- Mel Blanc
Blanc in 1976
Born Melvin Jerome Blank
May 30, 1908
San Francisco, California, U.S.
Died July 10, 1989(aged 81)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Cause of death Heart Disease Nationality American Other names "The Man of 1000 Voices" Alma mater Lincoln High School Occupation Voice actor/Comedian Years active 1927–89 Spouse Estelle Rosenbaum
(1933–89; his death)
Melvin Jerome "Mel" Blanc (May 30, 1908 – July 10, 1989) was an American voice actor and comedian. Although he began his nearly six-decade-long career performing in radio commercials, Blanc is best remembered for his work with Warner Bros. during the "Golden Age of American animation" (and later for Hanna-Barbera television productions) as the voice of such well-known characters as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Taz, Sylvester the Cat, Tweety Bird, Foghorn Leghorn, Yosemite Sam, Wile E. Coyote, Woody Woodpecker, Barney Rubble, Mr. Spacely, Speed Buggy, Captain Caveman, Heathcliff, Speedy Gonzales, Tom and Jerry, Bosko and hundreds of others. Having earned the nickname “The Man of a Thousand Voices,” Blanc is regarded as one of the most influential people in the voice-acting industry.
At the time of his death, it was estimated that 20 million people heard his voice every day.
Blanc was born Melvin Jerome Blank in San Francisco, California, to Jewish parents Frederick and Eva Blank. He grew up in Portland, Oregon, attending Lincoln High School. He claimed that when he was 16, he changed the spelling from "Blank" to "Blanc" because a teacher told him that he would amount to nothing and be, like his name, a "blank". Blanc joined The Order of DeMolay as a young man, and was eventually inducted into its Hall of Fame.
Blanc began his radio career in 1927 as a voice actor on the KGW program The Hoot Owls, where his ability to provide voices for multiple characters first attracted attention. He moved to KEX in 1933 to produce and host his Cobweb And Nuts show, which debuted on June 15. The program played Monday through Saturday from 11:00 pm to midnight, and by the time the show ended two years later, it appeared from 10:30 pm to 11:00 pm.
Blanc moved to Warner Bros.-owned KFWB in Hollywood, California, in 1935. He joined The Johnny Murray Show, but the following year switched to CBS Radio and The Joe Penner Show. Blanc was a regular on the NBC Red Network show The Jack Benny Program in various roles, including voicing Benny's Maxwell automobile (in desperate need of a tune-up), violin teacher Professor LeBlanc, Polly the Parrot, Benny's pet polar bear Carmichael, the tormented department store clerk, and the train announcer (see below).
One of Blanc's most memorable characters from Benny's radio (and later TV) programs was "Sy, the Little Mexican", who spoke one word at a time. The famous "Sí...Sy...sew...Sue" routine was so effective that no matter how many times it was performed, the laughter was always there, thanks to the comedic timing of Blanc and Benny.
At times, sharp-eyed audience members (and later, TV viewers) could see Benny struggling to keep a straight face; Blanc's absolute dead-pan delivery was a formidable challenge for him. Benny's daughter, Joan, recalls that Mel Blanc was one of her father's closest friends in real life, because "nobody else on the show could make him laugh the way Mel could."
Another famous Blanc shtick on Jack's show was the train depot announcer who inevitably intoned, sidelong, "Train leaving on Track Five for Anaheim, Azusa, and Cucamonga". Part of the joke was the Angeleno studio audience's awareness that no such train existed connecting those then-small towns (years before Disneyland opened). To the wider audience, the primary joke was the pregnant pause that evolved over time between "Cuc.." and "...amonga"; eventually, minutes would pass while the skit went on as the audience awaited the inevitable conclusion of the word. (At least once, a completely different skit followed before the inevitable “...amonga” finally appeared.)
Benny's writers would regularly try to "stump" Blanc by asking him to perform supposedly impossible vocal effects and characterizations, such as an "English horse whinny" and a goldfish. For the latter, Mel walked up to the microphone and pursed his lips several times, making no noise.
