Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Voice Acting Gods

I wanted to start this blog off discussing in brief who I consider the Voice Acting Gods. Now, the voice acting Gods isn't a rock group or a Christian group of some sort. These voice acting Gods delivered their words behind the scenes on animated cartoons and in some cases, old-time radio.

As is the case of putting together any list, it's almost always a case where people get in a debate. I often dislike those sorts of debates because when you have a list of greats, I always have the opinion that there's no room for debating...they're all good. I have a fondness for count-downs...bear with me...

#10- Hal Smith: This voice actor is known more as a face-actor, famously playing the role of Otis Campbell on The Andy Griffith Show; Hal's cartoon work includes roles for Hanna-Barbera as well as Disney; For H-B, Hal gave voice to Coil Man on the series The Impossibles. Hal was also the voice in a trio of musketeers called "Yippee, Yappee, and Yahooie". Hal was the Yappee...Doug Young was Yippee...and Daws Butler was Yahooie. Hal did double-duty on this series as he was also the voice of the often-angry King. Hal was heard on the religious cartoon series, "Davey and Goliath", for five years and became the voice of the Owl in the "Winnie the Pooh" films and series. Hal later became the voice of Winnie the Pooh for a live-action children's show called "Welcome To Pooh Corner". After the death of Pinto Colvig, Hal became the voice of Goofy for several programs. Hal later provided the voices of Gyro Gearloose and Flintheart Glomgold for the Disney series "Duck Tales". These characters were his last major contributions to animation. August 24, 1916 - January 28, 1994.

#9- Alan Oppenheimer: This actor is well-known throughout the film and TV industry. He is still active in the industry at the age of 78. His contributions to animation include the characters of Man-at-Arms, Cringer/Battlecat, Beast Man, and Skeletor for the series "He-Man" in the early to mid 1980's. Oppenheimer was often used in a lot of multiple roles without any core character. This is why you see the phrase "additional voices" appear so often after his name because he never had one single role in a cartoon series and was often voicing all sorts of one-shot characters in ensemble cartoons. His voice was heard on various cartoon series: "Speed Buggy", "The Smurfs", "Transformers", "Go-Bots", "The Wuzzles", "Mighty Mouse", and others. He was born on April 23, 1930.

#8- Frank Welker: This actor has a wide range of character roles and like others in his generation often voices multiple roles. He has given voice to a staggering amount of characters in cartoons, video games, and in movies and is still busy. Welker is himself nick-named a God by several of his peers. Although he often lands roles in various cartoon projects of modern times, Welker is sometimes a bridge into the past due to his experiences in cartoons with a lot of the legends who are no longer living. His main characters include the roles of Megatron on "Transformers". He voiced several of the villains in that cartoon series but Megatron is the stand-out. In the "Superfriends" series Welker was heard as Toyman, Mr Mxyzptlk, Darkseid, and Desaad. In the "Blue Falcon" series, Welker was heard as Dynomutt. He gave voice to Jabberjaw as well...mimicking Curley Howard of The Three Stooges. Welker's long-running character is Fred Jones, the leader of the gang on the "Scooby-Doo" series. Welker started doing the Fred character starting with the cartoon's 1969 year will mark his 40th year giving voice to Fred as the "Scooby-Doo" series continues to pop up with new episodes every so often. Welker is also the voice of Scooby-Doo, too. He became the voice in 2002. Don Messick originated the voice in 1969 and ran with it until 1991. Scott Innes was the voice of Scooby in between Messick and Welker. Frank Welker was born on March 12, 1946.

