clear
Friday February 12th, 2016 11:41PM

Casey Kasem dies

By The Associated Press
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- In pop culture, Casey Kasem was as sweet and dependable as a glass of warm milk and a plate of chocolate chip cookies, which only made the ugliness of his last few years of life seem more bizarre and tragic.<br /> <br /> The radio host of "American Top 40" and voice of animated television characters like Scooby-Doo's sidekick Shaggy died Sunday morning at a hospital in Gig Harbor, Washington. He was 82. He suffered from a form of dementia, and his three adult children from his first wife fought a bitter legal battle with Kasem's second wife, Jean, over control of his health care in his final months.<br /> <br /> That made Kasem a fixture on news outlets that feed on the sleazier side of celebrity life at a time when it wasn't clear he was aware of it or even able to understand.<br /> <br /> This wouldn't seem all that remarkable for a bad-behaving pop star or actor who shed spouses with the frequency of changing characters. But this was Casey Kasem, whose work epitomized the gentler, romantic side of pop culture, of a time when stars were admired for their celebrity and worshipped for their talent.<br /> <br /> "American Top 40," with Kasem's soft, homey voice counting down the hits, was a refuge from shock jocks or the screaming big-city radio voices. It was dependable, broadcast on some 1,000 stations at its peak, so if you were driving in Connecticut or Kansas, California or Kentucky, you could always take a measure of the pop charts with Casey.<br /> <br /> Kasem weaved stories around the songs, anecdotes about interactions with fans or gee-whiz tales about how stars got their starts. Seldom was heard a discouraging word, unless it was a starting point for a narrative about coming back from hardship, the darkness before the dawn.<br /> <br /> Interspersed in the countdowns were the long-distance dedications, songs played for a long-lost or distant lover in the hope a heart would be stirred. You'd wince at some of the hokey song selections, but only the truly cynic would laugh at the emotion that spilled out of the letters Kasem read.<br /> <br /> At the end of the show, always, would come Kasem's signature words of advice: "Keep your feet on the ground, and keep reaching for the stars."<br /> <br /> On the first "American Top 40" in July 1970, Kasem counted down to Three Dog Night's "Mama Told Me Not to Come" at the No. 1 spot. As the years went on, Kasem progressed through disco and punk, arena rock and rap. All were welcome under Casey's big tent.<br /> <br /> Kasem was of Lebanese descent, born in Detroit as Kemal Amin Kasem, and he spoke out on issues promoting greater understanding of Arab-Americans throughout his life. He made his name as a disc jockey, and when his career blossomed in the Los Angeles area, he took on other voice work. He was Robin in the animated "Batman" series. He once said his work on "Scooby-Doo" would outlast anything he did.<br /> <br /> He was succeeded at "American Top 40" in 2004 by Ryan Seacrest, a fan who said he used to imitate Kasem counting down the hits when he was a boy.<br /> <br /> "Scooby-Doo" may last longer, but we'll bet Kasem will most be remembered for "American Top 40" and his place in the continuum of pop music accounting, from "American Bandstand" to "Soul Train," "Total Request Live" to Spotify playlists.<br /> <br /> Hard feelings being what they are, it's difficult to imagine the fight between the people Kasem is leaving behind will simply end with his death. Kasem, at least, is at peace.<br /> <br /> And instead of thinking about squabbling, his fans can imagine what it would have sounded like to hear Casey Kasem counting down to John Legend, Pharrell Williams and Iggy Azalea.
© Copyright 2016 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Judge denies motions to move, delay Tsarnaev trial
Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev asked a federal appeals court Wednesday to overturn a judge's decision to not move his upcoming trial out of state.
10:02PM ( 1 year ago )
High court to adopt electronic filing of cases
The Supreme Court is belatedly developing an electronic filing system similar to those used in courts around the country, Chief Justice John Roberts said Wednesday in his annual end-of-year report.
7:57PM ( 1 year ago )
Storm brings snow, cold to West for New Year's
A blustery winter storm dumped snow and ice across the West on Wednesday, making driving treacherous in the mountains from California to the Rockies and forcing residents and party-goers in some usually sun-soaked cities to bundle up for a frosty New Year's.
5:19PM ( 1 year ago )
U.S. News
State DOT awards $48M contract for NE Ga. road project
The state Department of Transportation has awarded a $47.8 million contract for nine miles of work on a northeast Georgia road.
9:37AM ( 1 year ago )
Business News
Grass fire impacts rush hour traffic on 985
Rush hour traffic on I-985 was slowed by a grass fire Wednesay afternoon with one lane closed while firefighters fought the blaze.
10:19PM ( 1 year ago )
Hall County conviction, sentencing to be reviewed by SCOGA
The State Supreme Court has agreed to hear the appeal of a Hall County man when they reconvene in January.
2:37PM ( 1 year ago )
Maysville man dies from Banks County wreck
The Georgia State Patrol reports that alcohol and/or drugs were factors a single-vehicle wreck that claimed the life of a Maysville man in Banks County Tuesday night.
11:07AM ( 1 year ago )
Local/State News
U.S, Cuba to resume commercial flights for 1st time in 50 years
The United States and Cuba will sign an agreement next week to resume commercial air traffic for the first time in five decades, starting the clock on dozens of new flights operating daily by next fall, U.S. officials said Friday.
By The Associated Press
9:35PM ( 2 hours ago )
New details about the possible effects of the Zika virus on the fetal brain are emerging
WASHINGTON (AP) — New details about the possible effects of the Zika virus on the fetal brain emerged Wednesday as U.S. health officials say mosquito eradication here and abroad is key to protect preg...
6:22PM ( 2 days ago )
President Barack Obama is asking Congress for more than $1.8 billion in emergency funding to help fight the Zika virus
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is asking Congress for more than $1.8 billion in emergency funding to fight the Zika virus and the mosquitoes that spread it here and abroad, but says "there s...
10:40PM ( 4 days ago )
Search for Missouri couple wanted for crimes across the South, including Ga., ends with one suspect dead and the other wounded
A weeklong search for a Missouri couple wanted in a series of robberies and abductions across the South ended with one suspect dead and the other wounded Friday, after authorities say they chased the pair across the highway and through a rural neighborhood and exchanged gunfire with them in Florida's Panhandle.
By The Associated Press
9:57PM ( 1 week ago )
Cheap oil will be sticking around for a while, buoying consumers, frustrating oil producers
Cheap oil will be sticking around for a while.That reality is wreaking havoc and causing uncertainty for some governments and businesses, while creating financial windfalls for others. Less expensive...
6:18PM ( 1 week ago )