Blanc's success on The Jack Benny Program led to his own radio show on the CBS Radio Network, The Mel Blanc Show, which ran from September 3, 1946, to June 24, 1947. Blanc played himself as the hapless owner of a fix-it shop, as well as his young cousin Zookie (who sounded quite a bit like Porky Pig). Many episodes required Mel to impersonate an exotic foreigner or other stranger in town, ostensibly for carrying out a minor deception on his girlfriend's father, but of course simply as a vehicle for him to show off his talents. Other regular characters were played by Mary Jane Croft, Joseph Kearns, Hans Conried, Alan Reed, Earle Ross, Jim Backus, Bea Benaderet and The Sportsmen Quartet, who would supply a song and sing the Colgate Tooth Powder commercials. (Blanc would later work with Reed and Benaderet on The Flintstones.) Shows usually adhered to a predictable formula, involving a date with his girl Betty Colby (Mary Jane Croft) and trying to either impress her father or at least avoid angering him. However, Mr. Colby (Earle Ross) usually had occasion to deliver his trademark line, "Mel Blanc, I'm going to break every bone in your body!"
Blanc appeared frequently on The Great Gildersleeve, uncredited, often voicing two or more supporting characters in a single episode: deliverymen in "Planting a Tree" and "Father's Day Chair" also "Gus", a petty crook in the latter; a radio station manager and a policeman in "Mystery Singer", and many others.
Blanc also appeared on such other national radio programs as The Abbott and Costello Show, the Happy Postman on Burns and Allen, and as August Moon on Point Sublime. During World War II, he appeared as Private Sad Sack on various radio shows, most notably G.I. Journal. The character of Sad Sack was a bumbling Army private with an even worse stutter than Porky Pig. ("I'm Lieutena-eh-Lieutena-eh-Capta-eh-Majo-eh-Colone-eh-p-p-Private Sad Sack.")
Animation voice work during the Golden Age of Hollywood
In 1936, Mel Blanc joined Leon Schlesinger Productions, which made animated cartoons distributed by Warner Bros. Blanc liked to tell the story about how he got turned down at the Schlesinger studio by music director Norman Spencer, who was in charge of cartoon voices, saying that they had all the voices they needed. Then Spencer died, and sound man Treg Brown took charge of cartoon voices, while Carl Stalling took over as music director. Brown introduced Blanc to animation directors Tex Avery, Bob Clampett, Friz Freleng, and Frank Tashlin, who loved his voices. The first cartoon Blanc worked on was Picador Porky as the voice of a drunken bull. He took over as Porky Pig's voice in Porky's Duck Hunt, which marked the debut of Daffy Duck, also voiced by Blanc.
Blanc soon became noted for voicing a wide variety of cartoon characters, adding Bugs Bunny, Tweety Bird, Pepé Le Pew and many others. His natural voice was that of Sylvester the Cat, but without the lispy spray. (Blanc's voice can be heard in an episode of The Beverly Hillbillies that also featured frequent Blanc vocal foil Bea Benaderet; in his small appearance, Blanc plays a vexed cab-driver.)
In his later years, Blanc claimed that a handful of late 1930s and early 1940s Warner cartoons that each featured a rabbit clearly a precursor of Bugs Bunny all actually dealt with a single character named Happy Rabbit. No use of this name by other Termite Terrace personnel, then or later, has ever been documented, however. Happy Rabbit was noted for his laugh which became more famous as the laugh of Woody Woodpecker (of which Blanc was the original voice) until he won an exclusive contract with Warner Bros. which meant he couldn't do Woody's voice anymore as the Woody Woodpecker cartoons were produced by Walter Lantz Productions and distributed by Universal Pictures. Blanc later recorded "The Woody Woodpecker Song" for Capitol Records.
