Toonarific Interview – Lou Richards

Originally posted: 4-26-2000

The voice of Leader 1 from “GoBots” and Galtar from “Galtar and the Golden Lance”.

Oddly enough, we were contacted by Lou’s son who was trying to find a figure of Leader 1 for his father for Father’s Day. What a surprise it was! We got Lou’s email address and requested an interview about his career. He gladly accepted and here we are…ad interview with the great Lou Richards. The voice of Leader 1, Galtar, Flash Gordon, and countless live action series. He is a man of many talents, and a great person to chat with. Below is our interview that we conducted with him.

What were you like growing up and where did you grow up?
Pretty much a normal kid growing up, I guess. I was a military brat so we never stayed in one place very long. High school in New Jersey and Maine, grade school in Hawaii, Alabama and California.
What was your favorite cartoon while you were growing up?
My favorite cartoons were “Rocky and Bullwinkle,” “Top Cat” and “The Flintstones.”
When did you start working in the entertainment business and what was your first job?
My first job in the entertainment business was at KLBK Radio in Lubbock, Texas. My first television job was an episode of “Hawaii Five-0.” I was a DJ at KKUA in Honolulu at the time. I played the part of a hotel desk clerk. Much to my surprise, I didn’t get nominated for an emmy.
After doing a little research into your career, I noticed that you did guest work on shows like “Chips”, “Alice”, “WKRP in Cincinnati”, and “Dukes of Hazard”. I grew up watching those shows, and would like to know what it was like working in popluar shows like those. What was your favorite? What actors/ actresses were the best to work with?
I certainly enjoyed guesting on “WKRP.” Why? Loni Anderson. Need I say more?
How did you get started doing cartoon voices?
Just the usual audition process. The casting director lets the agents know what they are looking for in the way of characters and voice types. I just happened to get called in to audition and lucked out and got the job. Pretty basic.
Was “Challenge of the GoBots” the first cartoon that you worked on, or was their anything done before that?
The Gobots was the first.
Did protecting the whole world from the threat of annihilation as Leader 1 go to your head?
I don’t think so, although the President does call me occasionally at home for advice on world affairs. When you’ve saved the world 65 times from destruction, it’s difficult to keep a low profile.
What was it like be the voice of Leader 1, the main character for one of the most popular cartoon series of the 80s and the huge cult following it has today?
I don’t think we were that popular. We got canceled after one season. To be honest, I didn’t know it enjoyed a cult following today. Nobody ever told me.
How was your voice made electronic-sounding as Leader 1?
I have no idea, I never asked.
You were also Galtar from “Galtar and the Golden Lance”. It was another of my all-time favorites. What was it like working on such a great Hanna Barbera show like this?
Leader 1 could fly but in Galtar, I had a golden lance!
In “Defenders of the Earth”, you were Flash Gordon. Very cool. I watched that one all the time, too. Did you enjoy voicing one of the best cartoon characters of all time?
I loved doing the voice of Flash Gordon, although I think he sounded just like Galtar and Leader 1.
Being that Flash Gordon has been such a powerful character in comics and animation, did you feel that you had to live up to an image he presents?
He wore red tights, so I felt okay with it.
From the various cartoons you’ve worked on, are there any great memories that you have?
The highlight was working with Frank Welker. He is one talented voice-over actor.
Do you have any future productions that you are working on?
I have a recurring role on “The Amanda Show” on Nick. It’s a sketch comedy show for kids. They occasinally need a goofy dad and I guess I fit the bill.
Out of all of the shows you’ve worked on, what was your favorite and why?
“Gloria,” We had a wonderful time. Sally Struthers was great and I loved the character I played. The writers gave me a lot of laugh lines.
Who did you enjoy working with the most?
George Wyner, co-star of “She’s the Sheriff.” We had a lot of laughs on the set.
Besides television, you’ve also done radio. You worked in Hawaii, Texas, and LA on various stations. What type of radio was it and do you have any fond memories from doing that?
It was all Top 40 radio, playing the hits! My fondest memories are from KKUA in Honolulu. I was young, I was on in the evenings at the number one station in Hawaii and I still had lots of hair! They were great days.
Being that this is a mandatory question, how many degrees of seperation are there between you and Kevin Bacon?
Just one. Early in his career, Kevin briefly dated Crasher.
What an amazing man. Bet you didn’t know alot of that stuff about him. But, now you know he is a regular on “The Amanda Show”, so make sure you check it out and see the man behind the voice.