From Scooby-Doo’s Fred to Garfield: How legendary voice actor Frank Welker brought the characters to life
Ever wondered where Scooby Doo’s voice came from? You might be surprised to find out the hidden, caffeinated ingredient.
Frank Welker was working doing stand-up at a comedy club when an agent came in and booked him for his first voice acting job — doing dog sounds on a commercial. Luckily for Welker, that gig connected him to an ABC casting agent and it wasn’t long before he was auditioning for Scooby Doo, but didn’t land the part he initially tried out for.
“I wanted to do Shaggy because that was the funny part and Casey Kasem, who was doing Shaggy, he wanted to do Freddie because it was more of a serious an acting part,” explains Welker. “We ended up getting the exact opposite parts; I ended up with Freddie he ended up with shaggy which he was fantastic at.”
So how does one master that high-pitched, slightly frantic voice? “It was basically my own voice with maybe five cups of coffee,” shares Welker.
With the 50th anniversary of Scooby Doo coming up in 2019, Welker can hardly believe his luck to have been part of such a lasting show. “In our business to have a show that goes 50 years, let alone to be part of that in the entertainment business, is kind of unheard of,” he says. “So I feel lucky.”
But Scooby Doo isn’t the only animated show he’s been lucky to be part of, you can also hear his sometimes not-so-dulcet tones in Garfield and Futurama. “Animation really remains a beloved genre in the entertainment business because of the fantasy element and the ease of telling stories through animation,” says Welker. “I mean, you can go anywhere and you can do anything in animation you enter this fantasy world.”
Watch the interview above.