For children of the ’80s, there are two voices that bring the most nostalgia to our ears. For over three years, Peter Cullen and Frank Welker greeted us every weekday afternoon with a reverberated struggle between good and evil on the animated series known as The Transformers. The battle between heroic Autobot leader Optimus Prime (voiced by Cullen) and the evil Decepticon dictator Megatron (voiced by Welker) impacted our developing minds far beyond the thoughts of visiting toy aisles. The collective performance of Cullen and Welker audibly demonstrated the difference between right and wrong for many of us ’80s kids.
And while they are forever linked by voicing the two iconic characters in The Transformers, they have in fact worked together many more times prior to and beyond the 1980s animated series. Peter Cullen voice career began in the late ’60s and early ’70s as a variety show announcer for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour. He really hit his stride in the ’80s where he voiced over 100 roles in TV, movies, and animation. Frank Welker landed an iconic role early in his career as the voice of Fred Jones on Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! in 1969. By the mid ’70s, he was almost exclusively taking voice acting roles which now number in the 800s according to IMDb.
In retrospect, the roles that Cullen and Welker would voice beginning in 1984, speak the loudest among a generation of Saturday morning and weekday afternoon cartoon watchers. However, they have starred together many more times beyond The Transformers that most may not know the true impact of their work on screen. Let’s take a look 23 times the voices of Peter Cullen and Frank Welker collided in the same show.
Mighty Mann and Yukk
Cullen and Welker played the leads in Mighty Man and Yukk, a short-lived Ruby-Spears animated series that aired as a part of The Plastic Man Comedy/Adventure Show. The premise follows Brandon Brewster (voiced by Cullen), a millionaire who uses a shrinking machine to become flying superhero Might Man. His partner is the world’s ugliest dog Yukk (voiced by Welker) who can destroy anything just from the sight of his face. 32 short episodes aired from 1979-80 which you can now find on YouTube.
Spider-man and His Amazing Friends
The Iceman character on the 1981-83 animated series Spider-man and His Amazing Friends was portrayed by Welker. Two guest appearances by Cullen gave the duo an opportunity to share the screen.
“Spidey Goes Hollywood”
Episode 9 “Spidey Goes Hollywood” gave Cullen a multi-character guest appearance as both a hero and villain. Cullen portrays both Dr. Bruce Banner and The Hulk who helps Spidey and the gang defeat Mysterio. The evil illusionist, who was portrayed by Jake Gyllenhaal in Spider-man: Far From Home, is also voiced by Cullen. There are many great scenes in the episode with Cullen and Welker interacting. You can find the episode on Disney+ or watch on Dailymotion.
“The Quest of the Red Skull”
Episode 13 “The Quest of the Red Skull” gave Cullen another guest appearance as the Red Skull villain. It’s not an episode most people talk about because of the Nazi overtones and swastika symbolism. Unfortunately, there are not many interactions with the two specific characters, but it still makes for an opportunity to both Cullen and Welker in the same episode. You can find the episode on Disney+ or watch on Dailymotion.
The Kwicky Koala Show
Another indirect pairing of Cullen and Welker came with The Kwicky Koala Show that aired in 1981-82. The series was broken up into 4 separate segments and each played characters in different shorts. Cullen played Rawhide Clyde’s dog Bristletooth in the “Crazy Claws” segment and Welker played vagrant Labrador retriever Dirty Dawg in the “Dirty Dawg” segment. While it was produced in Australia, Warner Brothers has been released the series to DVD and clips are available on YouTube.
Pac-man and Christmas Comes to Pac-Land
Cullen and Welker are the Pac-pets! In the 1982-83 Pac-man animated series, Cullen voiced Sour Puss the cat and Welker voiced Chomp-Chomp the dog, appearing in 15 episodes together. Both voice the characters in the Christmas Comes to Pac-Land special as well along with Cullen as Santa Claus and Welker as Morris Reindeer.
G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero
Cullen and Welker were among the large cast of characters in the G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero animated series and feature film in the ’80s. They both first appeared in the original “The M.A.S.S. Device” miniseries in 1983 voicing multiple characters. Check out part 3 “Duel in the Devil’s Cauldron” on YouTube and listen out for Dr. Vandermeer (Cullen) and Wild Bill/Shortfuse/Rock n’ Roll (Welker.)
They would share the screen in the Arise, Serpentor, Arise miniseries voicing dreadnok characters Zandar (Cullen) and Torch (Welker.) In G.I. Joe: The Movie, Cullen voiced the new Cobra-La character Nemesis Enforcer with Welker continuing to voice Wild Bill and Torch. Welker also voiced the animals throughout series including Snake Eye’s Timber, Spirit’s Freedom, and Mutt’s Junkyard.
Cullen and Welker both lent their talents to the Saturday Supercade animated series in 1983. The episodes consisted of shorts for several video game themed shows. Thanks to this division, the duo never appear on screen together yet can heard in the same half-hour episode. Cullen was the original voice for Mario which appeared in the “Donkey Kong” shorts. Welker was the titular character in “Donkey Kong Jr.” as well as several of the Q characters in Q*Bert.
Cullen and Welker teamed up for two episodes (including the pilot) for the short-lived Monchhichis series in 1983. Cullen voiced three of the Grumplins (Snitchitt, Shreeker, and Gonker) while Welker voiced the good-natured Patchitt.
My Little Pony
Cullen and Welker appeared together in several iterations of My Little Pony. They both played one of the Grundles, helpful troll-like creatures, during an early short episode and in My Little Pony: The Movie. The Grundles are led by a king who was voiced by Danny Devito in the feature film. Cullen also plays Captain Crabnasty in My Little Pony n’ Friends who seeks out the escaped criminals The Flores, one of which is voiced by Welker.
Eight more Cullen and Welker credits on the next page…