|Melvin Jerome Blank [Mel Blanc]
Stage, Radio, Television, Animation and Film Actor
Birthplace: San Francisco, California, U.S.A.
1936 The Jello Program
1936 The Joe Penner Show
1938 Mickey Mouse Theater Of the Air
1938 Fibber McGee and Company
1938 The Pepsodent Show
1939 Fibber McGee and Molly
1939 Texaco Star Theater
1939 Al Pearce and His Gang
1940 Community Mobililzation For Human Needs
1942 The Great Gildersleeve
1942 Command Performance
1942 The Abbott and Costello Show
1942 The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show
1943 This Is My Story
1943 The Jack Benny Program
1943 The Al Jolson Program
1943 G.I. Journal
1943 Lux Radio Theatre
1943 Camel Comedy Caravan
1943 The Judy Canova Show
1943 The Lifebuoy Show
1944 Radio Almanac
1944 Radio Hall Of Fame
1944 Mail Call
1944 The Lucky Strike Program
1944 The Electric Hour
1945 Christmas Seal Campaign
1945 The Life Of Riley
1945 Request Performance
1945 The Danny Kaye Show
1945 Pabst Blue Ribbon Town
1945 Maxwell House Coffee Time
1946 The Mel Blanc Show
1946 Stars In the Afternoon
1947 Boston Blackie
1947 Point Sublime
1948 The Jack Benny Show
1948 Ellery Queen
1949 The Amos 'n' Andy Show
1949 Challenge Of the Yukon
1950 The Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show
1951 Family Theater
1954 Salute To the 1954 Easter Seal Campaign
1955 The Dennis Day Show
Here's To Veterans
Are You A Genius?
To the Rear March
The Cisco Kid
Mel Blanc circa 1945
Radio, Film, Television and Animation's legendary 'man of a thousand voices' Mel Blanc appeared as 'Mr. Postman' and other wacky characters during the Burns and Allen Swan Soap run
|From the December 21st 1946 Portsmouth Times:
MR. B. IS ON WAY
FOR TOP BILLING
Bugs Bunny Relates Hare-
Raising 'From Rabbits
To Riches' Saga
Probably none of Hollywood's top stars realizes it, but they're all in grave danger of losing their favored positions to a four-footed fugitive from a cartoonist's ink bottle.
This long-eared pretender to the cinema throne is Warner Brothers' popular leading man, "Bugs Bunny", whose rabbity escapades have zoomed him to filmtown heights.
In a dressing room between scenes of his latest picture, "Rhapsody Rabbit", which began Friday at the Laroy theater, America's No. 1 carrot connoisseur gave his own version of "from rabbits to riches".
"Yeah, Doc, I'll be glad to tell ya about my hare-raising exploits," began Mr. B. "If there's one thing I love to talk about it's myself. What's more interesting, anyway?
It's Strictly Platonic
"But Doc, keep your nose clean and don't go sayin' t'ings about yours truly dat ain't true. I'm on to youse guys--first t'ing ya know you'll be startin' a big romance up between me and dat cute little number I was visitin' out in de cabbage patch las' night. Dat's strictly Platonic, Doc, so don't go gettin' any ideas!"
Mr. B. stopped momentarily to select another carrot and then continued in a reminiscent mood: "Ya know, Doc, for my age I've come a good long way . . . but dat's to be expected from someone of my caliber, eh? It all began back in 1936 when I made my deboo as an extra in a cartoon featurin' dat big bum, Elmer Fudd. I was one of Elmer's intended victims, but somehow I didn't create any furor.
"Agony, agony, I was completely forgotten for over two years while de world did its best to get along widout me. But class will tell, and den I returned to de screen in a 'quickie'. I wowed 'em dat time, Doc! Knocked 'em right in de aisles, as dey say in de movie business. An' I kept right on goin from dere!"
Admits He's Modest
Pausing to pick out a sliver of carrot from his prominent bicuspids, Mr. B. went on:
"Of course, Doc, I'm a modest character. I'll admit dat I'm de combined product of over 200 men and women of Warner Brothers' Cartoons, Inc., in Hollywood.
