Terry McManus Universal Voice Magician

He was the voice of Officer Lee Groinman, Seattle’s toughest cop. And he got a lot of air time portraying that fictitious character, mostly wherever Robyn Erickson and John Maynard were broadcasting across the Seattle radio dial. And although he guarded his non-cop identity, the rich vocal tones and creative wit of Terry McManus came through loud and clear. He did some of Puget Sound’s best character impressions. The list of those has been previously noted here and elsewhere.

McManus was more than just a ballsy, golden-throated voice-over artist. His voice imaging work went regional and national. But he remained involved in behind-the scenes Seattle-area radio (and some TV) longer than most folks knew, starting, most likely, at Bellevue’s KFKF, moving on to KOL, then later to KZOK, KYYX, KXRX and at 100.7 The Buzz.
It seems a fitting honor that the most vivid memories of Terry McManus are segments of the thousands of hours he spent in a production studio. It’s impossible to share even short flashes of all of them. But here are a few samples, starting with his late ‘80s-early ‘90s KXRX days, and working back to KOL in the late ‘60s-early ‘70s. It was at KOL(where he teamed up with Lan Roberts) that Terry’s famous Jimmy (Stewart) Stalwart became famous. You’ll hear Stalwart at the end of this > 4:38 composite audio.

McManus, KOL promotion 1969

Some forget that McManus also held down a regular board shift at KOL when the station was under the guidance of Dick Curtis and Robin Mitchell in 1970-’72. His Jimmy Stalwart character was so hot at that time that McManus often carried the voice through his full shift. (“KOL’s Last Run for the Top, 1969-’72”)

Author: Ronald DeHart

Ron DeHart is a former newspaper and broadcast journalist and a retired Public Affairs Officer from both the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Navy/Naval Reserve. His historical accounts of Pacific Northwest broadcasting are published by Puget Sound Media. View more articles by Ron DeHart  

4 thoughts on “Terry McManus Universal Voice Magician

  1. I worked with Terry off and on over a 3 year period back in the early 80s. He freelanced for a small multi-media, video production company in Belltown. Emperor Smith (Lee Smith) and Scott Burns were full timers at that crazy place. I travelled to Texas with Terry on video shoot… that was a hoot. He was ever loyal to his dog flower.

  2. We have listened to Terry McManus on Imagination Theater, He is a completely perfect Jimmy Stewart. So glad to be able to read a little more about this truly remarkable performer. Any additional information about him–like where he is now would be most welcome. Lee & Pat Duigon New Jersey

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