He continued to enjoy this talent throughout his career, even teaching scat singing to college students. Later, the nickname was condensed to Scatman by Arthur Godfrey. (Crothers should not be confused with Scatman John, who had the hit "Scatman" in 1995.) Crothers started his musical career as a 15-year-old drummer in a speakeasy band in his home town of Terre Haute, Indiana. He played a variety of instruments including drums and guitar on jazz club band circuits in his early days as an entertainer.
He formed his own band in the 1930s and finally traveled to California, and had joined Slim Gaillard's combo in 1946. He split off with Riff Charles, and made a short film with Nat 'King' Cole before moving into television. He is known for his 70's work as Louie the Garbage Man on the TV show Chico and the Man, the voice of the Autobot Jazz in the Transformers animated series. In one of his most memorable later roles he played the cook Dick Hallorann in the 1980 big screen adaptation of Steven King's "The Shining" opposite Jack Nicholson". He was also the voice of Meadowlark Lemon in the animated TV version of The Harlem Globetrotters and as the title character in Hong Kong Phooey both produced by Hanna-Barbera.
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