Rowell Gormon created “theater of the mind” through various characters conjured up in his creative cranial recesses. In 1975, he was recruited from a radio station in Winston-Salem to WRAL-FM by Bob Inskeep, better known to listeners as “FBI,” or “Famous Bob Inskeep.” By 1986, Rowell held the position of Station Production Director and had collected more than 25 nationally-recognized awards, including a National ADDY in 1980 for the best locally produced radio commercial in the nation. In 1986 alone, Rowell was the recipient of five “ADDY” awards from the Triangle Advertising Federation, including a Gold Award and “Best of Show in Radio.”
Rowell grew up in Indiana, which was a blessing in the sense that he did not have to rid himself of a regional accent; the dialect slate was clean. But what generated his creative, clever, imagination?
According to Rowell, he was “warped at an early age.” In school, he was the one who liked to operate the film projector in the classroom. As for sports, he didn’t know a quarterback from a halfback, but he loved to announce his high school football games.
He read a lot and watched television and movies. Saturday morning cartoons served up characters like Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Yosemite Sam, Foghorn Leghorn, Tweetie Pie, and a number of other characters and voices created by the great Mel Blanc. The light bulb in Rowell’s mind started to flicker.
You can watch a recent interview with Rowell that now appears on the CBC History website. You will discover that he did not confine his work to WRAL-FM, he was also the voice behind several characters that appeared on “Time for Uncle Paul” featuring the legendary Paul Montgomery.
You will hear Rowell explain the back-story of “Zoot,”as well as other characters including “Malcom,” “Woodrow” the wood gremlin, “J. Bennington Bunny”, and “Stripes” the skunk who had sinus problems.
Today, Rowell is sought after by many advertising agencies to create voices for top brand companies. He owns his own company where he provides voice talent, clever copy, and technically savvy audio manipulation and recording.
CBC History VIDEO links:
Thanks to Corp’s Pam Allen for this capcom story. Pam Parris Allen is a former WRAL newscast producer/director who now works as a researcher and producer on the CBC History Project.