The Animated Series Mastered The Art Of The Special Guest Star

As the interview continued, Timm name-dropped two actors. One was Bob Hastings, who voiced Commissioner Gordon — Timm recalled Hastings’ time voicing Archie Andrews on NBC radio during the 1950s. That meant he was no stranger to voice acting or comic books. The other was René Auberjonois, a character actor who’d been in everything from “Super Friends” to Robert Altman movies. After “Batman,” he found renewed fame as Odo in “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.”

Auberjonois was one of the series’ first special guest stars: in the pilot, “On Leather Wings,” he voiced Dr. March, a red herring for the true identity of Man-Bat. The true Man-Bat was March’s son-in-law, Kirk Langstrom, played by “Beastmaster” star Marc Singer. Herein lies the importance of guest stars; the right actor can give a role personality that, on paper, it doesn’t have, and that’s what Auberjonois did for March.

Conroy name-dropped some of the voice specialists the show brought out. One was Rob Paulsen, who voiced one of the Penguin’s henchmen in “I’ve Got Batman in My Basement.” While “Batman” was airing, Paulsen was also working at Warner Bros. Animation on “The Animaniacs” and “Pinky and the Brain.” Conroy also mentions Frank Welker, the most prolific American voice actor whose roles run the gamut from Fred Jones to Megatron. Welker is a skilled animal impressionist and sure enough, he voiced Catwoman’s cat, Isis. On “Batman: The Animated Series,” no role was too small to bring out big guns for.

Timm also noted Tara Strong, the third and final voice of Batgirl. Since her work on “Batman,” Strong has become even more prolific. She’s even become the go-to voice for Bruce Timm’s crowing creation, Harley Quinn, since Arleen Sorkin’s retirement.

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