"You might quote me as saying dat de Messrs. Charles M. Jones, Isadore Frelong, Bob McKimson, Tedd Pierce and Michael Maltese are all responsible. Even my voice is not me own--it belongs to Mel Blanc, a swell gent who's allergic to carrots!"
Bugs smiled and added: "Don't know how I do it, Doc. I'm just wot de American public loves. Dey call me de 'Bogart of de Cartoons' or de 'Errol Flynn of de Drawing Board'.
"But you'll have to excuse me now, Doc. I see I'm due back on de set. Ya know how it is wid us artists, Doc: de show must go on!"
From the March 10th 1967 issue of Pacific Stars and Stripes:
--One Is Special
By MEL BLANC
IN HOLLYWOOD, they tell me, I'm known as "the man of a thousand voices." Like most Hollywood labels, this is an exaggeration, but where voices are concerned I do have quite a few.
Such cartoon characters as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Woody Woodpecker, Porky Pig, Sylvester Cat and Tweety are all close friends of mine for the very good reason that they have to borrow my vocal chords before they can say anything. It's one of those slightly zany jobs that are good fun, pay well and bring other people innocent pleasure, and I wouldn't change it for the world.
But a few years back the man of a thousand voices found himself listening to one small voice that he had never paid much attention to before. The voice was inside him.
I believe this same small voice is inside every one of us, but we're too busy or preoccupied or self-satisfied to listen. Sometimes it takes a terrific jolt, and the silence that follows that kind of jolt, before the voice can make itself heard.
In my case, the jolt was nearly fatal. One night as I was hugging a curve in my little sports car, an automobile coming the other way went out of control. There was a head-on collision at a combined speed of about 90 miles per hour.
When they pried what was left of me out of the wreckage and rushed me to the hospital, they found that the only bone in my body that wasn't broken was my left arm.
When I finally came out of the fog of anesthesia, back to a world of pain, the first thing I saw was Jack Benny sitting by my bed, looking miserable.
I SUMMONED all my strength and whispered, "I'm going to make it, Jack." He said, "You'll have to make it, because I can't do my show without you."
In the weeks that followed, I think I survived chiefly on the power of prayerother people's prayers. I had never realized how much good will my cartoon characters had built up for me.
Hundreds of letters came from all over the world with prayers for my recovery.
It was like being supported and sustained by a great flood tide of affection, of concern, of love. I'm convinced that it helped my shattered body begin to slowly heal itself. I also think it enveloped me in a kind of serenity that made it possible for me to hear a small, quiet, inner voice.
This voice did not speak to me in words; it was more like a sudden awareness of truths that had been around me all the time, truths that I had been too impatient and too self-centered to see.
For example, I had always taken my talent for voice characterizations pretty much for granted. After all,
But now I began to realize that talent is a gift, a gift that can be withdrawn at any time, an unmerited gift that can be repaid only by-a sense of constant, humble gratitude to the Giver.
Another awareness was of a quiet but mighty undercurrent of justice that runs through human affairs. I began to see that the universe really is an echo chamber, where sooner or later the thoughts you have and the deeds you do are reflected back to you.
FOR EXAMPLE, some years before my accident, a friend of mine named Harry Lange had a heart attack while playing the part of Pancho in "The Cisco Kid." I offered to fill in for him for quite a long time26 weeks, I think it wasand so during this period the studio was able to keep on sending his paycheck to his wife.
Now, suddenly, the tables were turned; I was the one who was incapacitated. But like an echo, out of the past came an offer from Shep Menkin, a talented friend of mine: "Let me do your voices while you're laid up; I'll make sure that your family gets the money."
As it turned out, I didn't have to take Shep up on his offer. For a whole year I remained immobilized in a full cast, but thanks to the devotion of my family, and the ingenuity of my wife who turned our home into a combined sanitarium and recording studio, I was able to make the sound tracks that kept 125 people at Warner's working full-time.
But the most valuable single thing that my inner voice taught me was the importance of expressing affection. I don't think that before my accident I was any more remiss than most people in this regard. But lying there in my cast, I recalled how my efforts in the past to tell people that I was grateful for their friendship, or to thank them for caring about me, seemed hopelessly inadequate.
And so I began to make a deliberate, effort to set this right. To Jack Benny I said, "I want you to know how much I admire and appreciate and love you."
