Scatman Crothers

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Benjamin Sherman "Scatman" Crothers (May 23, 1910 – November 22, 1986) was an American actor, singer, dancer and musician known for his work as Louie the Garbage Man on the TV show Chico and the Man, and as Dick Hallorann in The Shining in 1980. He was also a prolific voiceover artist, and provided the voices of Meadowlark Lemon in the animated TV version of The Harlem Globetrotters, Jazz the Autobot in The Transformers, the title character in Hong Kong Phooey, and Scat Cat in the 1970 film The Aristocats.

Contents

Early life

Crothers was born in Terre Haute, Indiana. He got the name Scatman when he auditioned for a radio show in 1932 at the former WSMK (now WING) in Dayton, Ohio. The director didn't think his given name was catchy enough, so Crothers quickly concocted the handle Scat Man, although this talent, scat singing, would later develop. He continued to enjoy this talent throughout his career, even teaching scat singing to college students. Later, the nickname was condensed to Scatman by Arthur Godfrey.

Career

Crothers started his musical career as a 15-year-old drummer in a speakeasy band in his home town of Terre Haute. He played a variety of instruments, including drums and guitar, on jazz club band circuits in his early days as an entertainer. Among the people he performed for was notorious gangster, Al Capone. Crothers formed his own band in the 1930s and traveled to California with the band in 1948.

Film

Crothers made his official debut in the movie Meet Me at the Fair (1953). He worked in both the movies and television, often taking bit parts. He also made musical shorts and played drums with Slim Gaillard in the mid 1940s. Good friends with Jack Nicholson, he appeared in four of his films: The King of Marvin Gardens (1972), The Fortune (1975), One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975), and The Shining (1980). His later film appearances included the role of a wizened fable-telling convict in the extremely controversial Ralph Bakshi animated film Coonskin (1975), as a train conductor in Silver Streak (1976), as a liveryman in The Shootist (1976), as a ringmaster of a struggling wild west show in Bronco Billy (1980), the Baseball coach and school teacher in Zapped (1982), an angel in Two of a Kind (1983) and finally Mr. Bloom (or Blum), a magician in the guise of an old man in the "Kick the Can" segment of Twilight Zone: The Movie.

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