Though his best-known character was a carrot-chomping rabbit, munching on the carrots interrupted the dialogue. Various substitutes, such as celery, were tried, but none of them sounded like a carrot. So for the sake of expedience, he would munch and then spit the carrot bits into a spittoon rather than swallowing them, and continue with the dialogue. One oft-repeated story is that he was allergic to carrots and had to spit them out to minimize any allergic reaction; but his autobiography makes no such claim; in fact, in a 1984 interview with Tim Lawson, co-author of The Magic Behind The Voices: A Who's Who of Cartoon Voice Actors (University Press of Mississippi, 2004), Blanc emphatically denied being allergic to carrots. In a Straight Dope column, a Blanc confidante confirmed that Blanc only spit out the carrots because of time constraints, and not because of allergies or general dislike.
Blanc said his most challenging job was voicing Yosemite Sam; it was rough on the throat because of Sam’s sheer volume and raspiness. (Foghorn Leghorn's voice was similarly raucous, but to a lesser degree.) Late in life, he reprised several of his classic voices for Who Framed Roger Rabbit, but deferred to Joe Alaskey to do Yosemite Sam's and Foghorn Leghorn's voices.
Throughout his career, Blanc was well aware of his talents and protected the rights to them contractually and legally. He, and later his estate, did not hesitate to take civil action when those rights were violated. Voice actors usually got no screen credits at all, but Blanc was a notable exception; by 1944, his contract stipulated a credit reading "Voice characterization by Mel Blanc." Blanc asked for and received this screen credit from studio boss Leon Schlesinger when Leon objected to giving Blanc a raise in pay. Other frequent Warner voice artists, such as Arthur Q. Bryan (Elmer Fudd), Stan Freberg (Pete Puma among many other characters), June Foray (Granny) and Bea Benaderet (many female voices), remained uncredited on-screen. However, Freberg did receive screen credit for Three Little Bops, a musical spoof of The Three Little Pigs, directed by Friz Freleng. Freberg is a frequent contributor to the various Golden Collection projects that showcase the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies. Blanc, himself, is often spoken of with reverence by younger voice specialists in those DVD collections.
Blanc's screen credit was noticed by radio show producers, who gave him more radio work as a result. It wouldn't be until the early '60s that the other voice actors and actresses became credited on Warner Brothers theatrical cartoons.
The Warner cartoons were filled with references to the popular media of film and radio, including references to The Jack Benny Program, whose various gags frequently found their way into Warner scripts voiced by Blanc. For example:
- Bugs was known for repeating Benny's catchphrase, "Now cut that out!"
- The "Anaheim, Azusa and Cuc...amonga" joke was once used by Daffy Duck in the cartoon Daffy Duck Slept Here.
- Frank Nelson's "Yeeeeees?" would be invoked by minor characters from time to time.
- Blanc's imitations of sputtering cars, squawking parrots, whinnying horses, etc., would be invoked frequently in both series.
- On the March 28, 1954 episode of Benny's radio program, Benny encounters Bugs Bunny in a dream.
The ultimate clash of the mythos occurred with the 1959 release of the Warner Bros. cartoon The Mouse that Jack Built. Directed by Robert McKimson, the cartoon features the cast of the Benny radio and TV program drawn as mice. Blanc was credited as the voice of the Maxwell, and besides Benny, co-stars Mary Livingstone, Eddie "Rochester" Anderson, and Don Wilson all reprised their Benny show roles.
Voice work for Hanna-Barbera and others
In the early 1960s, after the expiration of his exclusive contract with Warner Brothers, Blanc went to Hanna-Barbera and continued to voice various characters, his most famous being Barney Rubble from The Flintstones (whose dopey laugh is similar to Foghorn Leghorn's booming chuckle) and Mr. Spacely from The Jetsons (similar to Yosemite Sam, but not as raucous). Daws Butler and Don Messick were Hanna-Barbera's top voice men when Blanc began providing voices for the company.
Blanc did those voices plus others for such ensemble cartoons as Wacky Races and The Perils of Penelope Pitstop for Hanna-Barbera in the late '60s. Blanc shared the spotlight with his two professional rivals and personal friends, Butler and Messick: In a short called Lippy the Lion, Butler was Lippy, while Blanc was his hyena sidekick, Hardy Har-Har, and Don Messick was usually the guest villain or other supporting characters. In the short Ricochet Rabbit, Messick was the voice of the gun slinging rabbit, while Blanc was his sidekick, Deputy Droop-a-Long Coyote.