I expressed such feelings to other people too. Maybe they were a little startled, or even momentarily embarrassed. But every time, I'd feel a surge of warmth and closeness that strengthened the bond between us.
(From the magazine Guideposts and copyright, 1967, by Guideposts Associates, Carniol, N.Y.)
From the 82-08-27 Pacific Stars and Stripes:
By JOHN STRACHAN
KIDS HAVE BEEN GOOD to Mel Blanc.
While he was recovering from a near-fatal automobile accident 21 years ago, Blanc found out that he had given birth to more than just the voices of such cartoon characters as Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig and Sylvester the Cat. The sad-eyed ex-tuba player from Portland, Ore., had become those characters and countless others to a generation of children who were entertained by the Warner Bros, movie and television cartoon menageries.
Kids would send me something that belonged to them, like a penny or something, in a letter and say, 'Please don't die, Bugs Bunny.' " says Blanc who, at age 74, still works at the craft he all but invented nearly 50 years ago.
That's when 1 really started to appreciate kids."
The man behind the rabbit is now a popular speaker on college campuses.
It gives him a chance to meet the children who have since grown up but not away from his creations, which have appeared in an estimated 5,000 cartoons.
In a recent appearance in Schenectady, N.Y., at Union College his 135th before a collegiate audience the mostly teen-aged crowd gave Blanc a standing ovation that nearly drowned out the inevitable opener, "What's up, doc?"
As he does for children, Blanc has a soft spot in his heart for Bugs Bunny, the cartoon rabbit he gave name and voice in 1938, a year after he went under contract to Warner Bros.
"They were going to call him 'Hoppy Hare,' and he was supposed to say something like 'What's cooking?' " says Blanc, whose choice of a catch-phrase for the smart-aleck rabbit prevailed and became one of the most recognizable in the world.
"When I saw his picture, I tried to pick out the toughest accent in the country for him," says Blanc. "I figured it was either the Bronx or Brooklyn, so I combined them."
It was that sort of thought that went into the development of his other characterizations, like Yosemite Sam, Elmer Fudd, Porky Pig and Daffy Duck.
A trip to a farm convinced the city-bred Blanc that a pig would have to stutter. And because of its long bill, he reasoned, if a duck could talk at all it would probably speak with difficulty like Daffy.
"But you've still got to be able to understand him," says Blanc, an apparent reference to another, less-understandable cartoon duck from the Disney studio.
All good-natured professional sniping aside, Blanc did work in one Walt Disney film the 1940 production of Pinocchio.
"I got $50 a day for 16 days of work doing a cat that hiccupped," he says.
"Then the Disney people decided that a hiccupping cat sounded like it was drunk, so they cut out all but one of them and ended up with an $800 hiccup."
Although he claims he got them only in lieu of a raise, his screen credits "Voice Characterizations by Mel Blanc" brought him the recognition that led to a parallel career in radio in the 1930s and 1940s.
It was a medium custom-made for a man who claims to have more than 400 different voices at his disposal.
At one time, Blanc was doing 18 radio shows a week. Listeners could tune in almost any time and hear him on the Judy Canova Show, Burns and Allen, Fibber McCee and Molly, or Abbott and Costello.
Parodying an ethnic group or nationality at a time when Americans were less sensitive to such humor was simple enough for Blanc and other comedians of the day. It was the special characterizations that had him in demand.
"It got to be a game," he says. "The writers were always trying to throw me a curve."
Blanc returned every challenge, giving voice to everything from a goldfish to a drunken bull to an English racehorse.
But the students in Schenectady who knew him for his characterizations of Barney Rubble of the Flintstones, the Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote seemed unaware of Blanc's contribution to radio.
Blanc was a regular on the Jack Benny show where be helped perpetuate the comedic image of Benny as a vain, self-centered skinflint.
He was the sound of Benny's ancient Maxwell automobile, the voice of Prof. LeBlanc, the comedian's longsuffering violin teacher, and the roar of Carmichael, the bear who guarded the notorious Benny vault.
He was Benny's wise-cracking parrot, the melancholy Mexican and the Union Depot train conductor calling in vain for riders to "Anaheim, Azusa and Cucamonga."
Blanc defends cartoons against critics of children's programming, who complain of television violence.
