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Olan Soule (February 28, 1909 – February 1, 1994) was an American character actor with hundreds of credits in films, radio, commercials, television and animation.

Early life

Born in La Harpe, Illinois to Elbert and Ann Williams Soule (descendants of three Mayflower passengers), Olan left Illinois at the age of seven in favor of Des Moines, Iowa. He lived there until he was 17 and then launched his theatrical career by joining Jack Brooks' Sabula, Iowa tent show.[1]

Career

Radio

After leaving the tent show, Soule appeared on stage in Chicago for seven years before moving to radio in 1933, including a stint on Chandu the Magician (1935-36). On radio he performed for 11 years in the daytime soap opera Bachelor's Children, and beginning in 1943, he did lead male characters on radio's famed The First Nighter Program for nine years. Listeners of First Nighter who met Soule in person were often surprised, since his slight 135-pound frame didn't seem to match the voices he gave to his characters. From 1941 on, Soule had the role of L. William Kelly, SS-11, the second in command of the Secret Squadron on the Captain Midnight radio adventure serial.[1]

Television

Concluding his nine-year run on First Nighter, Soule moved to Hollywood, where he did films and television, building a reputation as a reliable character actor. He appeared on many TV shows: Captain Midnight (as scientist Aristotle "Tut" Jones), I Love Lucy, The Andy Griffith Show, a semi-regular role as real-life LAPD criminalist Ray Pinker on Dragnet (the character became "Ray Murray" in the 1967 revival), Mister Ed, City Detective, Behind Closed Doors, Dante, Harrigan and Son, State Trooper, The Twilight Zone, Bewitched, The Addams Family,The Munsters, Gunsmoke, Happy, Bonanza, The Jean Arthur Show, Laramie, The Monkees, Mission: Impossible, The Six Million Dollar Man, Fantasy Island, Little House on the Prairie, Dallas and Simon & Simon. He was the only actor who performed on both the Captain Midnight radio and television shows.[2]

Batman

Soule is remembered by many for providing the voice of Batman in several animated series. He first performed as the Caped Crusader on the 1968 Filmation-produced The Batman/Superman Hour.[3] He reprised his role as Batman on The Adventures of Batman, The New Scooby-Doo Movies, Sesame Street (1970), Super Friends, The All-New Super Friends Hour, Challenge of the SuperFriends, The World's Greatest Super Friends, and Super Friends. He appeared as a newscaster on the live-action Batman television series (in "The Pharaoh's in a Rut") with his Super Friends successor Adam West. Although Soule eventually gave the Batman mantle to the man who portrayed him in live-action, he continued to contribute in the Super Friends: The Legendary Super Powers Show series, providing the voice of Professor Martin Stein, mentor and subconscious of fledgling hero Firestorm.[2]

Death

On February 1, 1994, Soule died of lung cancer in Los Angeles, California. He was 84 years old. His interment was located at Forest Lawn - Hollywood Hills Cemetery.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Dunning, John. *On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio. Oxford University Press, 1998. ISBN 0-19-507678-8
  2. 2.0 2.1 Great Character Actors: Olan Soule
  3. "Voices in the Knight". IGN. Retrieved 2010-08-15. 

External links

Preceded by
Gary Merrill
Voice of Batman
1968-1974
Succeeded by
Adam West
Preceded by
Adam West
Voice of Batman
1977-1983
Succeeded by
Adam West
fi:Olan Soule

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