Read Alex Grand’s Understanding Superhero Comic Books published by McFarland Books in 2023 with Foreword by Jim Steranko with editorial reviews by comic book professionals, Jim Shooter, Tom Palmer, Tom DeFalco, Danny Fingeroth, Alex Segura, Carl Potts, Guy Dorian Sr. and more.
In the meantime enjoy the show:
The Dallas Fantasy Fair 2018, Animation panel moderated by Comic Book Historian. Alex Grand interviews Bob Camp and George Lowe discussing their lives and career, what fields they started in and how they ended up in animation famous for Ren & Stimpy and Space Ghost. Bob Camp worked at Marvel in the early 1980s working on Conan and GI Joe Comics.
Robert Frank Camp is an American animator, writer, cartoonist, comic book artist, storyboard artist, director, and producer. Camp has been nominated for two Emmys, a CableACE Award, and an Annie Award for his work on The Ren & Stimpy Show. George Edward Lowe is an American voice actor and comedian whose voice roles include Space Ghost on the animated series Space Ghost Coast to Coast and its spin-off, Cartoon Planet. He continued to voice Space Ghost in several cameos in other
programs for several years following the conclusion of the series
🎬 Edited & Produced by Alex Grand, ©2021 Comic Book Historians, Sound FX – Standard License. Images used in artwork ©Their Respective Copyright holders. Images used for academic purposes only.
Bob Camp & George Lowe Interview by Alex Grand at Dallas Fantasy Fair 2018
📜 Video chapters
00:00 Bob Camp started in comics before going into animation
00:54 How was working with Larry Hama on G.I. Joe
01:27 Designing for Thundercats
02:10 The Real Ghostbusters, John Kay, The New Adventures Obedience
02:59 Stepping into animation | Animation is a terrible business
04:08 Were you not allowed to use the likenesses of actors
04:26 Did you miss comics?
05:02 The Real Ghostbusters to Ren & Stimpy | Tiny Toon Adventures
05:24 The Script we get…
07:42 I teach at the School of Visual Arts, New York
10:05 12 oz. Mouse by Matt Maiellaro | Keith Crofford
11:06 Robot Chicken
11:57 Space Ghost-Gary Owens
13:27 Jack Carter, Milton Berle
14:57 Jim Gomez and I were invited to lunch by Jack Carter
17:28 How you got into Ren & Stimpy? | Vanessa Coffey
19:40 Billy West, American voice actor
21:53 What are your thoughts on change in animation?
23:30 Seth MacFarlane
24:40 How George got into Animation Voiceover?
29:12 George getting into Space Ghost
30:35 Met Jonathan Winters(American comedian) in a supermarket
34:07 Have you watched the older 1960s Space Ghost?
35:50 Don Pardo, American radio announcer
36:34 Jerry The Bellybutton Elf voiced by Gilbert Gottfried
38:21 Merrill Markoe, American author
38:51 Voiced you’ve done of characters after Space Ghost
41:16 What are you working on now?
42:10 Funny story of Jack Carter
43:57 Wrapping up
#BobCamp #GeorgeLowe #SpaceGhost #RenAndStimpy #RobertFrankCamp
#BobCampInterview #ComicBookHistorians #ComicArtistInterviews
Transcript (editing in progress):
Alex: So, Bob, you started in comics before you went into animation, is that correct?
Camp: Yeah, I worked at Marvel Comics. I was a street caricature artist and a portrait artist, traveling around doing that. I was in Cape Cod every summer doing caricatures. I met a caricature artist there named Gary Hallgren, a great underground cartoonist from back in the day. He introduced me to Larry Hama, at Marvel Comics, and next thing you know, I’m doing movie parodies for Crazy Magazine. Worked on G.I. Joe, The ‘Nam, Bizarre Adventures Savage Tales, and I inked a shit ton of Buscema Conan.
Alex: Oh, nice.
Camp: Yeah, so I was doing Marvel Comics too…
Alex: Buscema Conan, I see. How was working with Larry Hama on G.I. Joe?
Camp: It was easy, it was great. If you brought in the art and it sucked, he would tell you it sucked, and then he’d laugh at you.
Alex: I see.
Camp: “Huh. It sucks. [chuckle]” But then he’d show you how to do it right. It was great. I was lucky to work in the Marvel bullpen. I learned a lot. It’s like going to college and getting paid for it. All the old guys were still there. They weren’t dead yet. They were all about 10 minutes away from being dead, but they weren’t dead yet, and they were great to work with and really fun.
A roommate of mine was working on Thundercats, the first season, a guy named Jim Meskimen. He decided he wanted to be a famous comedian and actor, which is what he is now. He said, “Look, I’m quitting, Thundercats. I’m doing character design there. Do you want to do the job?” So, I got the job, working on Thundercats, and I’ve been in animation since then.
Alex: What kind of work were you doing in Thundercats?
Camp: Character designs, background designs, prop designs, things like that. Whatever they needed drawn.
Alex: What was that company that was making Thundercats?
Camp: It was Rankin Bass.
Alex: That’s right. Rankin Bass.
Camp: Same people who did all those great Christmas specials like Frosty the Snowman, and all that.
Alex: Right. And then they went out of business a little bit after that. Who did you work for after Rankin Bass?
Alex: DIC. That’s right.
Camp: Yeah, I worked out of DIC. I worked on Alf Tales for about half hour, and the…
Alex: The Real Ghost Busters?