There's no violence in the Warner Bros, cartoons. If you see someone dropped off a cliff, they're back in the next scene. That's not violence. It's slapstick comedy."
Most of Blanc's work these days is in TV commercials, some of them done by the production company he operates in Southern California with the son he's groomed to lake his place eventually.
"I taught him all the voices. He can do every one of them."
From the July 11th 1989 edition of the Capital Times:
From News Services
Famed voice creator
Mel Blanc dies
LOS ANGELES - Mel Blanc, who entertained generations of cartoon viewers as the voice of Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, Barney Rubble, Tweety and hundreds of other characters, died Monday following a lengthy hospital stay. He was 81.
The creator of such classic cartoon trademarks as Bugs Bunny's "Eh, what's up, Doc?" Porky Pig's "Th-th-th-th-that's all f-f-f-folks" and Road Runner's "Beep, Beep" died at 2:30 p.m. from complications of heart disease and other ailments at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, said hospital spokesman Ron Wise.
He had been suffering from cardiac problems and emphysema when admitted May 19.
Blanc performed the voices on 850 cartoons for Warner Bros, in a career spanning more than 50 years. His versatility was so profound that few would have presumed just one actor was behind so many markedly different characters. He also performed voices on countless other cartoons, such as "The Flintstones" for Hanna-Barbera,
and commercials and radio fillers.
In an interview last November, he estimated he had done 900 voices in all.
"Those voices were part of him, and he loved every moment of it," said his son, Noel. "When the kids would come to the door or in the studio, he became those characters."
Blanc made a car commercial on the day he went into the hospital "and the last thing he said on the commerical the only thing he said was 'That's all folks,' and that's the last thing that was recorded on tape," his son said.
"The reservoir of Hollywood legends is extremely low, and Mel Blanc's passing is a deep personal loss," said longtime friend Mickey Rooney.
Working decades before the advent of high-tech sound effects, Blanc was a human synthesizer and a verbal computer. It has been estimated that more than 20 million people hear his voices daily.
Blanc had a "magnificently versatile voice," said Robert A. Daly, Warner's chairman and chief executive
officer. "Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, Daffy Duck, Sylvester the Cat, Tweety and so many more they were all Mel Blanc."
Besides Warner Bros., Blanc worked for other animated filmmakers, playing the part of the hyperactive,
yammering Dino, Fred Flintstone's pet dinosaur. Within the industry he was known as "The Man of a Thousand Voices."
Blanc said he once tried to count all the cartoon voices he did, while recuperating in 1961 from a near-fatal car accident. He said he fell asleep shortly after passing the 400 mark.
Blanc's last cartoon contribution came with 1988's popular animation-live action film, "Who Framed Roger Rabbit," in which he did the voices of Daffy, Tweety, Bugs and Sylvester. He wrote an autobiography that year, "That's Not All, Folks: My Life in the Golden Age of Cartoons and Radio."
Blanc also played the voice of the robot Twiki on the live-action television series "Buck Rogers in the 25th Century."
Blanc said in an interview last year that Bugs Bunny originally called Happy Rabbit was his favorite. "Everybody knows who I am, Doc," he said in the character's voice. "I don't cayuh where dey are or who dey are. Even in Mars dey know about me."
Blanc introduced Bugs Bunny in the 1940 short "A Wild Hare," giving the cartoon rabbit a combination Bronx and Brooklyn accent.
Blanc invented the voices of such well-known cartoon figures as Woody Woodpecker, Speedy Gonzalez, Pepe Le Pew, Tasmanian Devil, Road Runner, Foghorn Leghorn, Heathcliffe the cat, Speed Buggy and Yosemite Sam.
He also did voices for Mr. Spacely on "The Jetsons" and the Frito Bandito. In 1987, Blanc performed in the Daffy Duck short "The Duxorcist," marking the return of Looney Tunes movie shorts after a 20-year absence. He also worked on the 1988 short "The Night of the Living Duck," which kicked off the New York Film Festival.
Blanc called Bugs his favorite character, although he hated the taste of carrots he chewed for sound effects and spit the uneaten remains in the trash can.
But for all his fame as the voices of cartoon characters, the most Warner Bros, ever paid him for his vocal skills was $20,000, and the studio retained the rights to the phrases Blanc invented.