Thurl on Television
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Thurl's work for television began in the early 1950s and continued until his death in 2005. He is, of course, remembered as the voice of Tony the Tiger from countless television commercials for Kellogg's Frosted Flakes, but he also sang on numerous TV theme songs and even occasionally made on-screen appearances, including spending three years as a regular performer on Johnny Mann's Stand Up and Cheer in the early 1970s. For details about Tony the Tiger along with other ads Thurl recorded, see the Commercials page. Thurl and the Mellomen contributed a lot to Walt Disney's television projects, the details of which are given on the Disney Television page.
Television Theme Songs
The Sportsmen recorded the theme song for the Hopalong Cassidy films in the 1930s and when William Boyd brought Hopalong Cassidy (0:56) to television in 1948, he used the original theme by the Sportsmen for the his TV show.
The Mellomen sang several western themes in the 1950s, of which Cheyenne (1:10), and Bronco (1:12) are good examples. They also sang for, but did not appear in, an episode of Wagon Train called "The Annie MacGregor Story" which aired February 5, 1958.
The Randy Van Horne Singers sang the themes for The Flintstones, Huckleberry Hound, The Jetsons, Magilla Gorilla, and Yogi Bear. They also sang regularly on The Nat King Cole Show in 1957.
All-Star Revue (1952)
Shower of Stars (1955)
Thurl appears several times on the show as various characters from an opera singers to a baseball player. He even sings on Ms. Piazza's rendition of "Dance with Me Henry". Interestingly, Georgia Gibbs' version, which also featured Thurl, reached #1 on the Billboard charts that week. Max Smith also appeared on the show with Thurl.
The Jack Benny Program (1956)
Lawrence Welk's Top Tunes and New Talent (1956).
The Mellomen appeared on Lawrence Welk's Christmas Eve show on December 24, 1956. They performed the Christmas carol "Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella" and then were joined by Lawrence Welk regular, Larry Hooper to sing "Jingle Polka" (1:24). Thurl and Larry take turns each singing a line of the verse and are joined by the Mellomen on the chorus.
The Mellomen were guests on Lawrence's show again in 1959.
In the episode "A Permanent Juliet" from October 23, 1958, a traveling acting company is passing through town and the Mellomen provide a musical act before the play. They sing "Nellie Bly" and also appear in a scene backstage where Sally (Jennifer West) is auditioning for the part of Juliet. She is hoping to fill in for Diana (Mary Beth Hodges) who has left the company over a dispute with the leader of the show Mr. Harris (John Holland). During this scene, Thurl even recites a line from Romeo & Juliet as he helps Sally remember her next line, which seems to amuse him and the other Mellomen.
Lawrence Welk's Plymouth Show (1959)
The quartet appeared on Lawrence Welk's Plymouth Show on February 4, 1959. Lawrence had Thurl introduce the group, and they sang the songs "Wilhelmina" (2:44) and "Nellie Bly".
The Mellomen had worked with Lawrence Welk on several records and had appeared on his show a few years earlier. The Mellomen were promoting their Disneyland record Meet Me Down on Main Street and Lawrence mentions it in his introduction for the song "Nellie Bly".
The Roy Rogers & Dale Evans Show (1962)
The Danny Kaye Show (1965)
He was featured on The Danny Kaye Show on February
17, 1965. Thurl and Loulie Jean Norman joined Danny Kaye to sing "Three
Part Invention" (3:46). The piece was devised by the show's
choral director Earl Brown. Loulie, Thurl, and Danny sang it again six
weeks later on March 31, 1965. This time the song was called "Three
Part Invention, the second time around".
Stand Up and Cheer (1971-1973)
As a member of the Johnny Mann Singers since the early 1960s, Thurl was asked to be the join the 17 young men and women and that made up Johnny's group for the television show. Johnny gave Thurl the nickname "Pappy" as the senior member of the group. Variety referred to them as a "mixed choir of bright young faces (and one old pro, Thurl Ravenscroft)".
In the 1970s, Thurl was a frequent soloist on Robert Schuller's Hour of Power broadcast from the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California. These appearances led to Thurl providing the narration for the annual Glory of Christmas (2:26) pageant, from its beginning in 1981.
Thurl also made an appearance on The Maury Povich Show in the mid 1990s. Along with him were several other voice actors including Don Messick and Jean Vander Pyl.
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