Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Actor Tim Matheson
Shares Memories Working
with Hanna-Barbera
A New Book Presented by
"Jonny Quest Speaks: 
Jonny, Sinbad Jr. & Me"
Written by Kevin Scott Collier

The voice of Jonny Quest, Sinbad Jr., Young Samson and Jace of Space Ghost. Mr. Matheson speaks about his youthful cartoon career at Hanna-Barbera and the experience he learned and people he met. The book is 60 pages, and retails for $8.95.

The Making of the Book
by Kristen Collier
Editor, and wife of the author

History is personal in the best of times. So, while I normally only edit Kevin’s books, this one is different, hence, the raison d'ĂȘtre for this preface.

I transcribed the following Tim Matheson quotes an hour after his interview, from 1 to 9pm. Eight hours for a 1 hour interview.

Why? In order to be historically accurate I wanted extreme fidelity to Tim’s words, and also wanted to be sure I did not accidentally transpose, or write, an incorrect word.

I couldn’t wait to hear what he had to say about Hanna-Barbera, in my mind, creators of the greatest cartoons the world has ever known (I love Squiddly Diddly so much, that not only has Kevin bought me a collector’s toy and the Secret Squirrel series, but years ago he even created a blue-ringed octopus character for me, for our kid’s show).

Of course, I love Tim’s work, especially in Burn Notice, but I just thought he was an “everyman” type. Boy, was I wrong. And quite surprised by what I learned of the man, the human being.

Because when I think of Hanna-Barbera, I think of a company.
When Tim thinks of Hanna-Barbera, he thinks of Bill and Joe.

That, to me, is mind-boggling.

Because, being 48, I do know that Disney was based on a person. I remember seeing Walt on TV, but cannot recall seeing any people from Hanna-Barbera.

So, to hear the following stories from Tim was just amazing as I carefully typed each word. I would stop and start each sentence again, and again, and again. Hence, was delighted to see that he is much more than what I realized.

The best history inspires hope and greatness, and his story is that, one of hope and greatness.

If I could sum up Tim Matheson from what I learned in a few words:

  1. A real class act, old school.
  2. Never had a bad word to say about anyone he worked with
  3. Loves deeply
  4. Highly intelligent
  5. Self-deprecating
  6. And deeper than what most realize.

In fact, as I was transcribing the interview, I started to think 2 things:

  1. That he is really hard on himself. I wanted to say, “But Tim, you did a GREAT job with the voices, don’t be so hard on yourself!”

And that,

  1. He went out of his way to only say positive, loving things about the people he’s worked with and known.

Why do I say this? Because as I spent all day transcribing the interview, and listening to each word, playing each sentence back and forth, again and again, I began to notice that he would often start a sentence, only to stop, and begin again. I’m embarrassed to say my first thought was, Boy, this guy is not too articulate for someone who makes a living speaking. But then I realized just how wrong I was - he was doing this because he was extremely careful to “put the best construction on everything,” is the only way I can describe it, in the way I learned it as a child, from the words of Martin Luther.

And it wasn’t due to a lack of brain power, because I actually had to look up at least one word (“sonorous”), and in the 7th grade I had a college sophomore vocab, so rarely come across new words. Tim also had a great reference to “Dover” you’ll read about that belies his “everyman” roles.

I can see why he was chosen to play Ronnie. I will never forget seeing Gorbachev at the president’s funeral, because he was like my dad, who knows someone everywhere he goes. After listening carefully to the words of Tim Matheson, I believe he is the same. Loved by everyone he knows.