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Gary Owens is dead

Troels Pleimert

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So sad to hear. He seemed to be the consummate professional, king of the craft and all-around nice guy.  From Space Ghost, to Blue Falcon, to Laugh-in, to everything else (especially Space Quest) he had a measurable impact on my childhood. I worked in a toy department in a big box store during high school and would sign off on the PA during the crazy Christmas season with a “This is Gary Owens, signing off” when we would close. The parents seemed to get a kick out of it.


I’m sure I’m not the only one who has lots of his Space Quest lines seared into his brain. There have been times when I have responded sarcastically with an “Oh joy” whenever I get some bad news or project that is going to be a pain in the arse. Or think to myself “Don’t mess with it!” to a misbehaving appliance or vehicle …all brought to life from his talents. He will be missed.

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In case you missed it, Amayirot Akago put together a stellar video tribute to Gary Owens' work on Space Quest.




My own audio tribute isn't going so well. I had hoped more people would send in their thoughts, but, so far, only one person has. I'm going to see if any of the Two Guys or the Pope would have something to say, although I realize it may be a bit touchy so soon.

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Poor Gary,

I heard this news the day after it had occurred. Just didn't really know what to say or do about it.

We can take solace in that it seems he led a very full and wholesome life. Definitely will be sorely missed.

I'm feeling more anxious to play SpaceVenture now just so I can hear his most recent voice-acting that he'd done before his passing away, and when I play Space Quest 6 now on my 486, I feel sad knowing he won't be around to do anymore.

Rest in Peace.

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I don't know what I can say that hasn't already been said, but I figure I might as well say my piece as well:


Even though I was never that familiar with the majority of Gary Owens' work, what little I have learned about him over the years really made me feel even more amazed by him. His presence in SQ series transformed great writing into spectacular dialog, and I'm sure I'm not the only one who saw him as one of *the* defining traits of the series, despite only being in 1/3 of the games.


I'll always consider myself lucky to have seen him and several other notable actors in a show called the Retro Radio Revue in 2004, wherein he was the narrator for several old time radio plays. At one point during the performance of an episode of The Lone Ranger, he began a scene with "Meanwhile, in another part of town...the announcer for The Lone Ranger lost his place."


He was a remarkable person, and he will be missed.

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  • 2 months later...

Very sorry about Gary Owens.


Please don't try and get some celebrity to replace him just because you think you have to. Find the right voice, whether it's from a well-known person or not.


Please don't overdo the "sarcastic" delivery. A big, sarcastic personality could wear thin quickly and kill the whole experience.

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I heard about this shortly after it happened as well, and like everyone else here, I was completely crushed.

Gary's voice held such a deep, palpable sense of nostalgia for me, as it did for all the other SQ fans who cared nerdishly deeply about the Wilco universe.  I can't help but ponder, though, if it wasn't something more than just his voice being connected to the game that was the magical thing about it for me personally.  Honestly, and this sounds cheesy as hell, but I think it is true:  the man's voice seems almost to invoke nostalgia in general.  It has such a cult classical cultural resonance that the feeling of nostalgia is conjured abstractly and with no underlying memory necessary.  In fact, I distinctly remember hearing his voice for the first time in SQ when I was a teenager and feeling nostalgia even then... about the game I was playing for the first time.  

What I'm trying to say is... well...  the man was a paradoxical space-time-wizard-scion-messiah from the future-parallela-past, and the number of those type of folk is limited to 1.  So no, replacing him isn't really possibly.  Honestly, my personal opinion is that, in light of his passing, the best way to go about it would be not to try to recapture the magic.  Rather, to cast the relaunch with the semi-sorta-alternate-wilcoverse-but-not-really-but-sorta with an iconic voice that is of a completely different variety.  Let Gary be the omniscient Overvoice of the old timey temporal "feels" sorcery, and get someone with a completely different flavor to which we can make new nostalgic memories instead of trying to recapture the old.  Just one humble nerd's opinion.  

If you open up that door, the possibilities for hilarity are still pretty endless.  Heck, I could see enjoying the whole thing being narrated in a more "The Big Lebowski" style, even.

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  • 4 months later...

I still can't believe he's gone! Gary was a large inspiration for me to become the incredibly horrid vocal talent in denial y'all know and subconsiously adore! Him, and my personal friend Mo Sussman, who recently joined Gary at the snarker's club in the sky...look him up sometime...he had stories to tell, and that he found it worthwhile to know me and encourage me to entertain people during a dark time when I lost faith in myself, is one damn cool honor!

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