Camp: Then I moved on to The Real Ghost Busters. Yeah, I worked on that. That was fun. That’s where I met John K. Then I switched from Ghostbusters and worked on The New Adventures of Beany and Cecil with John K. And it was all the same people who made Mighty Mouse.
Crazy bunch of mofos, those guys were. It was their mission in life to piss people off. I threw them with the right and the wrong bunch all at the same time.
Alex: So, did your responsibilities in animation just increased, with the next show you went on, you were doing more and more?
Camp: Yeah, because I don’t know how to say no.
Camp: They’d say, “Can you run a multimillion-dollar animation show?” … “Sure!” I’d stupidly say, “Yes” It’s hard. Animation’s a terrible business. Animation is a terrible business.
Lowe: It’s dirty business, folks.
Lowe: My advice to you is, for you, young people who come all starry-eyed before us today, and want to know, “How you get in to animation?”, I’d tell you, “Get your ass in med school.” You’ll forget about all the showbiz, and the residuals, and the money when you’re knee deep in some Shriners’ intestines trying to fish out a polyp the size of a Buick, then you’ll feel a lot better when you see that money come in… “I got it!”
Camp: Not the new Buicks, like the old ones. The big heavy ones, like a ’58.
[Background speaker]: Chrome.
Camp: Yeah, that’s the big Buick, a lot of chrome.
Camp: Yeah, it’s a really big polyp… Weren’t we talking about cars? I’m sorry.
Alex: [chuckle] Something that I have a question on The Real Ghost Busters. Were you guys not allowed to use the likenesses of the actors?
Camp: That’s true. We weren’t allowed to use the likenesses of the actors. We had to use the crappy designs we were given.
Alex: I see.
Camp: I don’t know who designed those. I hope nobody sitting out there knows them. [chuckle]
Alex: Working in animation, were you kind of glad to be out of comics? Did you miss comics at the time?
Camp: Yeah. I was glad to be out of comics because comics really wasn’t a way to make money. But like 10 minutes after I quit doing comics, they started paying residuals, so people started making money in comics right after I got out.
Alex: I see. The work, and the pay was better, the pension, and all that was better in animation.
Camp: Yeah. No. No… If anybody wants to make a living as an artist, that’s not the reason to be an artist, you know… Anyway.
Alex: Transition us from Real Ghostbusters. You worked on a few projects up into Ren and Stimpy, give us that segue.
Camp: I worked on Tiny Toons.
Alex: Tiny Toons. Yeah.
Camp: Tiny Toons. That was awful. It was just a terrible experience. A lot of people really loved that show. “Oh, Tiny Toons… draw Buster.” I just don’t want to draw Buster. It was like, a lot of people worked in the animation business get really fed up with just turning out shit.
Camp: I know you know. You get awful script. It’s terrible. You have to say, okay, am I going to be a big jerk and say, “Wow, this really sucks”?… Yeah, go.
Lowe: Well, no, don’t lose your place either though. But I mean, this is kind of how we did Space Ghost. In the beginning, the guys kind of got mad at me. They thought I was being disrespectful.
But I’ve been way too free form my entire life. I come from a radio background, and then TV, and then improv. The improv part was totally self-taught. Foxworthy and Leno, both were really encouraging but I couldn’t hack the lifestyle; the smoke-filled rooms, all of that stuff. But it reached the point where my guys realized that I was not being disrespectful or unpleasant about what they had written. It’s just like these tangents appear in my mind, or if you’re a mathematician, co-tangents.
These things pop in my head, and I would go on these side tracks. Well they finally came to terms with it. I just worked with Matt Maiellaro, and instead of the old days where it’s like, “Could you read what’s there please.”
This time it was hysterical because Matt says, “If you can just get the opening line, and the last line, because the last line transitions into a dream sequence. And you can do anything you want in the middle, because it’s about radio and I know you know hate radio.”
Sure enough, I went off on it. I did this horrible written D story, which was completely true by the way. Anyway, a lot of guys get kind of in a twit about that, don’t they? Because they want you to stick to the letter of what they’d written.
Camp: It’s a control thing. A lot of writers are like that. They’re like, “Those are my words. Don’t change my words. They’re important words.” No. Throw your words out. Come up with funnier…
Oh, what a dude. What a dude… and he owed me money. So, yeah, it’s funny. It’s a tough business, and it’ll ruin you.
Like I teach. I teach at the School of Visual Arts in New York. I teach kids right out of high school, How to Do Animation Storyboard.” On day one I’d go, “Don’t… Get up. Go out now. Just go. Go away because you’ll become me. You’ll turn in to me and you’d be a sorry bitter old man.” [chuckle]. Just walks around bitching all the time, about how, it’s a terrible business.
The thing is, it’s sad, is you take somebody who… He’ll do what he does, whether there’s anyone to hear him doing it or not. It’s true, right? It’s just a radio, you turn them on and he starts talking. You got to either…
Lowe: … At home.
Camp: At home. That’s right… You’re doing color on…
Camp: Yes, okay.
Lowe: Bill Nelson was running for senate in Florida, and I swear to God, alone, nobody at home, just sitting there, they do that tag at the end of the commercial. And I was always the one going, “I’m Bill Nelson, I approved this message.” And then the message starts getting watered down. “I’m Bill Nelson I like to go bathroom with the door open… I’m Bill Nelson, I like to see naked pictures of ducks… I’m Bill Nelson, I want to hang out in your back yard, stretch in the pool.”
