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Melvin Jerome "Mel" Blanc

Also Known As: "The Man Of A Thousand Voices"
Birthplace: San Francisco, California
Death: July 10, 1989 (81)
Los Angeles, California (advanced Coronary Artery Disease)
Place of Burial: Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Fredrick H Blanc and Eva Katz Blanc
Husband of Estelle Rosenbaum Blanc
Father of Private and Private
Brother of Henry Charles Blanc

Managed by: Private User
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Immediate Family

About Mel Blanc

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Mel Blanc (May 30, 1908 – July 10, 1989) 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,
  • Sylvester the Cat,
  • Tweety Bird,
  • Yosemite Sam,
  • Wile E. Coyote,
  • Woody Woodpecker,
  • Barney Rubble,
  • Heathcliff,
  • Speedy Gonzales
  • 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

Mel Blanc, Who Provided Voices For 3,000 Cartoons, Is Dead at 81 - By PETER B. FLINT Published: July 11, 1989

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, 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.

He had been admitted to the hospital on May 19.

In a career spanning six decades, Mr. Blanc helped develop nearly 400 characters and provided a rich mix of voices for some 3,000 animated cartoons. In the 1940's and 50's he supplied the voices for 90 percent of the Warner Brothers cartoon menagerie, and in the 60's he was a co-producer of The Bugs Bunny Show, an ABC-TV Saturday morning series that featured Looney Tunes characters in new adventures written for television.

In the 1960's he also contributed to The Flintstones, the first animated situation comedy created for television and the first cartoon broadcast in prime time. For that series he supplied the voices for both Barney Rubble, the dull-witted neighbor of Fred and Wilma Flintstone, and Dino, the Flintstones' pet dinosaur.

Mr. Blanc was still active as he approached 80, when he made new recordings of five of his classic characters for the innovative 1988 live-animation film Who Framed Roger Rabbit, rejuvenating Bugs, Daffy, Porky, Tweety Pie and Sylvester the cat. Played Three Instruments

Melvin Jerome Blanc was born on May 30, 1908, in San Francisco, to Frederick and Eva Katz Blanc, managers of a women's clothing business. He attended elementary and high schools in Portland, Ore., and studied music, becoming proficient on the bass, violin and sousaphone.

He married Estelle Rosenbaum in 1933 and, soon after, they won contracts to appear on a daily radio program. The sponsors could not afford to hire additional actors, so Mr. Blanc used his voice to create a repertory company.

The couple then went to Los Angeles, where Mr. Blanc joined Leon Schlesinger Productions, an innovative cartoon workshop that eventually developed Warner Brothers' Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies.

Mr. Blanc's first major character was Porky Pig, the shy stammerer. The second was Happy Rabbit, which he saved from oblivion by providing a new name, Bugs, from the nickname of the character's illustrator, Ben Hardaway. Mr. Blanc then developed a distinctively brash voice for the character and came up with Bugs's catchy cue: What's up, doc? Events Changed Bugs's Character

Bugs's creators were very careful in shaping his personality. Events and other characters tormented him, bringing about a change in his naturally timid rabbit nature and pushing him to take the offensive. He became mischievous, but never mean.

In an interview Mr. Blanc explained Bugs Bunny's charm this way: He's a little stinker. That's why people love him. He does what most people would like to do but don't have the guts to do.

The Blanc repertory company grew to include Tweety Pie, the devious canary known for the song I Tawt I Taw a Puddy Tat; the canary's enemy, Sylvester, whose favorite oath was Sssssufferin' sssssuccotash!; the scheming Daffy Duck; the speedy beep-beeping desert bird Road Runner; the amorous French skunk Pepe le Pew; the shifty-eyed Wile E. Coyote, and the hot-tempered Yosemite Sam.

Mr. Blanc also created a dizzying range of sound effects. In the Jack Benny radio show he was Carmichael, the irascible polar bear who guarded the comedian's underground vault. He was also Mr. Benny's outspoken parrot; his violin teacher, Monsieur Le Blanc; his Mexican gardener, Sy, and even his troublesome Maxwell car.

Other roles created by Mr. Blanc were the wistful postman on The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show and a range of characters on programs starring Abbott and Costello, Dagwood and Blondie, and Judy Canova and Al Pierce. Produced Commercials

In the 1960's Mr. Blanc formed his own company to produce and market commercials and fillers for radio and television. These included an unconventional announcement for the American Cancer Society in which a man was tortured to death by being forced to smoke one cigarette after another.

In 1976, the State of California hired Mr. Blanc to enlist his cartoon associates in producing 10 radio announcements to warn residents how to prepare for a major earthquake, how to survive one and what to do afterward.

In one announcement Bugs asks, What do I do when the shaking stops? Daffy replies, Stay away from damaged structures and power lines and remember to stay calm. Had Two Hit Records

Mr. Blanc maintained a lifelong interest in music, and composed a handful of songs. Two of them, I Tawt I Taw a Puddy Tat and The Woody Woodpecker Song, each sold more than two million records.

