|Olan Elbert Soulé
Birthplace: LaHarpe, Illinois, U.S.A.
1933 Chandu the Magician
1936 Sunset Village
1936 The Couple Next Door
1936 Bachelor's Children
1938 David Adams, Son Of the Sea
1938 Wayside Theater
1938 Curtain Time
1939 Jeff and Lucky (Audition)
1940 Fifth Row Center
1940 Chicago Theatre Of the Air
1943 Captain Midnight
1944 This Is the Story
1944 The First Nighter Program
1944 Author's Playhouse
1946 Grand Marquee
1947 The Whistler
1948 Your Movietown Radio Theatre
1949 Errand Of Mercy
1949 The Great Gildersleeve
1949 Guest Star
1950 Screen Director's Playhouse
1950 The Adventures Of Philip Marlowe
1950 The Harold Peary Show
1951 The Adventures Of Sam Spade
1951 A Memo From Molly
1951 Stars Over Hollywood
1951 Lux Radio Theatre
1951 The Pendleton Story
1952 I Was A Communist For the FBI
1952 The Railroad Hour
1954 You Were There
1954 Barrie Craig, Confidential Investigator
1957 Heartbeat Theatre
1957 The Ruggles
1959 Have Gun, Will Travel
1960 The Jack Benny Program
1960 Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar
1973 Hollywood Radio Theatre
1973 Sears Radio Theatre
- Ken Lynch
- Les Tremayne
- Edward Platt
- Ed Binns
- Patrick McVey
- Carleton Young
- Frank Wilcox
- Larry Dobkin
- Sara Berner
- Walter Coy
- Tommy Farrell
- Madge Kennedy
- Paula Winslowe
|Olan E. Soulé was born in La Harpe, Illinois to Elbert and Ann Williams Soule. The Soule's were reportedly the descendants of three of the original surviving Mayflower passengers to arrive in North America. Olan departed Illinois at the age of seven, moving to Des Moines, Iowa. He continued to be raised in Iowa until he graduated from High School at 17. Soon after graduation, Soulé launched his Stage career, joining Jack Brooks' Tent Show based in Sabula, Iowa.
After a couple of years with the Tent Show, Soulé debuted on the legitimate stage in Chicago for a few more years before moving on to Radio. Olan Soulé inaugurated his Radio career in1933 with a stint on Chandu the Magician (1935-36). Beginning in 1936, he embarked on an eleven year career portraying Sam Ryder on Bachelor's Children, a daytime soap opera. His first significant dramatic lead was with Barbara Luddy on Radio's famed The First Nighter program. They were successfully teamed for almost nine years.
One of Radio's genuinely most versatile actors, Olan Soulé performed in every Radio genre ever aired over broadcast Radio. He was equally popular on Radio's Captain Midnight adventure serial, in the role of L. William Kelly, SS-II, second in command of The Secret Squadron.
Upon completing his nine-year commitment to The First Nighter in in 1949. Olan Soulé moved to Hollywood to do Film and Television-- in addition to Radio. Olan Soulé built his Television and Film careers with the same workman-like efficiency and diligence that he had with his Radio career and soon found himself one of Hollywood's most in demand character actors.
His Television career exploded first, with strong supporting roles in an extraordinary array of Television's earliest successful programming, and simply added to his impressive Television resume with each passing year. By 1960, Olan Soulé had appeared in well over 200 appearances in over forty of The Golden Age of Television's most popular programming. This, in addition to appearing in another estimated 1,000 Radio appearances and twelve feature films, concluding the decade with an appearance in Alfred Hitchcock's classic North By Northwest (1959) with Cary Grant and an amazing array of mostly uncredited current and former Radio actors, among them: Ken Lynch, Les Tremayne, Edward Platt, Edward Binns, Patrick McVey, Carleton Young, Frank Wilcox, Larry Dobkin, Sara Berner, Walter Coy, Tommy Farrell, Madge Kennedy and Paula Winslowe.
Among his more memorable appearances on Television were oft-recurring roles in Captain Midnight (1954) as scientist Aristotle 'Tut' Jones, as the court clerk in numerous Perry Mason episodes, as Lab Criminalists Ray Pinker and Ray Murray in the original and 1967 revivals of Dragnet, as the Hotel Carelton Manager in Have Gun, Will Travel (1958), as Cal in Stagecoach West (1961), as the telegraph operator in Bonanza (1961), as choir director John Masters on The Andy Griffith Show (1962), as the Telegraph Clerk in Big Valley (1965), and as Fred Springer in Arnie (1970).
He also appeared in Mister Ed, City Detective, Dante, Harrigan and Son, State Trooper, The Twilight Zone, Bewitched, The Munsters, Gunsmoke, Happy, The Jean Arthur Show, Laramie, The Monkees, Mission: Impossible, The Six Million Dollar Man, Fantasy Island, Little House on the Prairie, Dallas and Simon & Simon.
To whole new generations of fans in the 1970s and 1980s Soule is remembered as the voice of Batman in several animated series. He supplied the voice for the caped crusader first in 1968's Batman-Superman Hour. He then reprised the role in:
- The Adventures of Batman
- The New Scooby-Doo Movies
- Sesame Street (1970)
- The All-New SuperFriends Hour
- Challenge of the SuperFriends
- The World's Greatest SuperFriends.
All told, Olan Soulé appeared in approximately 7,000 radio episodes and commercials, at least 300 television episodes and 60 feature films including, North by Northwest (1959), The Days of Wine and Roses (1962), The Towering Inferno (1974) and The Apple Dumpling Gang (1975).
Olan Soulé weighed less than 135 pounds for most of his adult life.
"People can't get over my skinny build when they meet me in person after hearing me play heroes and lovers on radio," he said in an interview in The Los Angeles Times in 1968. "One guy really laid it on the line," he added. "He looked me over and his parting shot was, 'Well, I don't mind telling you I'm disappointed.' "
Olan Soulé ulitmately passed away in 1994 at the age of 84. According to his family, the cause was lung cancer. A light-weight--or make that bantam-weight--by physical stature standards, Olan Soulé was an absolute giant in Radio, on Television, in Film and certainly in the hearts of his millions of fans over the years.
Reputedly one of the most likeable, easy-going, unruffled major character actors in Hollywood, Olan Soulé was one of those Masters of the Acting Craft that seem to perform almost effortlessly. Indeed, many up-and-comers in the Acting profession might resent that apparent inherent talent. But the wiser, more seasoned observers understand all too well that that level of craft and skill is never achieved effortlessly.
To the extent to which drama is perceived as effortlessly performed, is true genius. And by that measure among any number of others, Olan Soulé was a true genius.