a scriptwriter for Jay Ward Productions, and has done over 30,000 commercials. Gary was also a guest star on The Munsters and McHale’s Navy. In 1976, he hosted the first season of the nighttime version of The Gong Show. Most recently, Owens was the promotional announcing voice for Antenna TV, a network dedicated to classic television, including Three’s Company, The Monkees, Adam-12, and Gidget.

   The man who coined the phrase Beautiful Downtown Burbank, my dear friend Gary Owens was 80.

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   Stan Chambers was a television reporter who worked for KTLA-TV in Los Angeles from 1947 to 2010. His ongoing report on the Kathy Fiscus recovery effort was recognized as the first live coverage of breaking news in small screen history. Chambers was also involved in the initial telecast of an atomic bomb test at the Nevada Test Site in 1952. Stan logged over 20,000 stories in his 63-year career.

   Among other stories Chambers has covered:  The Sylmar and Northridge earthquakes, the kidnapping of Frank Sinatra Jr., the Watts Riots, the assassination of Robert Kennedy, the Tate-LaBianca murders by the Manson Family, and the Hillside Strangler. Stan broke the story about the beating of Rodney King by Los Angeles Police officers.

stan chambers   The Associated Press Television-Radio Association would re-name its Extraordinary Achievement award for Chambers following his retirement from KTLA. The annual award honors lifetime achievement by broadcast journalists in the Western United States.

   The prolific Stan Chambers (left)was 91.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

This entry was posted on Friday, February 13th, 2015 at 4:06 pm and is filed under Blog by Manny Pacheco. You can follow any comments to this post through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.


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