Dick Beals, a radio actor and voiceover specialist whose earliest work was portraying kids on the Lone Ranger and Green Hornet radio shows in 1949 at WXYZ in Detroit, has died in a southern California nursing home at the age of 85.
Beals may be best remembered as the voice of the stop-motion animation figure called "Speedy Alka-Seltzer", which was featured in TV ads for more than 50 years.
Dick stood 4'7" due to a glandular problem which also gave him his youthful voice. He was playing ten-year-old boys well into his seventies and was often called upon to loop (i.e., dub in the voice of) live-action child actors in movies or on TV programs.
Beals was called on to do voices for Warner Brothers cartoons, often as un-credited secondary characters. When Hanna-Barbera started with the Flintstones, and then The Jetsons, Beals did many of the kid's voices on those shows, sometimes performing several different minor characters on the same show. One of his recurring roles was as Mr. Spacely's son Arthur on The Jetsons.
Beals voiced the famous claymation character Gumby when it was first televised on NBC in 1957. From 1960 to 1964, he played the voice of Davey Hansen, as well as other child voices, on Davey and Goliath.
Writer Mark Evanier notes in his show business blog: "Dick was always highly professional, showing up for recording sessions in a suit and tie, and carrying an attaché case. No one else ever wears a suit and tie to record cartoon voices and for a while, I didn't quite understand why Dick did. I finally decided it was his way of reminding everyone that he was an adult and not a little boy."
Dick Beals was active in Seattle's Radio Enthusiasts of Puget Sound, one of many groups devoted to preserving memories of the Golden Age of Radio. Despite his California residency, he served in the 1990's as President of REPS, often commuting to Seattle for meetings via the small plane he piloted himself.