When Lion-O Speaks: An Interview with Larry Kenney
Larry was not only kind enough to call us recently, he also allowed me the chance to interview him. Sharing his personal thoughts on both Thundercats and voice acting.. I give you when Lion-O Speaks.
Screamers: Like Transformers ‘Optimus Prime’ and Masters Of The Universe ‘He-man’.. Larry, Lion-O has become an eighties icon. Had you ever though that Lion-O would still be so well known and loved twenty+ years later after the original cartoon had aired?
Larry: Had someone told me 20 years ago that THUNDERCATS and LION-O would become icons of the 80′s I’d probably have laughed and thought them crazy. There was no way then to foresee that our work would have such enduring popularity.
Screamers: What we’re your thoughts on the Lord Of The Thundercats. Did you like the character personally and did you enjoy playing the part?
Larry: At the first audition for the show I was asked which characters I would like to read for, and I was immediately drawn to LION-O. Partly, I’m sure, because he was the “star,” the lead character. More importantly, I liked his vulnerability … he was a very young man thrust into a position that required him to mature and learn quickly.
Screamers: Do you own a figure of Lion-O?
Larry: Sadly, no. Over the years, I gave all my action figures to my kids, neices, nephews, and family friends. I’m glad they have them.
Screamers: I’ve heard the Thundercat ‘Out Takes’ before, but can you tell fans a little bit about your work with fellow cast members: Lynne Lipton, Peter Newman, Earle Hyman, Earl Hammond and Bob McFadden. What it was like working with the cast for so many episodes?
Larry: Working with that cast of incredible actors is my favorite memory of producing THUNDERCATS, and the greatest experience of my career. We worked on T-CATS for nearly 3 years, then produced SILVERHAWKS, TIGER SHARKS, and other series and specials. Over the years, we became a family, and I’ll always cherish that.
Screamers: Speaking of cartoons produced by Rankin-Bass, how were you first introduced to the company and to cartoon voice over work?
Larry: I grew up watching classic Rankin-Bass Christmas Specials like “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” and “Frosty the Snowman” so I was very familiar with their work. My introduction to cartoon voice over work was in 1978, when I began providing the voices of Count Chocula and Sonny, the Cocoa Puffs Bird on TV commercials.
Screamers: What first inspired you to be a voice actor and radio personality?
Larry: In the 11th grade I took a Radio course and appeared daily on a 10-minute program that was broadcast by the radio station in my home town of Pekin, Illinois. At the end of the show, I knew what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
Screamers: Having done so many different characters, do you have a favorite?
Larry: LION-O, by far.
Screamers: What are your thoughts on the new Thundercat cartoon and playing the part of Lion-O’s father this time?
Larry: The new series, I think, will be every bit as good as the original. The scripts are fantastic, the animation is incredible, and the actors very talented. I’m delighted and honored to be portraying Claudus.
Screamers: Had you requested the part of Lion-O’s father?
Larry: I didn’t even know there was a new series in the works until my agent told me Warner Brothers had offered me the role.
Screamers: Can you share with the fans some of the up coming story plot?
Larry: Sorry, my contract with the studio prohibits me from giving any details.
Screamers: Can you give us a little insight on some of the voice actors you’ve worked with in this new cartoon?
Larry: Actually, I haven’t met or worked with them. I was alone in the studio when I my lines.
Screamers: What has fan reaction been like, just knowing you’ll be a part of this new cartoon?
Larry: Very heartwarming. As news of the series spreads, I receive more and more Emails from the wonderful fans of the original …they couldn’t be happier!
Look For Larry Kenney At Zoloween October 2nd
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