Camp: Yeah. So, I tell my students, “Look, if this is what you want to do, this is like what you’re built for, it’s in you. It’s got to come out. It’s your dream, and you do it whether you got paid or not. Yeah. Come on, I’ll show you how. And we’ll have a good time. I’ll teach you how to not maybe become such a big jerk like I am and do well… But if you’re not, just pick something else.”
I see kids coming in, they’re struggling with just real basic drawings skill. I teach them and I spend a lot of time with them but with some of them, I just want to go, “Just don’t. Just don’t do this because you’re not going to… You’re wasting your parents’ money.” But you can’t do that because the school frowns on that.
They don’t even like me to give students, C. The students get really upset and they go to the counselor, “He gave me a C.”
“I got a C! I’ve never had a C.” It’s a weird thing. So, I don’t really want to spend the rest of my life doing animation… Lowe, are you working on any shows lately?
Lowe: 12 oz, Mouse, that was the thing I just did with Maiellaro, and Maiellaro’s great. In the old days, they finally got it… And thank God, he’s got a good memory, because Clay remembered almost every goofy thing I ever did.
I can’t remember anything I did. It’s like I go into some fugue state while I’m doing it, and you could see the kids doing time code, and the producer would go, “Mark it. Mark it, Mark it… Mark it.” These are just the outtakes. They’d go back, sift out what they wanted, and pick and choose.
But once people got the hang of that’s how I work, that looks like I would give them the one, the way they wrote it. Keith Crawford told me, the other bigwig at the network, it’s always at the end of the closing credits, “Executives in charge of production, Mike Lazzo and Keith Crawford.”
Keith was the one who gave me the title “Vice President of Lunch”. I’m the Vice President of Lunch at Cartoon Network. Keith says, “Apparently, we’ve got another unicorn coming for Robot Chicken.” Never did grown men laugh harder than the disgusting unicorn on Robot Chicken. It’s filthy dirty. And I’ll tell you a secret, for all the guys grinning and giving me the knowing nod, it’s the women who come to the table and buy the pictures. They’re the ones going, “Honey, look, it’s the unicorn. Isn’t that funny?”
There’s a little bit of robot. I did American Dad last year. We did the Long Bomb. Played the Texas oil billionaire Cyrus Mooney. Killed me in the debut episode, thank you very much. So now, I can only come back with the dream sequence or…
Camp: As a ghost.
Lowe: If my friend, Bob, writes something, comes up with something new, maybe Space Ghost will get work again… So, it’s out there Bob.
Camp: Yeah. I want to ask you, speaking of Space Ghost, did you ever meet Gary Owens?
Lowe: I did. I was heartbroken. And Lazzo told some weird little lie like, “Man, if you and Gary Owens were in the same room, he’d take a smiting at you.” And I’m like, “Yeah, I can just see Gary Owens…”
Camp: Sweetest little lies…
Lowe: With like his zillions of dollars…
Camp: The kindest most gentle…
Lowe: Very gentle, I’ve heard.
Camp: Yeah, he’s very funny. I got to direct Gary Owens.
Lowe: Never got to meet him.
Camp: One day, they had a video camera and they were aiming it at Gary, and I do an okay Gary Owens but I said, “Gary, tell me about Bob Camp.” And he said, “You know he puts his hand up and he goes, “One day, Bob Camp went over to Sherry Lewis’ house took off his left sock, threw it in the road and yelled, “Lambchop’s been shot. [blows a raspberry]” Isn’t he great. He just said that, right off the bat. He was really funny, and great to work with.
Whenever you did him a line, he’d go, “Right you are. Perfect. No problem.” And he was just gentle and kind, and funny. He always made stuff 50% funnier.
Lowe: He was my hero.
Camp: He was great. Do you know…
Lowe: And the old guys are why I ended up doing this crazy thing.
Camp: He was the real thing though. He went back to radio. He was like the real, real guy.
Lowe: Music of Your Life, he and Wink Martindale and…
Camp: I got to work with him. I got to direct Jack Carter, the most bitter man in Hollywood. And that was the title that Milton Berle gave him, which makes it worse, right? [chuckle]
Lowe: I saw Berle… I was just close to Berle once. I was at a thing in LA, they were doing, it was like the top radio stations got to go. I had a killer morning show in Atlanta. This is before Clay and I got Space Ghost.
They sent all the top stations, Ronnie Schell.
Camp: Ronnie Schell.
Lowe: Who I think, the biggest thing Ronnie ever did… Remember him on, what was it, Gomer Pyle?
Camp: He was on everything.
Lowe: Always played Gomer’s buddy, who tried to get him in trouble. He was in Blazing Saddles, when he comes in and asks for the Sheriff, and the Sheriff’s not there, and he does the turn. “Sheriff, you’ve got to come quick, Mongoose’s lose…” He’s over there. “Sheriff, you’ve got to come quick, Mongoose’s lose…”
Camp: Yeah, he was kind of a buck toothed guy.
Lowe: He goes up, he was so proud that he actually knew Milton Berle. I felt bad for him because I was there when Milton Berle shot him down. He walks up, marches up, standing ramrod straight, and he goes, “Mr. Berle, sir, Ronnie Schell. I was with you on the Cavalcade of Toast or some other weekly show that Berle did. Berle takes the cigar out, looks at him and goes, “… Aha” then walks off.