In addition, Blanc was the first person to play Toucan Sam in Froot Loops commercials, using a slightly cartoonish version of his natural voice. (The ad agency later decided to give Sam an upper-crust English accent and replaced Blanc with Paul Frees.)
Blanc reprised some of his Warner Brothers characters when the studio contracted to make new theatrical cartoons in the mid-to-late 1960s. For these, Blanc voiced Daffy Duck and Speedy Gonzales, the characters who received the most frequent use in these shorts (later, newly introduced characters such as Cool Cat and Merlin the Magic Mouse were voiced by Larry Storch). Blanc also continued to voice the Looney Tunes characters on the bridging sequences for The Bugs Bunny Show and in numerous animated advertisements.
Car accident and aftermath
On January 24, 1961, Blanc was involved in a near-fatal car accident on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. Hit head-on, Blanc suffered a triple skull fracture that left him in a coma for three weeks, along with fractures of both legs and the pelvis.
The accident prompted over 15,000 get-well cards from anxious fans, including some addressed only to "Bugs Bunny, Hollywood, USA", according to Blanc's autobiography. One newspaper falsely reported that he had died. After his recovery, Blanc reported in TV interviews, and later in his autobiography, that a clever doctor had helped him to come out of his coma by talking as-if to Bugs Bunny, after futile efforts to talk directly to Blanc. Although he had no actual recollection of this, Blanc's wife and son swore to him that when the doctor was inspired to ask him, "How are you today, Bugs Bunny?", Blanc answered in Bugs' voice. Blanc thus credited Bugs with saving his life.
Blanc returned home from the UCLA Medical Center on March 17 to the cheers of more than 150 friends and neighbors. On March 22, he filed a US$500,000 lawsuit against the city of Los Angeles. His accident, one of 26 in the preceding two years at the intersection, resulted in the city funding restructuring curves at the location.
Years later, Blanc revealed that during his recovery, his son Noel "ghosted" several Warner Brothers cartoons' voice tracks for him. At the time of the accident, Blanc was also serving as the voice of Barney Rubble in The Flintstones. His absence from the show would be relatively brief; Daws Butler provided the voice of Rubble for a few episodes, after which the show's producers set up recording equipment in Blanc's hospital room and later, at his house to allow him to work from his residence. Some of the recordings were made while he was in full-body cast while he lay flat on his back, with the other Flintstones co-stars gathered around him. He also returned to The Jack Benny Program to film the program's 1961 Christmas show, moving around via crutches and/or a wheelchair.
Contrary to popular belief, Blanc was not one of hundreds of individuals that George Lucas auditioned to provide the voice for the character of C-3PO in the original Star Wars film. That distinction instead fell to fellow voice actor Stan Freberg, and it was Freberg who ultimately suggested that the producers use mime actor Anthony Daniels' own voice in the role.
After spending most of two seasons voicing the robot Twiki in Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, Blanc's last original character, in the early 1980s, was Heathcliff, who spoke a little like Bugs Bunny. Blanc continued to voice his famous characters in commercials and TV specials for most of the decade, although he increasingly left the "yelling" characters like Yosemite Sam, Foghorn Leghorn and The Tasmanian Devil to other voice actors, as performing these were too hard on his throat. One of his last recording sessions was for a new animated theatrical version of The Jetsons.
Blanc died on July 10, 1989 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California of heart disease and emphysema. He was interred in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Hollywood, California. Blanc's will stated his desire to have the inscription on his gravestone read, "THAT'S ALL FOLKS," (the phrase was a trademark of the character Porky Pig, for whom Blanc created the voice.)
Blanc's death was considered a significant loss to the cartoon industry because of his skill, expressive range, and sheer volume of continuing characters he portrayed, which are currently taken up by several other voice talents. Indeed, as movie critic Leonard Maltin once pointed out, "It is astounding to realize that Tweety Bird and Yosemite Sam are the same man!"
