Dick Beals (1927-2012)

Animation voice actor Richard Beals (aka Dick Beals) passed away this week at age 85. Nobody has a better obit online than Mark Evanier, but I couldn’t let him pass without a remembrance here on the Brew. Beals had essentially one voice – that of a cheerfully optimistic little boy – but it was used often and well by just about everyone in Hollywood. Most famously, Beals voiced Ralph Phillips in Chuck Jones’ theatrical cartoons (above) and was Speedy Alka-Seltzer in numerous TV commercials (below).

In addition, Beals was Davey in Davey and Goliath, Buzz Conroy on Frankenstein Jr. and Birdboy on the Birdman series. Hanna Barbera used him to re-dub live action boy actors in (or more likely, they pre-recorded the tracks for) Gene Kelly’s Jack And The Banstalk and in commercials like this:

Beals had a long career on radio and on early live television before settling into voice-over roles. Perhaps my favorite was this one – in support of Gary Owens as two members of the American Eagle Squadron, as both Dan and Yank on Roger Ramjet (below). There is no better way to pay tribute to Beals today than to rewatch and listen to his work – and to thank him for all the memories. Rest in peace.

(Thanks, Derek Tague)


  • Doug

    I never knew till now who it was that voiced all those characters.
    Mark’s bio. of Beals tells a really extraordinary story. How remarkable that a man who had what many would consider a handicap managed to forge it into a lucrative and memorable career. Thanks for sharing this,

    • Chris Sobieniak

      Lord knows I’m glad he found a way to put that handicap to a use that was of great use in those early days of TV and in animation. Whenever I think of someone like that, I keep thinking of an episode of “Married.. with Children” episode where Kelly appeared in a video shoot of some sort where another actor spoke his lines in a high-pitch voice that was normally his and it was said he played the voice of the dolphin on SeaQuest or something. While they obviously did that as a throwaway gag I can’t help but think it would suck to try to get a career in entertainment when your voice is that way. I feel I have plenty of respect for Beals in what he was capable of doing for many wonderful years.

  • The Gee

    Sort of playing off of what Doug wrote above: I do hope he enjoyed his career. It is really nice to know he was able to work for such a long time and probably had a lot of interesting experiences and anecdotes.

    My condolences to his family and friends.

  • Chuck Howell

    I sat at the same table as Mr. Beals at an Old Time Radio Convention in beautiful Newark, NJ in the mid-1990′s. What a treat! He was happy to talk about his career with anyone who asked. Speedy Alka-Seltzer was discussed, but I was more interested in his work on radio’s “Gunsmoke” with William Conrad, and Ralph Phillips (of course). I’ve read that Beals had the same condition as Walter Tetley, who played “tween” boys on radio and voiced Mr. Peabody’s pet boy Sherman on “Rocky and Bullwinkle.” He was in his mid-forties at that point.

    • EricW

      When this sad news came up on an old-time radio mailing list the other night, I kept thinking of the role Beals played in the CBS Radio Workshop adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s “Hail and Farewell”, which originally aired on February 17, 1956. It’s a remarkable performance, hearing that familiar voice put to use in a very peculiar, melancholy story about a middle-aged man living forever in a boy’s body, and the odd routine he developed to deal with it. It’ll stay with you for a long time.

      • rnigma

        I was also thinking about that CBS Radio Workshop episode, and how it kind of mirrored Beals’ career.

        Quite a body of work he left.

      • TheBandSnapsBack

        The terrifying, unforgettable episode of “Suspense” that Beals carried all by himself, RETURN TO DUST:

        http://www.escape-suspense.com/2008/04/suspense—retu.html

  • Greg Chenoweth

    Boy, this is sad news. I have the record “Doggie Daddy Tells Augie Doggie the Story of Pinocchio” and Dick Beals was the voice of Pinocchio on the record and Daws Butler did everyone else. That record has always been a treasure to me and I will listen to it again to pay homage to Dick.

  • V.E.G.

    No record exists of him marrying.

  • eeteed

    such sad news. he played so many beloved characters. i can’t think of any modern day voice actors who can match his work.

  • Steve C.

    Dick Beals wasn’t Gumby that I know of, but he did do some incidental other tween boys in that series, and in that OTHER Art Clokey series, “Davey and Goliay”, occasioanlly as Davey. Greg, don’t forget Janet Waldo [woo likewise essayed little, tween, and teen girls an 203- something ladies] was the fairy in that Pinnochio record, which I used to have. And i agree totally with Eeteed. Greg C., getting back to that Augie record, I forgot that it was Dick, I had thought Don Messick played pinoke. It reused the part of him crying and then the fairy shows up.

  • Bob

    I met him several times at the Friends of Old Time Radio Convention and he was a great guy. Sadly, the number of old-radio performers alive today could probably be counted on the fingers of one hand.

  • Paul N

    Saw him on a Roger Ramjet panel years ago. He was funny and had great stories.

  • Christopher Cook

    I also recalled him as Buzzer Bell and Shrinkin’ Violette on “The Funny Company.” He gave tremendous appeal to his characters.

  • http://yowpyowp.blogspot.com Yowp

    The saddest thing is as of this posting, the mainstream media has not recognised his passing.

    • Chris Sobieniak

      It is sad.

  • James Madison

    Aw, man…this is sad.

    Great work. Memorable.

    Thank you Mr. Beals.

  • Kevin S.Butler

    I was lucky enough to meet Mr.Beals at one of “The Friends Of Old Time Radio”conventions at “The Holiday Inn North” in Newark/Airport,N.J. years
    ago..A polite and talented little gentleman. He left us all alot of legacies
    (his tv commercials and his film,radio and tv cartoons VO’s)that will live
    on..Goodbye Dick.

  • http://strangepixels.blogspot.com Joe Boulden

    Can’t help thinking that “Boyhood Daze” had a big influence on Watterson. Reminds me of Spaceman Spiff and other Calvin fantasies.

  • Chris Matie

    Back to your comment remembering Mr. Beals’ roles as a “cheerfully optimistic little boy”, he was also Richie Rich’s mischievous prank-happy cousin Reggie Van Dough in Hanna-Barbera’s Richie Rich in the early 80′s (in which a lot of the eps there were scripted by Mark Evanier). What a way to beat typecasting (albeit the same voice) lol

    Anyways, there will also NEVER be another Ralph Philips, too, as well. Both that combined with the cartoon genius of Chuck Jones really brought such AWESOME chemistry together. He most definitely will be missed. All my condolences to his family.

    REST IN PEACE DICK BEALS