Mel Blanc: Man of a Thousand Voices

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Although you may have never seen Mel Blanc's face, you've definitely heard his voice -- he voiced hundreds of classic cartoon characters including Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, Speedy Gonzales, Barney Rubble, Foghorn Leghorn, and bunches more. Known as the "man of a thousand voices," he actually claims roughly 400 voices in the video below -- a late 80's interview with David Letterman (Blanc died in 1989).

In the interview, Letterman asks Blanc how he develops the characters' voices. Blanc replies, "They show me a picture of the character, and then they show me a storyboard which shows what the character is going to do in the cartoon. From this I have to create the voice. Like, Bugs they said was a 'tough little stinker.' So I thought, 'Which is the toughest voice in this country? The Brooklyn or the Bronx?' [speaking in Bugs Bunny voice] So I, uh, put the two of them together, and that's how I got the voice of Bugs, doc!" (Blanc's tombstone bears the motto "That's All Folks")

Watch as a master performs a few of his famous voices and explains his process. After the jump (below the video) is a partial list of his most notable cartoon voices, cribbed from Wikipedia.

  • Porky Pig (1936-1989, assumed from Joe Dougherty)
  • The Maxwell (Jack Benny's car in "The Mouse that Jack Built")
  • Daffy Duck (1937-1989)
  • Bugs Bunny's prototype/Happy Rabbit (1938-1940)
  • Bugs Bunny (1940-1989)
  • Woody Woodpecker (1940-1941)
  • Hiawatha (1941)
  • Cecil Turtle (1941-1947)
  • Tweety Bird (1942-1989)
  • Private Snafu, numerous World War II related cartoons (1943)
  • Yosemite Sam (1945-1987)
  • Pepe Le Pew (1945-1989)
  • Sylvester (1945-1989) aka Thomas (1947) in some films.
  • Foghorn Leghorn (1946-1987)
  • The Barnyard Dawg (1946-1989)
  • Henery Hawk (1946-1989)
  • Charlie Dog (1947)
  • Mac (of Mac & Tosh) (1947)
  • K-9 (1948) (sidekick to Marvin the Martian)
  • Marvin the Martian (1948-1989)
  • Sylvester J. Pussycat, Jr. Mel also plays Sylvester's son Sylvester Junior when the young cat was introduced (1949)
  • Beaky Buzzard (1950)
  • Curt Martin (1950-1 episode Hillbilly Hare)
  • Elmer Fudd (1950, 1958, 1970s and 1980s, replacing Arthur Q. Bryan)
  • Bruno the Bear (1951)
  • Wile E. Coyote (silent until 1952, first spoke in the short "Operation: Rabbit")
  • Speedy Gonzales (1953)
  • The Tasmanian Devil (1954-1960) aka Taz
  • Barney Rubble (1960-1989)
  • Dino (1960-1989) (Fred Flintstone's pet.)
  • Cosmo G. Spacely (1962-1989)
  • Hardy Har Har (1962-1964)
  • Tom Cat and Jerry Mouse (1963-1967)
  • Secret Squirrel (1965-1966)
  • Frito Bandito (1967-1971)
  • Bubba McCoy from "Where's Huddles?"
  • Chugga-Boom/Yak Yak/The Bully Brothers also from "The Perils of Penelope Pitstop"
  • Speed Buggy (1973)
  • Tucker the Mouse from "The Cricket in Times Square" (1973) and two sequels
  • Captain Caveman (1977)
  • Twiki from Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (1979)
  • Heathcliff (1980, appeared in syndication from 1984-1987)
  • Gideon from Pinocchio
  • Bertie Mouse (of Hubie and Bertie)
  • Marc Antony
  • Moo the Cow in Berkeley Farms Radio Ads. "Farms in Berkeley....Moooo"
  • Officer Short Shrift, several Lethargians, three out of five of the royal palace guards, The Word Speller, The Dodecahedron, and The Demon of Insincerity from The Phantom Tollbooth (1969)

You can read more about Mel Blanc at Wikipedia.

(Via Kung Fu Grippe.)

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November 18, 2009 - 8:21am
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