That range was partially aided by recording technology; for instance, Blanc's standard Daffy Duck voice is essentially his Sylvester voice played a few percent faster than it was recorded to give it a higher pitch, as well as pronouncing "s" with a "th" sound. Blanc would later develop the skill to reproduce such "sped-up" voices himself live as necessary. Other Blanc character voices that were given this special treatment included Porky Pig, Henery Hawk, and Speedy Gonzales.
After his death, Blanc's voice continued to be heard in newly released properties. In particular, a recording of his Dino the Dinosaur from the 1960s Flintstones series was used without a screen credit in the 1994 live-action theatrical film based upon the series. This resulted in legal action against the film studio by the Blanc estate, which claimed his recordings were used without permission or proper credit. The credit was later added to the home release of the movie. Less problematic was the retention of older recordings of Blanc as Uncle Orville and a pet bird in the 1994 update of the Carousel of Progress attraction at Walt Disney World, despite cast changes in other roles. Blanc's distinctive voice can still be heard in the Audio-Animatronic presentation. In addition, Blanc's archive recordings of the Maxwell are used for the AMC Gremlin in the 2003 film Looney Tunes: Back in Action and his recordings of Daffy Duck's Rhapsody, I Tawt I Taw A Puddy Tat and an untitled Road Runner cartoon will be used in three new Looney Tunes cartoons, including Daffy's Rhapsody, which will be released with Happy Feet 2 on November 18, 2011.
Blanc is regarded as one of, if not the, most prolific voice actor(s) in the history of the industry. He was the first voice actor to get credit in the ending credits and ushered in a new era for voice actors, where they were regarded as a significant part of the creative process, rather than easy-to-replace finishing touches.
Blanc trained his son, Noel, in the field of voice characterization. Although the younger Blanc has performed his father's characters (particularly Porky Pig) on some programs, he has chosen not to become a full-time voice artist. Noel appeared in the booth as a celebrity guest for the 2002 and 2003 Chevrolet Monte Carlo 400 NASCAR Races featuring the Looney Tunes characters in themed paint schemes for Chevrolet drivers and did the voices of the characters. Noel is a regular featured guest on radio shows throughout the United States and Canada. Noel's wife, Katherine Blanc, is an artist and book author.
Mel Blanc holds a few very important records in the field of animation (none of which are currently recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records), the most famous being, of course, the "1000 Voices" he was said to have performed. Not as notable are two records of longevity: his original characterization of Daffy Duck (for over 52 years) is the longest time any animated character has been performed by his or her original voice contributor. He also voiced Porky Pig for exactly the same amount of time as Daffy — since the same cartoon (Porky's Duck Hunt) — through to his death, though Porky was not originally voiced by Blanc. Blanc was also the original voice of almost every character he voiced, leaving him as the clear runaway for the record of "Most Characters Originally Voiced By One Actor," and he almost certainly provided voices in more cartoons than any other voice actor. And to top that off, he is runner-up to his own 52-year record of his original characterization of Daffy, by voicing Bugs Bunny for almost 49 years from the date of his debut (July 27, 1940). In third place is Clarence Nash, who voiced Donald Duck for 48 and a half years.
Selected list of cartoon characters
- 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)
- Papa Panda from the Andy Panda series
- Bugs Bunny (1940–1989)
- Woody Woodpecker (1940–1941)
- Slapsie Maxie Rosenbull (1940)
- Hiawatha (1941)
- Cecil Turtle (1941–1947)
- Tweety Bird (1942–1989)
- Private Snafu, numerous World War II related cartoons (1943)
- Yosemite Sam (1945–1987)
- Pepé Le Pew (1945–1989)
- Penelope Pussycat Though typically a non-speaker, her "meows" and "purrs" were most often provided by Mel Blanc using a feminine voice.
