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Doug Young Article

Posted: Fri Mar 29, 2019 7:38 pm
by Stewart
Doug Young
By Stewart Wright ? 2002

At my first Radio Enthusiasts of Puget Sound Showcase, I met many fine actors and actresses and was finally able to meet a very special man whose work I had admired for years: Doug Young. He was an actor in Los Angeles during the Golden Age of Radio and did voices for Hanna-Barbera cartoons. Also, Doug has provided many voices for Jim French radio drama productions starting on the Gene Autry-owned Golden West Network in the 1970's and continuing into the 21st century with the internationally syndicated Imagination Theatre.
Douglas "Doug" Young is probably a name you are not familiar with from Old-Time Radio, but he was there. Doug is a character actor, one of those actors who didn't receive on-the-air credit for many of his radio performances, but was, nonetheless, an integral part of Old-Time Radio. Doug told a 1992 Radio Enthusiasts of Puget Sound (REPS) meeting, "I was never a big star, but I was a working actor. I was part of the cadre of bit character players." He didn't have the lead roles, but often did multiple characters in a single episode of a show.
At that same REPS meeting, Doug did an impromptu skit to show the audience how an actor might play several Western characters in a single radio show. In this skit he played all the characters, including the announcer, who ended with ?You have just heard Chapter 23 in the exciting Western saga, The West Was Hell! You?ve been listening to NBC - The Columbia Broadcasting System.? He broke up the audience with his character voices and humorous dialog.

Getting Started In Radio:
Doug remembers that, "I started out in Texas wanting to be a cartoonist. That was until I ran into a friend of mine, who knew a fellow who was a radio announcer at WOAI in San Antonio. The announcer told me, 'We?re doing a live, half-hour country and western show on Saturdays and we are looking for some people who can do some characters.' That's how I got started."
Doug moved to California and went to a school to study acting. He was just breaking in professionally when the Second World War started
During the War Doug was in the Army and worked for Armed Forces Radio Service, doing programs for the troops at home and overseas. He did all kinds of shows - dramas, comedy, musicals, and such. While at AFRS, he got work with one of his heroes, veteran character actor J. Carrol Naish, who complimented on his professionalism.

Radio, Old-Time:
As a character actor during Radio's Golden Age, Doug's bread and butter was being able to do several different voices for a single show. In those days, of instead of hiring three actors, they might get one character actor to do all of these parts and save money. Doug was one of those guys. Among the shows that Doug performed on were Aunt Mary, Cisco Kid, Dr. Christian, Lux Radio Theatre, Red Ryder, Sherlock Holmes, Stars Over Hollywood, and The Whistler.
"So I managed to break in enough to appear on The Whistler and Lux Radio Theatre. On Lux they had a group who did the ad-libs or the 'Walla-Walla' as we used to call them. They got that name because if you heard them in a crowd, it would sound like they were saying 'Walla-Walla-Walla-Walla.' So we used call that doing 'the Walla-Wallas.' Well, you?d do that and hope to break in and get some lines on the show. Lux was one of the best-paying shows at the time. That?s where I met John Garfield." "Garfield, when he didn?t have a line, would come over to the ad-libbers and join in. He came from New York and the stage and was a real person, not a sudden film star. He was a really witty and funny guy. He could have been a comedian."

An Actor and A Fan:
He also told that REPS meeting audience, "That was the fun thing in radio, working with people. The actors never did look like they sounded. Some guy with a beautiful voice, who is the handsome leading man in a series and he would look nothing like his character."
"Live radio, to me that was the excitement! A guy says, 'We?re on the air,' throws you a cue and BOOM; you?re on. That's it. I?m thankful those wonderful days of live radio."
"Radio people were warm, very generous people. They would share things. A guy would know about somebody needing a voice for an Italian dialect. He couldn?t do it. He would say, 'So-and-so is casting for. . .' We all worked together helping one another."
Sound effects artists impressed Doug with their work. "To watch sound effects artists, even when you were there and part of it, was amazing. I still don?t know how they did it."
Doug remembers, "Part of the joy of these times was meeting the people I admired and getting to talk to them. I was in awe of great actors, especially character actors. I was a fan and it was great to meet them."

Cartoon Work:
Doug's radio work helped him break into cartoons as a voice actor. He did a lot of cartoon voice work for Hanna-Barbera Studios including working on Loopy De Loop, their first cartoon series. He points out, "In the cooperative spirit that was radio, my friend Dawes Butler got me an introduction at Hanna-Barbera that led to the job. There had been a previous time in radio when I was able to do something similar for him."
Doug modeled some of his cartoon voices after his favorite character actors. The Doggie Daddy character in the "Augie Doggie" cartoons was patterned after Jimmy Durante. He wanted to get the feeling and rhythm of Durante's voice, but also the warmth. Also, on "Hokey Wolf," Doug did a character called Ding-A-Ling whose voice patterned after Buddy Hackett's.

Radio, New-Time:
Doug later moved to Seattle and has done a lot of voice work there, including commercials and over 130 appearances on Jim French's radio dramas. In fact, he starred in "BEacon 3699," the very first episode of Jim's first series, the 1972 Tower Playhouse. He co-starred in French's international trouble-shooter series, Dameron, with Seattle radio personality, Robert E. Lee Hardwick. In that series, Doug usually played other roles in addition to his role as Emile. Doug is one of a very few actors who has appeared in every Jim French series including The Adventures of Harry Nile, Crisis, The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Kincaid - The Strange Seeker, and Tower Playhouse.
He has also appeared at the every REPS Showcase and has donated his talents in their Radio Readers productions of "Skyway to Hell" and "Captain Midnight."

Post Script:
Doug Young died on December 21, 1919, died January 7, 2018. He was 98 years old.