Victor Herbert Perrin (April 26, 1916 – July 4, 1989) was an American radio, film, and television actor, perhaps best remembered for providing the "Control Voice" in the original version of the television series The Outer Limits (1963–1965). He was also a radio scriptwriter as well as a narrator in feature films and for special entertainment and educational projects, such as the original Spaceship Earth and Universe of Energy rides at Epcot at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.
Perrin was born in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, the elder of two sons of Kathryn (née Mittlesteadt) and Milton A. Perrin, who was a traveling salesman. In 1940, after graduating from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in the late 1930s, Vic moved to California.
During the 1940s and 1950s, Perrin was a regular performer on many commercial radio programs. In 1941 he became a staff announcer for NBC, staying there for several yearzs before moving to ABC and becoming chief announcer at the Blue Network. His first credited role came in 1943, when he served as the announcer for "The Last Will and Testament Of Tom Smith", a radio episode of Free World Theatre, which was produced and directed by Arch Oboler. He narrated too "A Star With Two Names", part of the segment "Behind The Scenes Hollywood Story" of The Hollywood Music Hall radio program. At the same time, he joined Charles Laughton's theatrical repertory group.
Perrin was also a regular guest star on the radio version of Gunsmoke, and he wrote or co-wrote five scripts for that popular Western series between 1959 and 1961. Perrin was a series regular as well on the anthology radio drama Family Theatre, played Ross Farnsworth on One Man's Family, and was featured as cavalry trooper Sergeant Gorse in Fort Laramie in 1956. He performed too as several characters in Escape, Pete Kelly's Blues, Dragnet, Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar, and Have Gun – Will Travel. In an uncredited role, he also impersonated Clyde Beatty on The Clyde Beatty Show.
One of Perrin's first television roles is in "The Golden Vulture", a 1953 episode of the Adventures of Superman. In that episode he portrays a hapless sailor on board a freighter run by a self-styled pirate. He also appears in 16 installments of Dragnet and plays characters in a variety of other series, including Peter Gunn, Black Saddle, Have Gun – Will Travel, Gunsmoke, Mackenzie's Raiders, The Untouchables, Going My Way, Perry Mason, Adam-12, Mannix, and Mission: Impossible.
Perrin voiced multiple characters on the animated television series Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! Those characters include, Pietro, The Puppet Master, Karl the Stuntman, Ape Man, The Snow Ghost, Mr. Leech, Dr. Najib among others. He also provided the voice of Dr. Zin, the main antagonist in Jonny Quest, as well as the voice for the villain The Gimmick in the Blue Falcon. Perrin is the voice of Hawkman on The Superman/Aquaman Hour of Adventure and yet another villain, Sinestro, who is the nemesis of the Green Lantern, in the Super Friends series. In performances in front of the camera, Perrin portrays a voyeuristic serial killer in the 1966 made-for-TV movie Dragnet, which served as a pilot episode for the color version of the television series, which premiered in 1967. He guest-stars too on "The Guardians", a 1981 episode of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, and he appears in two The Twilight Zone episodes: "People Are Alike All Over" and "Ring-a-Ding Girl".
He has voice and character roles in three classic 1967 Star Trek episodes. In the series' first-season episode "Arena," he is the voice of the Metrons, an alien species. He appears as well in the second-season episode "Mirror, Mirror", portraying the head of the ruling council on Halka, a planet of pacifists. Also in the second season, in the episode "The Changeling", he is the voice of Nomad, a space probe.
Other professional activities
For many years Perrin narrated dozens of science and educational short films for educational filmmaking pioneer Sy Wexler and continued to do voice-overs and to play character roles until a short time before his death.
Perrin was active in off-camera work in television commercials, prompting one newspaper article to include the comment "Vic Perrin is one actor who makes more money when he's not seen on camera than when he is."
Personal life and death
He was first married to Evelyn Held on March 10, 1963. Evelyn died in 1972 and they had no children. He married for a second time to Rita Singer in 1977 and had a son, George. He also had a stepson, Steven, from Rita's previous marriage. Perrin and Rita divorced in January 1979, but remarried soon after in September 1979.
References and notes
- Cox, Jim (2007). Radio Speakers: Narrators, News Junkies, Sports Jockeys, Tattletales, Tipsters, Toastmasters and Coffee Klatch Couples Who Verbalized the Jargon of the Aural Ether from the 1920s to the 1980s--A Biographical Dictionary. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc., p. 228: ISBN 978-0-7864-6086-1.
- "Vic Perrin, 73, Actor And Announcer, Dies", obituary, The New York Times archives, July 8, 1989. Retrieved April 13, 2019.
- "Spaceship Earth", digital copies of 1982 narrations by Vic Perrin, Epcot Discovery Center, The Walt Disney Company, Bay Lake, Florida. Retrieved April 12, 2019.
- "Fifteenth Census of the United States: 1930", Waukesha, Wisconsin, April 10, 1930. Bureau of the Census, U.S. Department of Commerce. FamilySearch. Retrieved April 12, 2019.
- DeLong, Thomas A. (1996). Radio Stars: An Illustrated Biographical Dictionary of 953 Performers, 1920 through 1960. McFarland & Company, Inc., p. 215; ISBN 978-0-7864-2834-2.
- "California Death Index, 1940-1997", Victor Herbert Perrin, July 4, 1989. FamilySearch. Department of Public Health Services, Sacramento.
- Folkart, Burt A. (July 7, 1989). "Alien-From-Space Narrator on 'Outer Limits': Radio, TV Personality Vic Perrin".
- "Deaths", Broadcasting (July 17, 1989), p. 94.
- "Vic Perrin Radio Credits".
- Refer to Wikipedia link "List of Gunsmoke radio episodes" for titles and specific broadcast dates of episodes written and co-written by Perrin. For additional details about Perrin's performances and scriptwriting on Gunsmoke, refer to Barabas, SuzAnne and Barabas, Gabor (1990). Gunsmoke: A Complete History and Analysis of the Legendary Broadcast Series. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland and Company, 1990.
- "Chester's Dilemma" (1960), one of the Gunsmoke radio scripts written by Perrin, was adapted in 1961 for replay on the televised version of the series.
- "Vic Perrin", TV.com, CBS Interactive Media, New York, N.Y. Retrieved April 13, 2019.
- "Actor Vic Perrin Benefits More When Not on Camera", Austin Daily Herald (January 6, 1967), p. 19.
- "Radio and TV Actor Vic Perrin Dies at 73", Orlando Sentinel (July 7, 1989).
- "Vic Perrin", Bluefield Daily Telegraph (July 8, 1989), p. 12.
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