- 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)
- Grover Groundhog (1947, singing voice only in "One Meat Brawl")
- 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)
- The Fox and Crow (voiced both characters only for the 1941 debut short "Fox and Grapes" until Frank Grahmn took the roles of the fox and crow then Paul Frees became the crow while Grahmn was still the fox till the last short in 1950)
- Elmer Fudd 1940 and 1989.
- Wile E. Coyote (silent until 1952, first spoke in the short "Operation: Rabbit")
- Speedy Gonzales (1953–1989)
- Rocky and Mugsy (Bugs and Thugs 1954)
- The Tasmanian Devil (1954–1960) aka Taz
- Ed (Jack Benny's underground valet guard in "The Mouse that Jack Built", since Joseph Kearns was unavailable to reprise his role as Ed the Vault Guard in that cartoon)
- Blacque Jacque Shellacque (1959–1962)
- Barney Rubble (1960–1989)
- Dino (1960–1989) (Fred Flintstone's pet.)
- Cosmo G. Spacely (The Jetsons, 1962–1989)
- Hardy Har Har (1962–1964)
- Tom Cat and Jerry Mouse (1963–1967)
- Sneezly Seal (1964–1967)
- 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 (1979–1981)
- Heathcliff (1980, appeared in syndication from 1984–1988)
- Scientist from SuperTed and the stolen rocket (1982)
- Gideon from Pinocchio (hiccups)
- 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)
- Go Go Gomez, Flat Top, B.B. Eyes, additional voices from The Dick Tracy Show
- Tycoon Magoo
- Worcestershire (Tycoon Magoo's butler)
List of noteworthy radio characters
Besides voicing characters on his own radio show (which ran from 1946–47) Blanc was a regular on such comedy classics as The Jack Benny Show, Burns & Allen, and Abbott & Costello, providing both voices and sound effects ranging from people to animals to backfiring cars.
- The Happy Postman (Burns & Allen)
- Professor LeBlanc (The Jack Benny Program)
- Mr. Technicolovich (Abbott & Costello)
- Sy the Mexican (Jack Benny, radio & TV)
- Himself (The Mel Blanc Show)
- Zookie (The Mel Blanc Show)
- Polly the Parrot (The Jack Benny Program)
- Carmichael the Polar Bear (The Jack Benny Program)
- Train Station Announcer (The Jack Benny Program; "Train now departing on Track Five for Ana-heim, A-zuza, and Cuc-a-monga!!")
- Christmas sales clerk (The Jack Benny Program; in most holiday episodes of the radio and TV version, Blanc would appear as a sales clerk in a department store who's driven insane by Jack's style of shopping and returning gifts.)
- The Maxwell (The Jack Benny Program)
- Mel Blanc was hired to perform the voice of Gideon the Cat in Walt Disney's Pinocchio. However, it was eventually decided for Gideon to be mute (just like Dopey, whose whimsical, Harpo Marx-style persona made him one of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs' most comic and popular characters), and all of Blanc's recorded dialogue in this film had been deleted, save for one military hiccup, which was heard three times in the film (he was still paid for all of the unused dialogue so if you consider his salary against the actual used "hiccup", he holds the record for highest paid—per word—voice-over actor). This and Who Framed Roger Rabbit are the only known work he ever did for Disney animation. He was, however, heard on occasional radio projects featuring Disney characters, such as The Mickey Mouse Theater of the Air.
- In 1949, Mel appeared in the film Neptune's Daughter with Esther Williams, Red Skelton and Ricardo Montalban.
- Blanc was one of three regular panelists in the 1955 game show Musical Chairs. Occasionally, he was asked to sing in the style of a popular singer.
- In 1959 Blanc played the role of Trinkle the dog catcher on the sitcom Dennis the Menace, episode titled " Miss Cathcart's Friend".
- Appeared in the 1964 movie Kiss Me Stupid as The Dentist
- Blanc once called into the game show Press Your Luck during the end credits when host Peter Tomarken mistakenly gave the answer to the question "Which cartoon character uses the phrase 'Sufferin' succotash'?" as Daffy Duck. Blanc informed him that the correct answer was Sylvester. (In reality, both characters have used the phrase, although it is more commonly associated with Sylvester.) Blanc spoke to Tomarken in Sylvester's voice to explain the error, as well in the voices of Speedy Gonzales and Porky Pig. Tomarken apologized for the error and promised that all three contestants would be allowed to return to play the game again.