Mr. Blanc and his wife lived for many years in Pacific Palisades, Calif., where Mr. Blanc was the honorary mayor.

He had an insatiable curiosity about all kinds of sounds. When I was a kid, he said, I used to look at animals and wonder, how would that kitten sound if it could talk. I'd tighten up my throat and make a very small voice, not realizing I was rehearsing.

In 1985, he described his creative efforts thus: What we tried to do was amuse ourselves. We didn't make pictures for children. We didn't make pictures for adults. We made them for ourselves.

Mr. Blanc is survived by his wife and their son, Noel.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Century Birthday - Mel Blanc

The legendary Man of 1000 Voices was born 100 years ago today. Mel Blanc was born Melvin Jerome Blank to Frederick and Eva (Katz) Blank in San Francisco, California. Mel arrived four years after an older brother, Henry Charles.

By 1910 the family was living comfortably at 3332 Twenty First Street* in the Mission District of San Francisco and for at least a while there, they had a live-in servant. The two story house still stands today having survived the past 108 years, including 1906 when the Great Quake and subsequent fire leveled much of the city.

Shortly after Mel turned six, the family had moved to Portland, Oregon. For a few years the family made their home at 225-1/2 Sherman Street. By 1920 they has moved to another home at 543 SW Fifth Avenue. A decade later April of 1930 they would be listed next door at 541. While growing up Mel developed a good singing voice and he also learned the violin. After he graduated from Lincoln High school he found work at the local radio station KGW as whatever was needed; singer, announcer, musician. He would eventually become part of the station's orchestra, though at this point playing the tuba. He moved for a brief time back to San Francisco when he found work with the much larger KPO radio orchestra. In 1930 he was offered the job of pit conductor at the Orpheum Theater back in Portland. Mel jumped at the opportunity.

During this period however, the vaudeville circuit was beginning to cool down with most of the major acts migrating to radio. Mel would soon find himself working in radio, and again back in San Francisco at station KGO. He was emcee of "The Road Show," a variety program, but the position also afforded him the chance to do a fair amount of acting -- often using his growing library of different dialects. In 1932 he succumbed to his urge to seek his fortunes in Hollywood and he soon packed his car and headed south.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 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. Occupation Voice actor/Comedian Years active 1927–1989 Spouse Estelle Rosenbaum (1933–1989; his death)

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, 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,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.[1]

At the time of his death, it was estimated that 20 million people heard his voice every day.[2] Contents [hide]

   1 Early life
   2 Career
       2.1 Radio work
       2.2 Animation voice work during the Golden Age of Hollywood
       2.3 Benny/Bugs crossover
       2.4 Voice work for Hanna-Barbera and others
       2.5 Car accident and aftermath
   3 Later career
   4 Death
   5 Legacy
   6 Children
   7 Animation records
   8 List of cartoon characters
   9 List of noteworthy radio characters
   10 Other credits
   11 Homages and tributes
   12 Listen to
   13 References
       13.1 Notes
       13.2 Bibliography
   14 External links

[edit] Early life

Blanc was born Melvin Jerome Blank in San Francisco, California, to 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.[3] [edit] Career [edit] Radio work

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). Blanc performed multiple roles on the Jack Benny Show. Blanc at far right.

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" 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.[4]

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.")

For his contribution to radio, Mel Blanc has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6385 Hollywood Boulevard. [edit] 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.[5]

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.[6] 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. [edit] Benny/Bugs crossover

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. [edit] 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.

Blanc also worked with Chuck Jones, who by this time was directing shorts with his own company Sib Tower 12 (later MGM Animation), doing vocal effects in the Tom and Jerry series from 1962 to 1967.

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. [edit] 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.[7]

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.[8][9] He also returned to The Jack Benny Program to film the program's 1961 Christmas show, moving around via crutches and/or a wheelchair. [edit] Later career

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 for his 1977 film Star Wars. 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.[10]

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.[11] [edit] Death Mel Blanc's gravesite marker.

Blanc died on July 10, 1989 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California of heart disease and emphysema.[12] 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."[13]

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.[14] 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. [edit] Legacy

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. [edit] Children

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. [edit] Animation records

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. [edit] List of cartoon characters

   This list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it.

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)
   Angelica Pickles (1991-2004, his dead ghost voiced her on Rugrats on Nickelodeon)

Besides these, Blanc also voiced many minor and one time characters and animal sound effect roles. [edit] List of noteworthy radio characters This section does not cite any references or sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (April 2009)

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)

[edit] Other credits

   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.
   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.[7]
   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.

[edit] 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.[15] 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.[16]
   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 (born Melvin Jerome Blank /blæŋk/; May 30, 1908 – July 10, 1989)[4] was an American voice actor and radio personality. After beginning his over-60-year career performing in radio, he became known for his work in animation as the voices of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, and most of the other characters from the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies theatrical cartoons during the golden age of American animation.


