John Ashley was a Kansas City-born actor who broke into the movies in the late 1950s in a series of low-budget melodramas, such as MOTORCYCLE GANG, HOT ROD GANG, and FRANKENSTEIN'S DAUGHTER. Handsome and blessed with a terrific speaking voice, Ashley eventually made his way to American International Pictures, where he co-starred with other young stars like Frankie Avalon and his wife Deborah Walley in frothy comedies like BIKINI BEACH and SERGEANT DEADHEAD.
Something of a self-starter who was probably getting bored with formulaic comedies and TV guest shots, Ashley went to the Philippines in 1968 to star in a series of cheap, colorful horror movies that became known as the Blood Island trilogy: BRIDES OF BLOOD, MAD DOCTOR OF BLOOD ISLAND, and BEAST OF BLOOD. More importantly, he started producing them too, and cranked out several lurid horror pictures of independent distributors like Hemisphere Pictures and Roger Corman's New World Pictures. In fact, Ashley's BEAST OF THE YELLOW NIGHT was the first film distributed to theaters by New World.
By the end of the 1970s, Ashley had retired from acting and become a full-time producer. One of his jobs was producing THE A-TEAM for Stephen J. Cannell, who remembered Ashley's acting career when it came time to create the opening titles for the series. Not only did Ashley supply the familiar A-TEAM narration (admit it--you know it by heart), but Cannell also tapped him to narrate the opening of HARDCASTLE & MCCORMICK a year later.
In case you've always wondered who that voice was, here's John Ashley in THE A-TEAM and HARDCASTLE & MCCORMICK:
Both themes were composed by Mike Post and Pete Carpenter.