- Blanc was the voice of Bob and Doug McKenzie's father in the movie Strange Brew.
- In 1970, Blanc narrated an educational film that was commissioned by the City of Dallas called How Motor Cars and Other Living Things Can Find Happiness in the Dallas Freeway System. He also did the sound effects for the animated car.
- In 1971, he appeared as himself in one of the American Express "Do you know me?" credit card TV commercials. The ad campaign centered on famous people whose faces were nonetheless usually not recognized by the public.
- Blanc appeared in a public service announcement for the Shriners Burns Institute on the dangers of burns on children.
- He also provided the voice of Quintro the Puppet in Snow White and the Three Stooges.
- Blanc did virtually all of his famous Looney Tunes characters' voices in NFL Films' The Son of Football Follies
- In addition to hundreds of credited vocal roles, Blanc also provided many brief incidental voices and vocal effects for TV sitcoms, almost never receiving screen credit. Two noted examples were regularly providing the voice of the raven cuckoo clock in The Munsters' and voicing a parrot (who even spoke in the courtroom) in the Perry Mason episode "The Case of the Perjured Parrot."
- In his autobiography, That's Not All, Folks!, Blanc confessed to a minor bit of deception regarding his nickname, "The Man of a Thousand Voices," stating that by his estimate, he had provided only 850 voices.
- Blanc performed his Speedy Gonzales character in Pat Boone's 1962 hit record of "Speedy Gonzales".
- Blanc also made many records for Capitol Records, including his Warner Brothers characters and such other characters as Woody Woodpecker, with his most famous Capitol album being Party Panic and in 1950 had a hit single (also in the UK) as Sylvester and Tweety-Pie in "I Tawt I Taw a Puddy Tat". He also performed on records with other artists including Spike Jones and His City Slickers and The Sportsmen.
- During 1977–1978, Blanc was an active CB Radio operator. He often used the CB handles Bugs or Daffy and talked over the air in the Los Angeles area using his many voices. He appeared in an interview with clips of him having fun talking to children on his home CB radio station in the NBC Knowledge Series television episode about CB radio in 1978.
- He was also the voice of the cuckoo & the parrot in the Coco Wheats Commercials
- Blanc's voice over sound effects were used in many animated films such as Paramount's Gulliver's Travels (as an uncredited voice over as King Bombo's shout of joy) to animated shorts from The Pink Panther to most recently in Jetix's "Pucca", in Gremlins 2 The New Batch some of the gremlin laughter and their hiccups were recycled from his recordings, also several monster growls and his bird screeches were also frequently used in several films and animation.
- Blanc supplies Charlie Brown's grunting in the 1979 special You're the Greatest, Charlie Brown as he tries to lift the barbell which is the same grunting Daffy Duck made in the 1965 Warner Bros. cartoon Tease for Two when Daffy tries lifting a rock. The same grunt was also heard in the 1980 film Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (and Don't Come Back!) by Linus van Pelt.
- Portland's Mayor Sam Adams, with the help of the Oregon Cartoon Institute, officially declared June 29th to be Mel Blanc Day in Portland, Oregon.
Homages and tributes
- In the Porky Pig short Curtain Razor, Mel Blanc appears as a turtle doing only 999 voices out of a claimed one thousand (he actually does only about 7 distinct voices here, which were edited into a rapid-fire montage of short sound bites, thus giving the impression of more voices). The clip was shown by Turner Network Television out of context as a tribute when Blanc died.
- In the Frasier episode "Ham Radio", a voice actor of many voices is named Mel White, a homage to Mel Blanc. In French, blanc, the way the famous voice actor preferred to spell his surname, means white.
