Olan Soule

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Olan Soule
Olan Evart Soule

(1909-02-28)February 28, 1909
DiedFebruary 1, 1994(1994-02-01) (aged 84)
Resting placeForest Lawn - Hollywood Hills Cemetery
Other namesAlan Soule
Alan Soulé
Olan Soulé
Years active1926–1991

Olan Evart Soule (February 28, 1909 – February 1, 1994) was an American actor, who had professional credits in nearly 7,000 radio shows and commercials, appearances in 200 television series and television films, and in over 60 films.[1] Soule's voice work on television included his 15-year role (1968–1983) as Batman on several animated series that were either devoted to or involved the fictional "Dark Knight" superhero.[citation needed]

Early life[edit]

Born in 1909 in La Harpe, Illinois, to Elbert and Ann Williams Soule (descendants of three Mayflower passengers), Olan left Illinois at the age of seven and arrived in Des Moines, Iowa, where he lived until he was seventeen. He then launched his theatrical career by joining Jack Brooks' tent show in Sabula, Jackson County, Iowa.[2]



After leaving the tent show, Soule appeared on stage in Chicago for seven years before moving to radio in 1933, including a stint on Chandu the Magician (1935–36). On radio he performed for eleven years in the daytime soap opera Bachelor's Children. Beginning in 1943, he played lead male characters on radio's famed The First Nighter Program for nine years. Listeners of First Nighter who met Soule in person were often surprised, since his slight 135-pound frame did not seem to match the voices he gave to his characters. From 1941 on, Soule had the role of L. William Kelly, SS-11, the second in command of the Secret Squadron on the Captain Midnight radio adventure serial.[2] When Captain Midnight became a television series in the 1950s, Soule was known as SQ-3, behind Captain Midnight himself and Ichabod Mudd "with two D's". He also had a regular part on Lee Hansen's 1970s and 1980s science fiction radio drama Alien Worlds.[citation needed]

Television and films[edit]

Concluding his nine-year run on First Nighter, Soule moved to Hollywood, where he appeared in films and television shows, building a reputation as a reliable character actor. Soule said "Because of my build and glasses, I've mostly played lab technicians, newscasters and railroad clerks."[3]

He appeared as Mr. Krull, a boarding house resident in The Day The Earth Stood Still. He also acted im many television series: The Donald O'Connor Show (as a semi-regular), Captain Midnight (as scientist Aristotle "Tut" Jones), I Love Lucy, several appearances as a hotel clerk and choir director John Masters on The Andy Griffith Show, and a semi-regular role as real-life LAPD criminalist Ray Pinker on the original TV and radio version of Dragnet, and as the slightly renamed but essentially identical LAPD criminalist Ray Murray on the 1967 revival version. He played many different television roles in Jack Webb's Mark VII Productions including Dragnet, Adam-12, Emergency! and Project U.F.O.. In between the two Dragnet gigs, he had a similar semi-regular role on another LAPD-based TV series, The New Breed, as an unnamed "lab technician." He also made six appearances on Perry Mason, mostly as a court clerk, but also as a bank employee and water company official.

He made at least two appearances on Petticoat Junction. In both, the 1967 episode "Shoplifter at the Shady Rest" and the 1968 episode "Mae's Helping Hand", he played Mr. Benson. In addition, he appeared several times as the clerk of the Carlton Hotel, the San Francisco residence of the character Paladin, in the TV series, Have Gun - Will Travel.

The list of Soule's supporting and starring roles is long. Some include The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show, The Jack Benny Program, I Love Lucy, The Danny Thomas Show, Dennis the Menace, The Tab Hunter Show, The Real McCoys, The Beverly Hillbillies, Mister Ed, City Detective, Behind Closed Doors, Dante, Harrigan and Son, Hennesey, State Trooper, One Step Beyond, The Restless Gun, The Rebel, Wanted: Dead or Alive, My Favorite Martian, The Twilight Zone, The Untouchables, Bewitched, Pete and Gladys, The Addams Family, The Munsters, Johnny Ringo, Rawhide, Gunsmoke, Happy, Bonanza, The Jean Arthur Show, Laramie, The Monkees, Mission: Impossible, The Six Million Dollar Man, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, Fantasy Island, Little House on the Prairie, Dallas and Simon & Simon. He was the only actor who performed on both the Captain Midnight radio and television shows.[4]


Soule is remembered by many for providing the voice of Batman in several animated series. He first performed as the Caped Crusader on the 1968 Filmation-produced The Batman/Superman Hour.[5] He reprised his role as Batman on The Adventures of Batman, The New Scooby-Doo Movies, Sesame Street (1970), Super Friends (1973), The All-New Super Friends Hour, Challenge of the Super Friends, The World's Greatest Super Friends, and Super Friends (1980). He appeared as a newscaster on the live-action Batman television series (in the episode "The Pharaoh's in a Rut") with his Super Friends successor Adam West. Although Soule eventually gave back the Batman mantle to the man who portrayed him in live-action, he continued to contribute to the Super Friends: The Legendary Super Powers Show series, providing the voice of Professor Martin Stein, mentor and subconscious of fledgling hero Firestorm.[4]

Other voice-over work[edit]

Soule provided the voice of Master Taj in the English-dubbed version of the cult 1973 film Fantastic Planet in addition to his work as Batman.

Personal life and death[edit]

Soule married Norma Elizabeth Miller on September 29, 1929. They had two children and were married for 63 years, until Norma's death on July 1, 1992. His daughter Joann was also an actress, under the name of Sydney Soule. Soule was a 32-degree Mason as well as a member of the Los Angeles Show Business Shrine Club (Al Malikah).[citation needed]

On February 1, 1994, Soule died at age 84 of lung cancer in Corona, California, at the home of his daughter Joann and son-in-law, Dr. David Henriksen.[6] His burial took place at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Hollywood Hills, Los Angeles.[citation needed]

Selected filmography[edit]

Selected Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1959 Have Gun - Will Travel Clerk Season 3, Episode 9 "The Black Hankerchief"
1960 Wanted Dead or Alive Simon Denton Season 3, Episode 8 "To the Victor"
1961 Wanted Dead or Alive Clerk Season 3, Episode 24 "The Long Search"


  1. ^ "Olan Soule," 84, Big-Voiced Actor Who Played Thousands of Roles," New York Times, February 5, 1994. Retrieved April 21, 2017.
  2. ^ a b Dunning, John. On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio. Oxford University Press, 1998; ISBN 0-19-507678-8
  3. ^ "Olan Soule, 84, Actor Known for Different Voices", Los Angeles Times, February 4, 1994
  4. ^ a b "Great Character Actors: Olan Soule". Archived from the original on July 15, 2011. Retrieved 2012-09-03.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  5. ^ "Voices in the Knight". IGN. Retrieved 2010-08-15.
  6. ^ "Olan Soule, 84, Big-Voiced Actor Who Played Thousands of Roles". The New York Times. 5 February 1994. Retrieved 18 February 2014.

External links[edit]

Preceded by Voice of Batman
Succeeded by
Preceded by Voice of Batman
Succeeded by