Lowe: That was…
Camp: That was it.
Lowe: So, it’s not… It’s like you say, it’s not the most warm and fuzzy business. So, when you meet somebody nice, it’s rare.
Camp: Yeah. No. Okay. I’m going to tell you the story, I’m sure you’re going to appreciate. Jim Gomez and I were invited to lunch by Jack Carter. Jack Carter was the guy; he was Mr. Saturday Night. He had a show on, right after Sid Caesar. He was a really funny guy, and a hard worker. He’s just like, “I really work hard.” Everything he did, he did with everything he had. Real gravelly voiced guy.
We went to… He said, “Come on, I’m taking you to lunch. Get a hotdog.” We go to this restaurant, it’s in Beverly Hills.
Camp: It’s in kind of a big shopping center area. We go back between some stores, and then there’s a big plaza, a cafe kind of a thing in the middle. As you look across, everyone you see is a celebrity. But they’re kind of old school celebrities, right? They’re having lunch and everything. And we’re walk in behind Jack Carter. He’s, “Ahem… [mumbles].” Everyone spots him, and they all see him coming in, and we’re walking behind him.
He walks up to the maître d, and he goes, “Oh, Mr. Carter, hi.” Jack looks over in the main table, like when you walk in and it’s like, “This is where the boss sits.” And he says, “Yeah, my table.” He goes, “No. No. I’m sorry Mr. Carter, but Mel Blanc Jr is going to be sitting at this table today. He reserved it.” He goes, “Blanc schmack! Fuck you.” And he grabs the thing and goes, “Sit down. Sit down.”
Everybody in the place, one by one, that was famous, came to him and paid homage to the king. They came in and it was really weird. And every person who came to him, he’d go, “Yeah, that guy, cheated on his wife and he killed her. Nobody found out about it. He buried her in the backyard.” He knew dirt on everybody.
You know… Like, “That guy lost his mind and he ate his poodle.” He’d just make up something… No, I just made that up.
But he would say stuff about them, and he knew dirt on everyone. ”That guy, that guy over there, he’s a leg breaker for the mob… See that guy, he owes me a thousand bucks… The bum.” He knew dirt on everybody.
Who came by?… Norman Lear came up. All these great singers. Vic Damone came up. Gerry Cormack came up. All these great… Comedians. Norm Macdonald came up. Everybody paid homage to him.
I got to direct Frank Gorshin. I’m serious, anybody knew who Frank Gorshin is? Who knew some…? He was the Riddler on the 1966 Batman. The guy with the hideous laugh and stuff. I got to direct him. I’ve been pretty lucky; I’ve got to work with some good guys.
Alex: Tell everyone how you got into Ren and Stimpy, because once you got into Ren and Stimpy, that kind of set your career for a while after that.
Camp: Well, I was working on Tiny Toons, and really hating it. And John K… I’ve worked with John K, previously, on The New Adventures of Beany and Cecil, and he got us all fired. Isn’t that weird? Wait, he always does that…
He got everybody fired, and he was at home, and he couldn’t find work. He was sitting in his kitchen, in his tall chair, chain smoking cigarettes and drinking like Molson on ice, because he’s Canadian. That’s what they drink.
I got a job at Tiny Toons. They called me up and said, “You want, we’re going to make cartoons just like…”
Alex: Loony Toons.
Lowe: “Just like the original Loony Toons, like the Termite Terrace cartoon. And it’s going to be storyboard artist driven, and it’s not going to be writer driven.”, which was a lie. So, I went to work on that. I was kind of miserable, John and I were hanging out a lot. We were pitching shows around. He had a show idea that he had created in college, which was called Your Gang. Kind of a parody of Our Gang.
Vanessa Coffey was… Do you know Vanessa?
Background speaker: I don’t.
Camp: She’s great. She’s great. She created the Nicktoons thing. She sold Nickelodeon on the idea of being a cartoon driven network, because it wasn’t at that point. She said, “You need to find creative people. Creators who can come up with their own characters. Create their own characters and give them a show, and let them make a show that they create.” That was how we got in.
But they didn’t like the show idea at all, but they did like the dog and the cat. “Oh, we like the dog and the cat, use them. Do something about them.” That’s how we got Ren and Stimpy. We did a pilot which ran in the Spike and Mike Animation film festival.
Alex: Oh, nice.
Camp: Got great reviews and so we got a series. We did four seasons of it.
Billy West, yeah, you know Billy?… Billy’s so funny. He’s a killer, and I’ve never… You’re pretty good, but I’ve never known anybody that can do as many voices as he can do. And he can do anyone. He can imitate anyone perfectly. He used to do some funny stuff over the intercom at the studio. I can’t say what company but, yeah, I got to work with Billy. Billy’s great.
Billy always bring so much to the table. He’s like you. You ask for five bucks and you get a million. He gives you much more than you expect, and he brings a lot to the party, and a lot of good comedy. I mean Billy is Stimpy.
Lowe: I had a quick visit with Billy over the years, like a hundred times. We’ve done a bunch of sci-fi shows together. And it’s almost like, now, I know the cues. It’s like he started to know my weird cues, but whenever they throw out the question to him, “Hey Billy, is there ever anything you wanted to do that you didn’t get to do?” I know it’s going to be The Them Story. He wanted to be The Them voice.
