• Hey, It's That Voice! #15: Sinbad

    Hello, hello! Welcome back to another edition of the regular article, "Hey, It's That Voice!". This week, we will be looking at a character whose voice actor has changed from the first he appeared. Well, without further ado, let's look at Mr. Smiley!

    Harold Smiley is a really neat character. A former comedian/actor/R&B singer and current Beach City Funland operator, he has a quite a history to him. Maybe in time we'll get to see more of this? Perhaps we'll see, but this joyful but overly hardworking man is always smiling and always stressed at Steven's antics. So, who was the first voice of Mr. Smiley? That would be the famous comedian Sinbad!

    He's more than happy to take Steven's bribe, however.

    Born David Adkins in Benton Harbor, Michigan on November 10, 1956, Sinbad took his time raising to fame. He went to University of Denver in Denver, Colorado where he lettered for two seasons on the basketball team. After college, he joined the United States Air Force and was stationed at McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita, Kansas. It was here where he would start his stand-up comedy, performing on the weekend. In 1981, he even competed as a comedian in the Air Force's Talent Contest. However, he would repeatedly came close to receiving an a dishonorable discharge from the service for numerous misbehaviors, including of going AWOL. He eventually was discharged for, as he would put it, "parking my car in the wrong position".

    I like to imagine that he was discharged for parking this in the wrong position.

    To stand out in the entertainment industry, he needed a name. Adkins decided on the name "Sinbad" because he had admiration of the fictional sailor and hero Sinbad the Sailor. With his new moniker, Sinbad went on Star Search in 1985 and went on to the finals (even winning against Dennis Miller) but lost against John Kassir. Because of his rise to national fame, he was quickly picked up into roles, such as The Redd Foxx Show, The Cosby Show, and most notably A Different World where he was a regular for 57 episodes as Coach Walter Oakes. In 1991, he appeared opposite of Scott Bakula in the film Necessary Roughness.

    Are we sure that Scott Bakula (left) and Sinbad (right) aren't just in an episode of Quantum Leap?

    Sinbad had a few smaller roles for a while, opting to preferring to stick to stand-up over acting. These roles included The Meteor Man, hosting It's Showtime at the ApolloConeheads and two episodes of Bill Nye The Science Guy. By 1993, Sinbad had gotten quite popular, to the point where FOX green-lit The Sinbad Show. The show, which only lasted a single 24-episode season was praised for it's unique and realistic portrayal of African-American life. Despite it's cancellation, Sinbad was nominated for "Favorite Television Actor" for the 1995 Kids' Choice Awards.

    Other film roles that Sinbad had included Good Burger, First Kid, Jingle All The Way (playing opposite of Arnold Schwarzenegger), Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco, and Houseguest where he started opposite of Phil Hartman.

    Phil Hartman (left), Sinbad (center) and Kim Greist (right) in Houseguest.
    Over the years, especially in recent years, Sinbad has been known for quite a bit of guest appearances and cameos. A few of these include It's Always Sunny in PhiladelphiaPlanes, and as himself (and his ghost) in American Dad!.

    Sinbad knows what's up. He reads all the Magic Tree House books.

    And that will do it just about do it for this edition of "Hey, It's That Voice!" Join us next week when we look at Mr. Smiley's other voice actor!