- In the 1944 Warner's cartoon Russian Rhapsody (directed by Bob Clampett), Blanc appears as one of the gremlins (the one sawing around Henry Binder's hair) who are sabotaging Adolf Hitler's plane. The other gremlins are other members of the Warners' staff, including Binder, Leon Schlesinger, and Friz Freleng.
- A well-known lithograph was made in his honor. It shows Looney Tunes characters Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Foghorn Leghorn, Yosemite Sam, Porky Pig, Pepé Le Pew, Sylvester, Tweety Bird, and Speedy Gonzales with their heads bowed in reverence, standing around a lone microphone with a spotlight shining on it. The simple inscription on the print reads: "Speechless." According to Warner Bros., it is the highest selling piece of animation art ever produced. The picture was also made into an animated picture, with sound and changing scenes, and sold in the now-defunct Warner Brothers chain of retail stores.
- In the The Office episode "Take Your Daughter to Work Day", boss Michael Scott acts out Blanc's "Cucamonga" bit, even including a pause.
- In the Histeria! episode "General Sherman's Campsite", during the sketch about the Transcontinental Railroad, Loud Kiddington acts as a conductor and does the "Cucamonga" bit.
- On an episode of Night Court, Harry's father, Buddy (John Astin), tells Harry (Harry Anderson) that he had wanted to name him Mel, after Mel Blanc. The joke is that Harry is an avid fan of singer Mel Tormé, and assumes that to be what Buddy meant.
- ^ Mel Blanc's bio at Ochcom.org
- ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PWfLIs31tNw&feature=player_profilepage
- ^ DeMolay Hall of Fame
- ^ Video of Mel and Jack with one version of the Sy The Little Mexican routine
- ^ http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/2820/did-mel-blanc-hate-carrots "Did Mel Blanc hate carrots?" A Straight Dope column by Science Advisory Board Member Rico November 4, 2008 (accessed November 20, 2008)
- ^ New York Times filmography
- ^ a b That's Not All, Folks!, 1988, by Mel Blanc and Philip Bashe. Warner Books, ISBN 0-446-39089-5 (softcover), ISBN 0-446-51244-3 (hardcover)
- ^ http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000305/bio
- ^ http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1828&dat=19880904&id=EsMnAAAAIBAJ&sjid=cL4EAAAAIBAJ&pg=1214,1135635
- ^ Interview with Mel Blanc's son Noel
- ^ Beck, Jerry. The Animated Movie Guide (2005).
- ^ Flint, Peter B. (July 11, 1989). "Mel Blanc, Who Provided Voices For 3,000 Cartoons, Is Dead at 81". New York Times. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=950DE1D7143EF932A25754C0A96F948260. Retrieved 2008-06-26. "Mel Blanc, the versatile, multi-voiced actor who breathed life into such cartoon characters as Bugs Bunny, Woody Woodpecker, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Tweety Pie, Sylvester and the Road Runner, died of heart disease and emphysema yesterday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He was 81 years old."
- ^ Mel Blanc at Find A Grave.
- ^ Barrier, Michael. Audio commentary for The Scarlet Pumpernickel on disc two of the Looney Tunes Golden Collection: Volume 1, citing his interview with Blanc.
- ^ The "Speechless" lithograph
- ^ "Take Your Daughter to Work Day" at NBC.com
- That's Not All, Folks!, 1988 by Mel Blanc, Philip Bashe. Warner Books, ISBN 0-446-39089-5 (Softcover), ISBN 0-446-51244-3 (Hardcover)
- Terrace, Vincent. Radio Programs, 1924–1984. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 1999. ISBN 0-7864-0351-9
- Mel Blanc at the Internet Movie Database
- Mel Blanc Show Archive in MP3 format
- Toonopedia article about Mel Blanc
- Mel Blanc sings Somebody Stole My Gal (Capitol F2470)
- 40 MP3 downloads of The Mel Blanc Show
Voice of Daffy Duck
April 17, 1937 — July 10, 1989
Voice of Bugs Bunny
July 27, 1940 — July 10, 1989
Voice of Barney Rubble
September 30, 1960 — July 10, 1989
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