Saturday, September 24, 2022

Walker Edmiston - The World of Sid & Marty Krofft

"I do many voices that I can't do and people ask me what I mean.  What I tell them is that I'll be hired to come in and do a voice and prior to going in I can't do it...somehow, I have this ear where I can hear a voice and reproduce it."

Walker Edmiston.  Not exactly a household name.  But if you're of a certain generation, you've undoubtedly heard his voice at some point during your formative years.

He was born in St. Louis, Missouri, on February 6, 1926.  He was interested in acting from a very early age, appearing in many high school productions. Upon graduation, he moved to California, where he studied acting at the famed Pasadena Playhouse.

In the 1950s, he began appearing on local Los Angeles television programs, beginning with Time for Beany, a puppet show produced for the children's hour (Beany was a seasick sea serpent).  Edmiston proved such a natural at voice-over work that station KTLA gave him his own series, the aptly titled Walker Edmiston Show.  It ran for 13 years and helped introduce him to a much larger audience.  During this same time, he often worked on the original Star Trek TV series, providing voice-over work on such episodes as "Return of the Archons," "A Taste of Armageddon," and "The Gamesters of Triskelion" (two quatloos on the newcomer!).

After his series came to a close, Edmiston was introduced to famed Puppeteers Sid and Marty Krofft, who were planning a new children's series for NBC.  H.R. Pufnstuf premiered in September 1969, forever changing Saturday morning TV.  A live-action series, many of the characters were either puppets or costumed human actors, for which Edmiston provided a number of voices.  Although fellow voice-over artist and friend Lennie Weinrib provided the voice of Pufnstuf himself, Edmiston voiced his associate Dr. Blinky (above) and Seymore, the, whatever it was.

This started a decades-long collaboration between Edmiston and the Kroffts.  He provided the main character's voice (as well as his entire family) on Sigmund and the Sea Monsters as well as Sparky the firefly on The BugaloosThe Krofft role he is probably best remembered for however, is that of Enik the Altrusian (left), both friend and antagonist to the Marshall Family on Land of the Lost.  Edmiston not only voiced the role, but he appeared on screen in the costume as well.

He continued acting throughout the 1970s and 80s, appearing on such shows as Adam-12, The Dukes of Hazzard, and Knots Landing.  He continued his voice work as well, speaking for many of the autobots and decepticons on the pop culture juggernaut The Transformers.

By the early 2000s, Edmiston was diagnosed with cancer and his health began to decline.  He passed away on February 15, 2007.  He was 81 years old.

Walker Edmiston was cremated.  His ashes were interred at famed Hollywood Forever Cemetery, in a very high alcove.  To give you some perspective, I'm 6'4".

Rest in peace, Enik.

  • Edmiston recorded the theme song for his show on vinyl.  To say that its kooky would be an understatement.  Give it a listen on YouTube.

  • Edmiston did a lot of the voice work in the 1977 film Smokey and the Bandit and can often be heard on the police CB.  Here's one such scene on YouTube (Edmiston comes in at the 1:20 mark).  He also provided the voice of the air traffic controller in the 1980 classic film Airplane!
  • Edmiston auditioned for the voice of Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back, a role that ultimately went to Frank Oz.

  • Edmiston recorded an interview as one of the bonus features on the Land of the Lost DVD set.  You can watch it in its entirety on YouTube.

  • Krofft fan Keir Neubauer acquired the original Enik costume in the early 2000s, by which point it had greatly deteriorated.  He commissioned Tom Spina Designs in New York to restore the costume to its original glory.  This blogger got to see the results of their work at the Chiller Theatre pop culture convention in 2017.

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