And then so, he’s like, “You start off with, “Tonight on Action News, meet a hippopotamus that can type its own name… [roars] Why did this man cook and eat his own…” That’s my, we’d join in, “Why would this man cook and eat his own family? Find out on Action News, tonight at 6:00 and 11:00.” It’s The Them thing.
Lowe: I’ve bumped into him so many times now, that it’s like we always have fun together. I leaned over the last time, in St Augustine, I’m like, “Who’s the guy in the middle?” He says, “I don’t know. He was like the screaming duck in a video game or something. Just be nice.” I’m like, “Okay.” Because you would never want to let somebody down, who’s starting in, coming along. You can ultimately end up working for somebody that you’re giving a rough time to. But I’ve always had such good fun with him every time, I’m like… He’s a fun guy who can do everything.
Camp: He’s a really talented musician… We’re talking about Billy West, the guy that does Ren and Stimpy. He didn’t originally do Ren, John K did Ren‘s voice.
Background speaker: He did both voices?
Camp: He ended up being both because John went and got himself fired. Dummy.
Alex: So then, after Ren and Stimpy, the new millennium, had you feel like animation has changed? Is it forever changed or is it…?
Alex: Is it less fun, more fun? What are your thoughts?
Camp: You know, I don’t watch cartoons. Is that weird? I don’t watch… I’ve seen The Simpsons twice.
Camp: It’s like I always have something I need to do. I got to work or something, and I’d rather watch an old movie.
I go pitch shows to networks, right? And I go in to Nickelodeon and I pitch shows. This happened a while back and I pitch shows and they go, “That’s not really what we’re looking for.
I’d say, “Well what are you looking for?” And she would say, “Oh, we’re looking for something that are children, or at least, if they’re not children, they should act like children. They don’t need to be too smart. And they don’t necessarily need to be human or animals, and they can live in a strange place.” And I say, “Hmm, you mean like Sponge Bob?” … “Yes, like Sponge Bob.”
My attitude is like, “Why would I want to copy a cartoon that’s a copy of a cartoon, I already did?”
Camp: I don’t really like cartoons. My youngest son really like Family Guy. They offered me a job on Family Guy.
Alex: Oh, yeah?
Camp: Yeah. They asked me if I wanted to be the producer on it. They showed me the pilot and I said, “No. It’s like a bad Simpsons rip off… Eh, I don’t like it.”
Alex: Right. [crosstalk]
Camp: So, I probably screwed up. I could have been like rolling in dough now but…
Lowe: Really Bob…
Camp: Take the money.
Lowe: Take the money, Bob.
Camp: I would have been, Seth MacFarlane’s boy… Oh my God…
Alex: His homie, yeah.
Camp: [chuckles]… You know what? First of all, I’m sorry. Okay, he’s a great talented cartoonist. See, this is the bitter me, talking. This is the really jealous bitter me, talking.
It’s like, “Okay, he’s handsome.” All right, he’s handsome. “Oh, and he can sing like Harry Connick Jr.” Great, he can sing like Harry Connick Jr. “Oh, he’s a jillionaire.” He’s a jillionaire. Everything he touches turns to gold… Yeah.
Camp: Here’s the best story. And I know this story because he told me the story himself. Back in 2001-ish, he was at an airport waiting for a flight. He decided to go have a drink and he got drunk, and he missed his flight, which plowed into a field in Pennsylvania on September 11.
Lowe: Oh, my God.
Camp: He should have been on one of those planes, but he didn’t get on.
Camp: This is a man who sold his soul to the devil…
Alex: Yeah, and he came out good.
Camp: And there’s a really ugly old painting of him upstairs, in his attic…
Alex: Dorian Gray…
Camp: Dorian Gray.
Alex: All right… Nice.
Camp: It’s just… you know. He’s just too successful. I don’t know.
Alex: George, I want to ask you some…
Lowe: Wait a minute, hold it. Hey, wait a minute. Ladies, and gentlemen, Alex has a question for me.
By the way, if you’re an orthopod or if you’re training to be an orthopod, could somebody please, grab the long forceps and pull my tailbone back out.
These seats! My god, Bob… These seats are like… The seat company should be named, The-Beginning-of-Your-Impacted-Bowel-Seat-Company.
Camp: They’re convention seats…
Lowe: Oh, my god… The convention seats, not to be confused with convention coffee, and robot soap dispenser, which by the way, if I come back as a hitman in another life, Robot Soap Guy is dead.
Camp: It’s the water thing… You put it under there and everything comes out.
Lowe: Oh, good luck. Good luck. You put your hand, waiting for the soap, and it makes this little noise like grandpa, first thing in the morning… “[makes a funny noise]” … Nothing. I’m getting… and then you go like three more, “[makes a funny sound]” … Now, I’ve scared the family. I’m sorry, sir.
Be sure and join us this Sunday though. I’ve just been hired by the Osteen Ministries as a warm up.
I’m sorry… Okay, what’s the question, Alex?
Alex: George, tell us how you got into…
Lowe: And I’m deaf as a post, even with a mic.
Alex: Animation voice over, how did you get into that? From the stand-up comedy into voice over.
Lowe: It was one of these things, where kind of like Billy… At one point, Billy worked for Howard Stern.
Well, the radio guys loved me, [chuckle] until they got to know me, because I could do all the voices. They’d go, “Hey, we’re doing this thing with Boeing.” It’s not like Simpsons stuff, it didn’t have to be perfect. But you would know who it is, so you’d go on, you go “Hey! Hey, Rocky, watch me pull this impacted thing out of my bowel.”
