by Phuong Pham
This past month we lost a comedy and animation giant in the way of Clay Martin Croker. If his name doesn’t sound familiar, you may know him better as Zorak and Moltar from the Cartoon Network cult classic, Space Ghost: Coast to Coast. As a lonely kid, Clay, an amazing comedic talent, made me realize that others shared my odd sense-of-humor. As an adult, he was a supportive friend. These are some of my memories of him.
Clay was an incredibly kind and humble guy. The first time we “met,” so to speak I found a friend request on my Facebook from an older guy. My first thought was, “Who the fuck is this?”, as I’m a little leery of older men adding me on Facebook due, to previous experiences. But he was a friend of my buddy, animator Sketch MacQuinor, and all his friends, who have been quite lovely to me, so I figured, “Why not?”
Over the next few weeks, he’d chime in on my Facebook every so often. He was always pleasant and courteous. At some point, I learned he was Zorak and Moltar from Space Ghost: Coast to Coast; a staple of my youth. I gushed and told him thank you for being the voice of my insomniac childhood. This happened a lot. I’m usually not outwardly starstruck, but this was different and he was always humbled whenever I did and surprised when I mentioned some of my friends were fans, too.
Although we never spoke much, (I chalk that up being intimidated and/or busy,) I still have great memories of him. For instance, my fiance and some of our friends were watching Dragon Ball Z Abridged and I pointed out that the voice actor playing Cell sounded an awful lot like Zorak. My friends said that’s because it probably was as Dragon Ball Z Abridged is rather popular and they might have been able to get the original voice actor. I said it couldn’t possibly be and ended up putting the debate to rest by just messaging Clay. He got back to me right away, saying it wasn’t him but he’d be interested in looking at the property. He was like this with all his fans. I would often see fans tag him on Facebook in a photo and have a description about their meeting with him at some convention from the day before. Often times Clay would reply with a comment. It always warmed my heart to see how much he made a fan’s day and, even more so, when they realized what a warm and welcoming person he was. Much like me, his fans often soon became friends.
He was also always very encouraging. When I decided I wanted to start a Let’s Play channel a la Rooster Teeth/Game Grumps to further my comedy, I didn’t have many people able or willing to help me at the time. I put up a open casting call of sorts on my Facebook page and to my surprise, one of the first people to volunteer was Clay who said something to the effect of, “Sure. When and where?” Not only did one of my childhood heroes end up being a nice guy but he wanted to work with me, as well? It was all very surreal. I was just an unemployed college student and I couldn’t help but wonder why the fuck an Cartoon Network legend wanted to work with the likes of me.
When my work was stolen and I moved on to a different company, I asked if I could interview him. And once again, Clay said, “sure.” We never got around to it; our schedules often conflicting. I would be busy with schoolwork, trying to finish my ten year bachelor degree, and he would be off at another convention, making an appearance. We kept rescheduling and rescheduling but I fell out of touch. I never knew he was having health issues; he’d never brought it up but I guess that’s just the kind of guy he was. I’m saddened that I never spoke to him more often but am incredibly grateful that I ever had the chance to speak with him at all to find out what a great person he was from our short interactions.