Don Pardo voiced the introductions of Saturday Night Live for 38 seasons. He began calling out the names of the S.N.L. cast members during the first episode in October, 1975, and (except for the 1981-82 season) he kept calling out those names straight through last May. Chevy Chase, Gilda Radner, John Belushi, Bill Murray, Eddie Murphy, Tina Fey — he called them all. Thanks to an impersonator, you can hear a compilation of Pardo’s call for every cast member.
Don Pardo died yesterday at 96 years of age. Earlier in his career, he was the announcer for a number of American TV shows, including The Price Is Right, Jackpot, and Jeopardy!. But his voice became part of the fabric of America’s greatest comedy show, Saturday Night Live. And he continued voicing the intro long after his formal retirement from NBC in 2004. Not lacking energy (watch him blow out his candles on his 90th birthday), Pardo flew from Tucson to New York weekly to get S.N.L. started. Above, we have a short video that features Pardo, then 88, showing off, his sheer linguistic awesomeness.
Somehow, I’m now hoping that whenever my day comes, Don Pardo’s voice will introduce me on the other side.