And Rocky would go, “Again?” And you’re doing a number… “Again. That trick never works” … “I better get another hat.”
Lowe: Yeah. So then, when my voice was higher, before I’d hit the basement, I used to be able to do really serviceable Johnny Olson. You know, like, “Ned Fulman, come on down! You are the next contestant.” Then I fell in love with Pardo and they were like, “Oh, you got to do a Don Pardo at the end of every show.” So, we started doing these fake products.
Alex: What year was this, roughly?
Lowe: This would have been… while I was doing radio in Tampa in like ’83.
Alex: Oh, okay.
Lowe: There was a steam roller station back then called Q105. It was a run-away, just a monster, 60-some share of the audience. Every other radio station around them tanked. I’d go in everyday and at the end of the show I’d be like, “Today’s show brought to you by Tongue Brothers, ballgame wieners, they plump when you touch them.” … “Thank you, Don, we’ll see you tomorrow folks.” Or, “Today’s show, brought to you by Panty Pudding. Pour dry mix in air tight sandy pants, go for a stroll, in 30 minutes you’ve got savory Panty Pudding. Now in tapioca.” … “Thanks Don, we’ll see you tomorrow. Goodbye everybody.”
So, I start doing that. Then friends start pairing me, and the line is so bad. Am I okay doing a horrible line with the ladies? Are the ladies going to rebel and hit me with shoes if I do a horrible line?
Alex: Do it.
Lowe: I said something politically incorrect to a friend of mine, one day. She laughed and said, “I dare you to work that in to the closing credits.”
The next morning, we end the show, and I go, “Today’s show, brought to you by the world’s smallest hand vacuum, the Rug Goblin. Works great for RVs, automobiles, even your boats. Every woman loves a Rug Goblin.”
She calls 10 minutes later; I drove her off the highway. “I’m in a ditch, and you’re going to come pull me out with your tow chain.” … “I don’t have a tow chain!”
But that’s how it happened for me. I was able to do all these weird voices… “Paid for by Campaign to Elect Another Loser to Office, who’ll disappoint us like nobody else before.” They’d say, “Can you fill this in?” And I’d go, “Yeah.”
Then I’d be like this smarmy host, “Hi everybody, Ric D. Oh, welcome everybody. Super show. Hey, great to see you” … “How are you? Nice to see you” … “How’s it going?”” … Paid me no attention at all. “Hi. Nice to… careful going up now, hold the handrail.” … “Thank you” … And God bless this man who’s cleaning up the vomit, from everyone who went to the Bob and George Panel…. Mopping up pools of vomit from our audience.
So, what was the question?
Alex: Tell us how you got into Space Ghost?
Lowe: Literally, fell into it… Down the hall, doing Animal House. “Tomorrow, on TBS, The Blues Brothers, again.” And the producers said, I’m so darn much fun that eventually, they sent me down the hall. I read and…
Alex: That was in…
Lowe: The outtakes are what did it.
Alex: What year was that? What year did that end up happening?
Lowe: That would’ve been ’93.
Alex: ’93, yeah.
Lowe: Yeah, which was our pre-production year, and then I met Clay. And somebody, I think it was Crawford, had the epiphany, “Keep them separate. That way, when George blurts something out, or Clay blurts something out, then we’ve got it without them crossing over.”
In LA, everybody wants you to read it like a play, where they’re all in the room together.
Camp: We used to separate people out. When I directed Ren and Stimpy, I would direct people one at a time. I didn’t put everybody in the room. We ended up doing that later, on another show, because people liked to worked that way. But it didn’t occur to me to do that.
Lowe: And you’ll never know when you’ll get a Berle. I think we kind of started that back then. At the time, it was Simpsons, and us. And I looked at Billy’s resume and I’m just, “Don, I sit there each time and I go, “Man, if I had half of Billy’s cartoons, I’d be living on an island like Marlon Brando.”
Camp: I used to live in North Hollywood, and I would go shopping at this fancy supermarket in Glendale. Fancy supermarket, I can’t remember the name… But you’d see celebrities in there.
So, I’m pushing my cart. I look in front of me, and I see a big fat old man pushing a cart real slow. I look at him from the back, and I know instantly, it’s Jonathan Winters. I could just tell by the shape of him. He’s hunched over, and he’s kind of barely moving, and he’s putting stuff in his cart. He’s moving along, while I’m buying Pampers, car parts, I don’t know what I’m doing but I’m following him, just so …
Lowe: For your children, hopefully…
Camp: Yeah, so… Because, I think I made them fix my car.
Lowe: You weren’t buying the adult version…?
Camp: I end up in line behind him, right? Jonathan Winters, funniest human that ever lived. Really the funniest human that I ever lived.
He’s in line, in front of me, and he’s kind of hunched over like this, and looking down. I’m watching and he looks like he’s frozen up, in pain and everything, but his eyes are darting around, really sharp. So, he’s not missing anything, and I’m just soaking in, every minute of it.
The girl who’s bagging his groceries is staring at him. She’s putting his stuff in, and he notices she’s staring at him. She says, “Say, wait a minute, aren’t you… Aren’t you…?” And he says, “If you say Dom DeLuise, I’ll kill you.” [chuckle] Isn’t that great. It’s the best line ever.
So, I picked up and I said, “My dear, this is Jonathan Winters.” He looks around at me like that, you know, with the eyes. Looks around at me, and I said, “He’s the funniest man that ever lived. And in the movie, It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, he destroyed an entire gas station with his bare hands.”
