January 17, 1904|
|Died||August 26, 1980
Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California
A former radio announcer, Manning entered the motion picture field in 1939 as an offscreen narrator. His distinctive voice and phrasing were noticed by other studios, and he quickly became one of the movies' busiest voice artists. Very often he was the trademark voice of several concurrent series. From 1940 to 1954 he was the narrator of Columbia Pictures' popular adventure serials, reading the sometimes tongue-in-cheek scripts with enthusiasm. (The voice-overs in the Batman TV series of the 1960s owe much of their style to Knox Manning's breezy but urgent narrations of the 1940s, including his work in the two Batman movie serials.) Away from Columbia, he was the commentator for Warner Brothers' historical, musical, and novelty short subjects. He made his services available to independent producers as well, bringing equal vigor to a religious drama and an anti-vice crusade.
In 1943 he joined RKO Radio Pictures' Flicker Flashbacks crew and became that series' most prolific narrator, working in more than half of the series' 34 comedies. Trade reviewers constantly praised this series of antique silent films re-edited with satirical soundtracks, and often singled out Knox Manning's comic timing as an important asset.
Manning left Columbia in 1954 and began working in Warner Brothers' publicity department, lending his voice to TV commercials for current Warner feature films.
He appeared on camera in only a handful of films, most prominently (as himself) in the 1942 sports drama Harmon of Michigan, starring Tom Harmon, and the 1946 comedy feature Mr. Hex, starring The Bowery Boys.
Knox Manning continued to work in radio as a performer and producer. He announced and read commercials for The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, starring Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce. The Knox Manning Show, also known as Cinderella Story, chronicled the rise to fame of Hollywood celebrities. His Behind the Scenes program featured dramatized re-creations of news events involving famous historical figures. A similar program, This Is the Story, looked at people, places, and things that were familiar on the American scene. He was a newscaster for CBS Radio, and continued to work as a newsman in local California radio into the 1960s.
- Kings of the Turf (1941, short subject)
- Cheers for Miss Bishop (1941)
- Beyond the Line of Duty (1942)
- Divide and Conquer (1943) (narrator)
- Jammin' the Blues (1944, short subject)
- I Won't Play (1944, short subject)
- Hitler Lives (1945, short subject)
- Facing Your Danger (1946)
- The Prince of Peace (1949)
- She Shoulda Said No! (1949)
- Destination Moon (1950)
- Crashing the Water Barrier (1956)