Dubbed "the man of a thousand voices," Blanc's animated antics are classics, even if some fans may not know the name behind the voice. From cartoons to film to commercials to radio, more than 250 million people worldwide still hear his voice each day, and the new watches only add to this staggering total. His repertoire is long and legendary-1,500 voices mastered in his 53-year career. He has performed hundreds of familiar voices for Warner Bros. and Hanna-Barbera, including Elmer Fudd, Tweety Pie, Sylvester, Barney Rubble, Road Runner, the Tasmanian devil, Wile E. Coyote, Woody Woodpecker, Foghorn Leghorn, Heathcliffe, Pepe Le Pew, Speedy Gonzales, Captain Caveman and more. His favorites, Noel says, were Bugs, Tweety and "Taz," which were also among his most outrageous.

Looney Tunes quips became a part of the American vernacular. "What's up, Doc?" "I tawt I saw a puddy tat," and "You're despicable," are just a few. These are the classic lines which have come alive in the Met Blanc Voice Watch. The clear sound is generated from a computer chip and miniature speaker. A press of a button and the characters speak as the watch plays 10- to 15-second messages. At under $50, the entertainment is affordable.

After Blanc's passing, Noel stepped into his father's huge footprints, performing voices and continuing the tradition of Tweetie Birdlaughter that these characters always brought to millions of people. It's a hard act to follow, but Noel knows it well, having grown up in the middle of all that cartoon commotion. Those looney characters are his honorary siblings.

Noel says he drove his father "crazy," constantly begging Mel to read him the Sunday comics. Mel obliged by spontaneously creating voices for characters such as Dagwood and others, and his son loved every minute of it.

"Mel was always a wonderful father and a lot of fun," Noel says, explaining that because Blanc was his friend as well as his father, he always refers to him by first name. "All the kids would knock on the door after school and have him audition voices. On Halloween he'd have 1,200 kids coming to the door. I still get about 1,000. They just want to hear the voices and get good candy."
One Great Larynx

Mel Blanc developed his talent for voices as a child in Portland, Oregon. The neighborhood was his classroom and school was the stage where he starred as class clown. Although he spent those days as an entertainer, his after-school time was spent observing the various accents in his neighborhood. First he perfected a thick Yiddish dialect which he developed from an old Jewish couple at the local grocery store. Next he became a master of imitating the intonations he heard in Chinatown.
"He had a great larynx," Noel says. "They measured it one day and the doctor said the only larynx he'd seen with that muscular structure belonged to Enrico Caruso, one of the greatest opera tenors who ever lived. Mel had an eight-octave I range and perfect pitch and was able to sing in every character's voice. He could do accents and dialects from any country; he had a 'photographic' ear."

His characters ham it up with exaggerated linguistic idiosyncrasies. Lovable wiseguy Bugs Bunny has an innocent, yet sinister laugh that complements his unusual Brooklyn-Bronx accent. The hyperactive Tasmanian devil mumbles unintelligibly. Porky, Tweety, Elmer Fudd, Sylvester and Daffy all have apparent speech difficulties-sloppy lisps, stutters, the inability to pronounce words with the letter "R," or just bad grammar.

These are funny character flaws, Noel says. He calls them "etiquettely-challenged." Noel Mel & Noel with Watchesexplains (in character of course), "We like to say Porky went to the pig farm and it's a constant grunt," he says, sounding remarkably similar to his father's Porky. "Daffy spits, and Sylvester has a bigger spit," he adds. So stand back when requesting Daffy and Sylvester.

Mel threw a little of his own personality into each character -- especially Bugs Bunny, who Noel says was most like his father. Like Bugs, Mel was a natural prankster. Like Wile E. Coyote, he was a "super genius." "He became the characters," Noel says. "Even if you turned off the sound you could tell what voice he was doing just by looking at him. He was a method actor. He was as Stanislavsky [acclaimed actor and acting teacher Constantin] as you can get. When he performed, his whole body contorted like that character."
Time Out

When not perfecting voices, the Blancs collected timepieces. From the 1940s, Noel and Mel shared an extensive vintage watch collection-up to 400 pieces at one time. They attended auctions together, coming home with antique Patek Philippe watches, vintage Jules Jurgensens and more. Among their favorites were eighteenth- and nineteenth-century pocketwatches, enameled watches and automaton watches from Patek Philippe. "We're both horologists," Noel says. "That was our hobby. So Mel would feel wonderful about having his own character watches. He'd love them."

Noel celebrated his father's 90th birthday (May 30) by getting married one day later and by touring the country to promote both the watches and his father's legend. "No one really took over for Mel," says Noel. "I filled in some and other people did too. The voices came so naturally to him, but it's hard for the rest of us. When you copy someone, it's taught. We all try to imitate his sounds, but we lose some of the acting ability he brought to the characters. It takes so many of us to do what he did."

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Mel Blanc's Timeline

May 30, 1908
San Francisco, California
Age 1
Assembly District 35, , California, San Francisco, San Francisco County, CA, United States
July 10, 1989
Age 81
Los Angeles, California
Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, United States