And he went, “Yes, I did. Ha!” And he grabbed his groceries, and he went away. He was so happy and jouncy and, stuff. I made Jonathan Winters’ day. I got to… Yeah, I didn’t get to meet him or anything but that was fun.
Lowe: But sure, you did.
Camp: I did. I got to tell a story about him destroying the gas station.
Lowe: We got nothing like that in Florida. Every time anything hip happens… I live in Lakeland, which is, if you’re an Edward Scissorhands fan…
Background speaker: Who isn’t?
Lowe: Well, we’ve got the shopping center where they shot it, and that big giant orange arch is not a fake. And in the middle of the store, there’s like this little mall, and that’s the shop where the beautiful woman seduces, or tries to seduce Edward.
The only time anything cool ever happens in Lakeland is when a film crew comes through. And they totally take for granted what I do. Publix is there, one of the biggest grocery chains in the world. I can’t get a public spot because they think I’m too weird, and everything they do is super sugary and nice, and thanks giving, and honest to God they make you cry.
They’ll hire really, really talented screen actors’ guild actors, and then it’s like the mom sitting there, and like go, “Hmm, nobody finished my sweet pea casserole.’ And then the son comes back, and he’s got like car trouble and weighs 800 lbs. The son single handedly eats the entire sweet pea casserole by himself, has a heart attack and dies. And that’s the Publix’s commercial.
Alex: Well done.
Lowe: I’ll shut up now.
Alex: Very well done.
Lowe: Here Bob, tell us more.
Alex: Had you watched the older 1960s Space Ghost cartoons before that?
Lowe: Love it. Love it.
Alex: You’re a fan of that.
Alex: Oh, that’s cool. Yeah.
Lowe: We channeled him. The episode, I don’t know if it’s still out on YouTube or Hulu, or wherever. But it’s called Warren, and we channel the original Gary with a talking plant, named Warren. The plant was played by Coronel Bruce Hampton, great southern rocker sling blade. It doesn’t get any weirder. We’re all holding hands and like, “Yah all join hands, and prepare to summon the spirit of Gary.”
And I’m holding hands with Zorak, and Clay, they’re going, “Gary… Gary…” and Moltar, “Gary… Gary…” And I’m over there, “Gary… Gary…” and the set starts popping, and this vibrating hedge that we had. Which I guess was our tip in the hat to the fine folks of Python. We had a little hedge in a pot. That was Warren.
Lowe: Gary pops in, “Well, in 1966… Mr. Barbera and Mr. Hannah, invited me to be the voice of Space Ghost. What an honor. What a wonderful, wonderful time it was.” And I’m sitting there like, “Hey, hey, I’m Space Ghost.” Then he goes, “No. No, I’m Space Ghost.” Back and forth, we do the, “I’m Space Ghost.” … “No, I’m Space Ghost.” … “No, I’m Space Ghost.”
We got into this whole thing, so that was… I didn’t get to meet him, and I was heartbroken. I was just absolutely heartbroken. The biggest influence that I had, that I actually got to talk to when I was coming up, was Don Pardo.
Alex: Oh, yeah.
Lowe: Like every other idiot in the universe, I said, “Hey Don,” we’re just talking, you sound like a regular guy. I said, “You don’t sound like you.” How many times have you heard this? Don’s answer for, “You don’t sound like you”, is the best answer I ever heard from anybody in my life. He goes, “Well George, that’s because I’m not using my money voice!”
Lowe: Just right in to it, and it took off like a Lear jet.
Camp: I got a story like that… So, has anybody seen the cartoon that we made, called Jerry the Bellybutton Elf? Jerry the Bellybutton Elf… It’s Stimpy’s playing with his bellybutton too much. He’s playing with it, and playing with it, and Ren’s like, “You better quit. Something bad is going to happen. You better leave it alone. Quit playing with it.”
He’s going, “Oh Ren, look… “He’s sharpening pencils in and everything. And he’s up all night, he’s starting to hallucinate, and the bellybutton turns in and out and says, “Come inside my world,” and it’s Gilbert Gottfried. I hired Gilbert Gottfried to do the voice because, I thought, I wanted it to sound like Jerry Lewis, and it has to be Gilbert Gottfried, right?
I’m really excited. I got my cowboy tie on, and I’m like the only one in the studio, and I walk in, there’s this little tiny kind of brown guy getting water out of the water fountain. And I’m looking at him, I’m thinking, “Could that be Gilbert?” But it doesn’t really look like him, and I don’t remember him being that tan. I’m thinking, is it? So, I say, “Gilbert? Gilbert, is that you?”
He goes, “Oh. Oh. Hi. Hello.” He sounded like Mickey Mouse, right. I’m like, “Yeah. Yeah, hi, how’s it going Gilbert?” … “Oh, I’m fine. Ha. I’m really happy to be here. [chuckle]” And I said, “What in the hell us wrong with your voice?”
He said, “Why? You want me to talk like this?” I said, “Please, because you’re scaring me. You’re going to scare the other people. You got to… Please, no more “. So, he talked like that for the rest of the day. But no wonder he talks like that… He sounds like Mickey Mouse.
I guess, a lot of guys like Bobcat Goldthwait, he was nervous. And so that weird voice he did was an affectation to cover the nervousness.
Alex: Oh, okay.
