Gary Owens On The Air 1959 – (RIP: Gary Owens – 1934-2015) – Past Daily Reference Room: Tribute Edition

Disc Jockey Gary Owens in 1959 - with future Rolling Stone Founder Ben Fong Torres.
Disc Jockey Gary Owens in 1959 – with future Rolling Stone Founder Ben Fong Torres.

. . . or click on the link here for Audio Player – KEWB – Gary Owens – Sept. 1959 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection

I can tell 2015 is shaping up to being as filled with just as many passings of legends, icons and old favorites as it was last year. Today, it’s hearing the sad news of the passing of Los Angeles Radio legend (and TV personality for the rest of the country) Gary Owens, who left us earlier today at age 80.

A fixture in Los Angeles since the early 1960s, Gary Owens is probably known best to the rest of the country as the announcer on the TV series Laugh-In in the late 1960s. But his voice was heard daily on the airwaves in Los Angeles as one of the most popular disc jockey’s in the country. First at KFWB and then to KMPC until the 1980s when he did a stint at KFI.

He was an integral part of radio during the high-personality days; when the music was almost secondary to the voice and comic insanity behind the microphone. And the voice behind the microphone became part of the ritual of growing up on the West Coast.

By way of tribute, here is a sample of what he was like during his stint in the Bay Area in September 1959 at sister-station KEWB in Oakland. This is what is known as a “scoped aircheck” in that the music is cut down, allowing the disc jockey to be the center of attention, for audition purposes.

Gary Owens was a unique, one-of-a-kind personality who was as much a fixture in the day-to-day life of a city as the weather. He was the master of comic-deadpan and his delivery was impeccable.

He was one-of-a-kind, he will always be remembered and he will be missed.

I will play a longer example of his work in the coming weeks.

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