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John Stephenson, Voice Actor, 1923 – 2015

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Writer Mark Evanier reports the passing of veteran voice actor John Stephenson on Friday, May 15, 2015, at the age of 91. While the cause of death was not stated, Mr. Stephenson had suffered from Alzheimer’s disease for some time and had been living in a nursing home. Mr. Stephenson’s career began in 1948, when he moved to Hollywood from his native Wisconsin and became an actor in radio dramas. These led to work on TV and film, with numerous TV roles on some of the top shows in the 1950’s and 1960’s, including The Lone Ranger, The Beverly Hillbillies, F Troop, Get Smart, Green Acres, Hogan’s Heroes, Perry Mason, and The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis. However, in the 1960’s, he transitioned out of on-camera work in favor of voiceover in commercials, announcing work (including the iconic voiceover for the Dragnet TV series), and animation. Many of his best-known roles were for Hanna-Barbera, including Mr. Slate on The Flintstones, Dr. Benton Quest on Jonny Quest, Fancy-Fancy on Top Cat, and Farmer John Arable in Charlotte’s Web.

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Last pup of a dying planet, a young German Shepherd is rocketed to Earth, where he is bombarded by cosmic gamma rays emitted by a radioactive spider. Crash-landing in the forgotten land of Hubba Hubba, he is discovered by the Who-You-Callin'-Ancient One and his lovely wife Pookie. Instilled with their traditional American values, he spends his young adulthood roaming the globe, learning all the secrets of Comic-Fu. Donning battle armor fashioned from spilled chemicals splashed by lightning, he becomes the Sensational Shield of Sequential Art ACE THE BATHOUND! Look, it sounds a lot better than the truth. Born in Brooklyn, moved to Queens at 3 and then New Jersey at 10. Throughout high school, college, grad school, and gainful employment, two things have remained constant: 1) I am a colossal nerd, and 2) I have spent far too much time reading comics, and then reading and writing about them. Currently working as a financial programmer in New York City, while continuing to discover all the wonderful little surprises (and expenses) of owning your a home in the suburbs. Shares the above with a beautiful, wonderful, and incredibly understanding wife named Frances (who, thankfully, participates in most of my silly hobbies) and a large furry dog named Brownie (who, sadly, does not). Comics, toys, Apple Macintosh computers, video games, and eBay