Lowe: We had Bobcat; I think, Bobcat was three times. We had, I know Merrill Markoe, who used to be Letterman’s girlfriend and head writer. I didn’t realize Merrill Markoe went all the way back to KRP…
Lowe: In Cincinnati. Yeah, she was like the story supervisor or something.
Camp: That was a great show.
Lowe: Oh, wasn’t it terrific.
Camp: There were so many good comedies then.
Lowe: So good. So good. But yeah, that’s all I had to say about that.
Alex: Can you tell everyone, the voices you’ve done, of characters after Space Ghost?
Lowe: Well, it’s funny because with me, I would go in, and I would prepare other voices. It got where my regular thing was so popular at the networks. They’d say, “We want you to be a mall security guy on Aqua Teen. So I’d go in and I’d have this old Clint Eastwood thing ready to go, “Say you punks, get away from the golden pretzel over there. Get going. Go buy something or get out of the mall.”
And they’re like, “No, just be you.” So, every time, it was always, “Hey, you kids get away from the golden pretzel, and get out of the mall or buy something.”
Camp: The thing is, you and Billy have a lot in common because you both come out of radio, and you both do announcer voices. But when he does announcer voice, he’s doing somebody. He’s doing somebody specific like, “Oh, baseball announcer, a spitting…” And you know. You could go on, “Who’s he doing now?” I don’t always know.
Lowe: Well, Skip Caray, they asked me to do one on… that would have been my second character, Maurice got me. Maurice gets everybody. But Maurice nailed me, the drunk sports guy. I gave him, I want to do kind of a grump Skip Caray from the Atlanta Braves. “Here comes the young man from Houston, a wonderful new pick out of Philadelphia. The last season, he moved all the way up to the top ranks for the rookies.”
They’re like, “No, what else do you have?” So, I gave them kind of the NFL Films guy, on 4th and ten, “Here comes the young quarterback from Sebring, Florida. Slight hair lipped, a little bit of a loose colon. Kind of a wild man on the field. Don’t hit him too hard or he’s going to have lunch come out.”
“No. What else do you have?” I’m like, “What am I, a jukebox?” … You know, you just start…
Camp: Yeah, we get that with Billy a lot. He’d come in and do whole shows. He’d do 10 voices. There were like these rates, like he could do up to three voices for so much, and then up to five voices for another amount. But I’ll tell you what, that guy makes bank. You know, he’s the red M&M, and the money he makes doing one rhyme of the red M&M, you could buy a house with. Seriously. He’s bringing in the big money. “
Lowe: What’s going on with the microphone?… I’m trying to pay for my house. So be sure to come by and buy lots of craps.
Camp: [chuckle] So, what are you working on now, George? What are you going to do right now?
Lowe: I’m working on, Bob, thinking of something that he can hire my ass to do.
Camp: Oh, okay. Well, that’s great… that’s good to know. I’m working on Sponge Bob doing character designs. I’m working for Genndy Tartakovsky. Anybody who knows who that guy is? He made the little thing called Dexter’s Lab and Samurai Jack and…
Lowe: Power Puff?
Camp: And the Clone Wars: The Animated Series. And he made all the Hotel Transylvania movies.
Lowe: I got nothing. I’m waiting for that rectal cream commercial to come.
You know, “Now Ted, can face the day feeling confident. Thanks to…” Don’t they have the worst names for that stuff?
Camp: They do.
Lowe: “Thanks to, new improved, Ahsohappy.” Spelled, A-h-s-o-happy.
“Ahsohappy, not taking the ah…” [crosstalk]
Camp: Okay, I’m going to tell one more story. And I tell this one a lot. You’ll see the connections.
Jack Carter did this character called Wilbur Cobb, and we did a cartoon called Prehistoric Stimpy, where they go to the museum. They meet Wilbur Cobb, and they think he’s a tour guide, but he’s a lonely bone polisher, but they don’t know that. Yeah.
And so, he’s telling Ren and Stimpy why the dinosaurs went extinct. He goes, “Oh. No. They ran with scissors… No, they went swimming a half hour, after they ate… No, I’ll tell you what killed the dinosaurs, it was jock itch. Really bad jock-itch.”
Camp: Well then it was Jack Carter, right? So, the network said, “Now, you can’t say jock itch.” And I’m like, “No, no, you can’t. You got to say jock itch. There’s ads for it on TV all day. It’s not a problem.” They said, “No, you can’t say that.” So, I said, “Okay, I’ll come up with something. I’ll call you back.
I think a while, and I call them back. I said, “Yeah, I got a new line.” They said, “What is it?” I said, “Can we say hemorrhoids?” And they said, “Yes.” They said yes… I call Jack Carter and I said, “Jack, this is a high point in your career. You better get over here right now. This is big. This is big, Jack. Come over.”
So, he came over, and the way he delivered the line was like, he said, “Oh, I’ll tell you what killed the dinosaurs, it was… hemorrrrhoidsssss! Really bad hemorrhoids!” And they ran it on TV, on Nickelodeon. And that’s some…
It is. It’s a worthy day. But I think it got cut out, eventually. They cut up everything now.
Lowe: Cut out?… A hemorrhoidectomy.
Alex: On behalf of the Dallas Fantasy Fair, thank you so much, Bob Camp, George Lowe. It was an absolute pleasure.
Lowe: Thank you, Alex. Thank you, ladies and gentlemen for coming to our little whacky panel.
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