Remembering Carl Kasell

Apr 21, 2018
Originally published on April 21, 2018 11:17 am
Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

PETER SAGAL, HOST:

So this is how WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME began - the very first moments of our very first episode, January 1998.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)

CARL KASELL: From outside the newsroom - from way outside the newsroom, it's WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.

SAGAL: A lot of things have changed since that day. But Carl Kasell was the constant - his voice, his gravitas and his remarkable skill at impersonations.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)

KASELL: I can't feel my butt.

Soft Corinthian leather - Cordoba.

Man up, and say I'm fat. Say it.

Anyway, thank God for Victoria's Secret's new underwear line.

SAGAL: His voice was, for two decades, the only prize we ever offered and the prize that everybody wanted to win.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

KASELL: Hello. I'm Carl Kasell from NPR. Imagine a man of my stature being given away as a prize. I feel so cheap.

(LAUGHTER)

KASELL: Oh, well. Leave your message at the tone.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Carl never took himself seriously, even though he had every right to. He lent us his credibility and his charm. And in return, for years after the age at which most people might retire, he got to continue doing what he loved to do, talking to you. His broadcast career lasted almost seven decades. And we think that this show was his favorite part of it. Sure - doing the news was fun and important. But they - those guys - never let him do this.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)

KASELL: Yelling, imitating soccer announcer) Goal.

(APPLAUSE, CHEERING)

SAGAL: So many people told us over the years, and most especially this last week, that they didn't just admire Carl Kasell or enjoy hearing him. But they loved him as much as we did usually without ever having met him. We can tell you. I can tell you that he was, in fact, as wonderful as you all thought and that he loved you, too. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.