Welcome back to Character Insight! This week, we take a look at a couple of the many recurring characters who showed up originally on TOS and then again on TAS, but the latter time being voiced by James Doohan instead of the original actor.
One of the charming aspects about TAS was that thanks to limited budgets, there was not a lot of wiggle room to bring back guest actors for voice roles. Instead, James Doohan and Nichelle Nichols took on some addtional roles. Particularly in the case of Doohan, it showed his great range of voice talent.
Thus, there are a handful of callback characters who were played by other actors in TOS and then taken over by Doohan, and one of these is Commodore Robert Wesley from the TOS episode The Ultimate Computer. He's the commander of the Lexington in the war games that go bad thanks to the takeover of Enterprise by the M-5 supercomputer. His decision to not fire on the Enterprise when its shields go down was a gamble that paid off, thanks to Kirk getting the situation under control where others like Dr. Daystrom could not.
"Our compliments to the M-5 unit, and regards to Captain Dunsel. Wesley out."
After the stresses of this mission and being a commodore for 5 years, Wesley retired to be a governor of Mantilles, the most remote inhabited planet of the Federation at the time. In the TAS episode One of Our Planets is Missing, Wesley appears again in a rescue of the people of Mantilles from a cosmic cloud, albeit with a slightly different voice this time.
(The White Rabbit, courtesy memory-alpha.com)
Another character, albeit a stranger one, which also shows up in both series is the White Rabbit. This is a robotic representation of the character from Alice in Wonderland, a construct made by the Shore Leave Planet on the episode Shore Leave based on a stray thought from Dr. McCoy about that same story. As you would expect, the rabbit is chased by a girl named Alice and is always concerned about being late.
This Amusement Park Planet is visited again by the Enterprise in TAS in the episode Once Upon a Planet. After Alice catches up to the rabbit, they have lunch with McCoy, Sulu and a dragon. Because 1970's cartoons make sense, but once again Doohan took over the voicing for this character.
Barry Russo played Commodore Wesley in TOS, and his final and perhaps most famous role was in the original Hawaii Five-O, 25 years before his death in 2003. William Blackburn played the White Rabbit in TOS, and he also played Lt. Hadley and acted as a stand in for Deforest Kelley in almost every other episode of TOS.
Until next time, let's be thankful for all the great work we received from Doohan during his life, even though he snubbed one of the best Futurama episodes ever.
Feedback can be sent to me with future segment suggestions on Twitter @BuckeyeFitzy. Until next time, live long and prosper...