Marvin Kaplan, the comic character actor perhaps best known as diner denizen Henry the telephone repairman on the long-running CBS sitcom Alice, died Thursday. He was 89. …
(Click on the link below to read more about Kaplan’s storied career on the Hollywood Reporter website)
Marvin Kaplan recently guested on Gilbert Gottfried’s Amazing Colossal Podcast, hosted by Gilbert Gottfried and Frank Santopadre. The interview, uploaded on 27 June 2016, made for a fun, entertaining and informative episode. Kaplan, whose distinctive voice is familiar to millions of TV and movie fans, got his start in the 1949 film Adam’s Rib, starring Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn. Kaplan had an uncredited role as a court stenographer; he can be seen in the video below, taking notes at his desk in front of the judge:
Baby boomers who were kids during the early 1960s will remember Kaplan as the voice of Choo-Choo (the pink cat) in the animated TV series Top Cat, which ran for 30 episodes from September 1961 to April 1962. His character is featured prominently in episode #11, “Choo-Choo’s Romance,” shown in the video below. Other voices include Arnold Stang as the titular character (whose close friends get to call him T.C.), Maurice Gosfield as Benny the Ball (the blue cat), Leo De Lyon* as Brain and Spook, John Stephenson as Fancy-Fancy (and as Pierre in this episode), and Allen Jenkins as the perpetually party-pooping Officer Dibble. Jean Vander Pyl took time out from her role as Wilma in The Flintstones to provide the voice for Choo-Choo’s paramour, Goldie.
*Speaking of Leo De Lyon—here he is in the flesh, hosting this cool documentary about the making of Top Cat:
In 1963, Kaplan joined his former Top Cat alum Arnold Stang as part of a cast of (almost literally) thousands in It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. Check out the 2012 video below in which Kaplan is interviewed about the film by then-14-year-old Price T. Morgan for DubyaCast, a fan-made documentary web series.
Upon hearing of Kaplan’s passing, Morgan posted this nice tribute on Facebook:
From 1977 until the series ended in 1985, Kaplan portrayed Henry Beesmeyer in the TV sitcom Alice. He also found time to appear in commercials, such as this one for Sun Giant Raisins in 1980:
Kaplan shares anecdotes about It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science’s The Last 70mm Film Festival at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in 2012 (that’s Jonathan Winters seated next to him):
Marvin Kaplan: 24 January 1927 – 25 August 2016
Marvin Kaplan’s page on Wikipedia
Thanks for the laughs, Choo-Choo.