FORT WORTH (CBS11) – For those of us who lived in the DFW area in the early 1960’s, you would remember a radio disc jockey who became a television actor and voice artist: Ted Cassidy.
Born in Pittsburgh in 1932, he and his wife moved to Dallas shortly after they married in 1956. Cassidy was hired as a midday disc jockey on WFAA Radio (that was during the time that it and WBAP would swap frequencies with each other on 570 and 820 every few hours!). His radio show was a hit. He was later cast as an outer space creature named “Creech” on WFAA-TV’s “Dialing For Dollars” weekday afternoon movies hosted by Ed Hogan. But he also reported live on the JFK assassination on WFAA Radio being one of the first reporters to interview key eyewitnesses.
In early 1964, Cassidy told his DFW radio and TV audience that he would be leaving WFAA Radio and Television to co-star in a new sit-com for the ABC Television Network, “The Addams Family.” With his tremendous height (6’9”) and his deep, resonant voice, he was perfect for the part of “Lurch,” the butler in the tuxedo for the Addams. He also played “Thing,” a hand that would pop out of a box and scare the heck out of visitors! The show ran for two years on ABC, Fridays at 7:30 p.m. Cassidy became famous for the line “You rang?” and that stuck!
There was also an animated version of the show that ran on NBC from 1973-1975 and Cassidy provided voice talent for that series. He appeared in numerous network TV shows as a guest star but hit the big time again in 1977 as the narrator in CBS’s The Incredible Hulk. He was also an accomplished musician and in 1965 helped launch the song and dance called “The Lurch” on the syndicated dance show Shivaree, hosted by Los Angeles disc jockey Gene Weed. He appeared later in October 1965 on ABC’s Shindig performing the song along with Boris Karloff performing “The Monster Mash.”
In 1979, Cassidy underwent surgery for a non-malignant tumor but as he was recuperating, developed complications and had to be readmitted. He passed away at age 46 on January 16, 1979. Even though The Incredible Hulk ran for a few years after his death, his off screen narration was retained by the producers throughout its network run. He was cremated and buried in the backyard of his Woodland Hills home in Los Angeles but to this day, the actual location remains unknown.
And now, let’s do “The Lurch!”