Joel Crager started at ABC in 1952
and over the decades did network newscasts, local newscasts
for WABC AM and FM and even hosted a talk show on WABC-FM!
Scott Benjamin interviewed him for
this web site on March 8 2006.
Crager talks in his deep, rich pure voice, people have listened from the infant
days of television in the early 1950s up to his present work on CBS The Late Show
With David Letterman.
I dont think theres
ever been a busier voiceover guy than Joel, said Bill Owen, who worked with Joel as
an ABC staff announcer for several years.
He has been
the voice for the ABC Movie of the Week, Ivory Soap, Tylenol, Chef Boy- R-Dee, E.F.
Hutton, U.S. Health Care, and countless others clients.
be very lucrative, the Fort Lee, N.J., resident said of the voiceover work.
You might be able to do 15 spots in a two hour session.
He has the best pure voice and is
terrific at interpreting copy, Bill Owen said.
the copy once and get picture in my head of what the sponsor wants to say, Joel said
regarding his approach. Then I hear it in my head.
network television work came in 1950 when he was the announcer for Super Circus, which
featured Jerry Collona, who had worked with Bob Hope.
continued to the present day.
the voice work on the gag commercials and PSAs that Letterman does in fact I
just did two last week, Joel said during a Mar. 8, 2006 phone interview with
He also is
the voice these days for Met Life and other clients.
It seemed that Joels voice
was 10 octaves lower than everyone elses, former Musicradio77 WABC air
personality and ABC staff announcer Les Marshak said in trying to partly explain the
reason for Joels success. It is
so rich and pure.
Joel arrived at ABC in 1952 and over
the decades did network newscasts, local newscasts for WABC radio, both AM and FM, hosted
a talk show on WABC-FM and made guest appearances on the Patty Duke television show.
was an enormously talented young woman who was very focused in her work, Joel said
of Patty Duke, who played both the roles of Patty Lane and identical cousin Cathy Lane in
the network series that ran from 1963 to 1966.
Even though she was just 16 when
she started doing that show, she was already an accomplished actress from doing The
Miracle Worker on Broadway and in the movies, Joel said of Patty, who had become the
youngest person at that time to win an Academy Award.
His interest in becoming a radio
actor began at the All-City Radio Workshop as he was growing up in the New York City
borough of Brooklyn.
Joels older brother, Bob Crager,
had served with WORs Ted Brown in the Air Force and enticed him to help Joel land a
position while he was still in his teens as a summer relief announcer at WSLS in Roanoke,
By the early 1950s, he was the voice
for Super Circus and So You Want To Lead A Band, which featured orchestra leader Sammy
Former colleagues speak highly of Joel.
When I first arrived in New York
[in 1960], I was a Midwest guy who was bewildered, Bill Owen recalled. Joel
took me under his wing.
that one of his more interesting assignments was hosting a talk show at WABC-FM in the
somewhat of an introvert, he said. So doing the show was good, because it
forced me to talk to people.
He worked with other legends
including Fred Foy, who had been the staff announcer for The Lone Ranger radio show in the
1940s and 1950s and Milton Cross, who had been in radio since its early days decades
There was an aura about
him, Joel said of Milton, who he and some of the other ABC staff announcers
idolized. He had more charisma than any of the staff announcers.
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