As a radio/TV enthusiast, I was saddened to hear that longtime NBC and WNBC-TV announcer Don Pardo died yesterday at the age of 96. I trust that everyone knew that he was the voice of Saturday Night Live for all but one of its 39 seasons, but he was so much more than that. He started with NBC as a reporter in 1944, and got his break in TV in 1956 (the year I made my debut).
The article I linked above has several examples of his work: announcing an episode of the original Jeopardy! with Art Fleming; his bulletins on November 22, 1963, the day President Kennedy was shot; and some of his work on Saturday Night Live. He retired in 2004, but was such a fixture on SNL that he would come in once a week from his home in Arizona to do the show.
That’s dedication. That’s a professional. And that’s a man who loved his job.
YouTube has lots of examples of his work (as well as interviews with him and a few people trying to imitate his voice), but I wanted to feature a couple of clips. First is a public service announcement (PSA) for CONELRAD, the precursor to the Emergency Broadcast System and Emergency Alert System.
And here is a 1980 signoff from WNBC-TV in New York. Don is doing the late news wrap-up at the beginning of the clip, and later does a station ID. Unfortunately, he doesn’t do the signoff itself.
Thanks for the memories, Don, and may you rest in peace.