#7- Paul Winchell: Although this actor is noted for three cartoon characters and a children's show, Winchell nevertheless is ranked #7 because the three characters he voiced in cartoons and his various children's shows impacted the genre. His TV show was geared toward children and featured him and his dummy, Jerry MaHoney. Winchell was a ventriloquist and hosted several 1950's and 1960's children's shows with his dummies. His first cartoon role of note was the villain Dick Dastardly in the cartoon "Wacky Races". Dastardly, always with his side-kick/pet dog, Muttley, was the star of "Wacky Races" since the character had the most screen time plotting stunts and traps for other racers that would always backfire. A few months later, a film debuted called "Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day". In this film, Winchell gave voice to the character, Tigger. This would become Winchell's signature role in spite of the enormous success of the "Wacky Races" and "Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines" on Saturday morning TV and in constant reruns. Winchell revived the Dastardly character in the 1970's and 1980's for special programming. In the 1980's Winchell provided the voice for Gargamel on the world-wide hit cartoon "The Smurfs". This voice was simply Dastardly with a new body, on the hunt for Smurfs. The Muttley role had been re-cast as Azrael, the orange cat. He continued to voice Tigger as well. He did this voice on TV specials and cartoon series up until 1994, replaced by Jim Cummings. The reason for the replacement was age-related, according to many things i've read. Winchell, ironically, continued to voice Tigger through 1999 on Direct-To-Video "Pooh" movies until retiring. Jim Cummings had already did the voice of Tigger off and on with Paul Winchell in the early 1990's...Cummings was also the voice of Pooh. One of the bizarre events following the death of Paul Winchell was the death of John Fiedler, the voice of Piglet in all of those "Pooh" cartoons. Fiedler died a day after Paul Winchell on June 25th. December 21, 1922 - June 24, 2005.

#6- Paul Frees: This actor possessed an impossible range and could vocally impersonate just about anyone. His work is showcased on the Jay Ward cartoons of the early 1960's. "Rocky and Friends", "The Bullwinkle Show", "George of the Jungle", and "Dudley Dorite". Frees often used his German-inspired voice on the cartoons...the voice he gave to the Boris Badenov character. A totally opposite voice was the daffy Captain Peachfuzz, based on Ed Wynn. Still another voice from Frees was the high-brow, snooty delivery he gave Inspector Fenwick. Frees often narrated cartoons...he did some on-camera work as well. One of Frees' celebrated impersonations is Ronald Colman. Frees made several comedy albums through the years and in one song he goes from one celebrity impression to the next singing a love song. Another recording from Frees is My Old Flame, credited as a Spike Jones recording because Spike is who ran the show, no matter who the vocalist on the recording was. On the recording Frees does his Peter Lorre impression. Half-way through a Lorre rant, the character breaks into a full-scale vocal assault recalling his German-inspired Boris Badenov voice. Frees found continued work at Disney as well. He voiced the character Ludwig von Drake in many films and TV appearances. At a Disneyland attraction, Frees voice was heard as the Ghost Host. In the animated cartoon featuring The Beatles, Paul Frees was the voice of John Lennon and George Harrison. Frees also possessed the ability to mimic Orson Welles and this talent allowed him to portray Orson vocally in several projects including a Stan Freberg comedy album and as the narrator of The St Valentines Day Massacre to name just two. If all of this wasn't impressive enough, Frees lent his voice to two icon's of TV commercials: the first being the Pillsbury Doughboy and the second being Toucan Sam of the Fruit Loops cereal. Maurice LaMarche took over the role of Toucan in the mid 1980's. Frees himself had taken over the Toucan role from Mel Blanc. Also, Frees was the voice of the Sprout on the Jolly Green Giant commercials. Frees in his career worked for many cartoon studios with Rankin/Bass being the studio most of his later work was recorded for. There is a demo reel on You Tube that you all should check out and listen to. June 22, 1920 - November 2, 1986.

#5- June Foray: Was there any question? I know she's a female and so she'd be considered a Goddess instead of a God but Foray's longevity in the business allows her to rate with the God's. Foray voiced minor characters at first...she was also a cast-member/comedy player with Stan Freberg at Capitol Records in the 1950's. Foray was the woman in nearly all of the Freberg-Butler comedy recordings of the 1950's. Famously she portrayed the role of Alice in Freberg's Honeymooners parody, The Honey Earthers, where people who live on the moon take a honeyearth. Freberg was Ralph and Daws Butler was Norton. She was the voice of nameless roles on Tex Avery cartoons, usually a narrator on cartoon spoofs of fashion shows. Foray was also the voice of the Chatty Cathy doll. It was on the Jay Ward cartoons that Foray built together a list of recurring characters. She was the voice of Rocky on the "Rocky and Bullwinkle" cartoons. She was also the voice of the German spy, Natasha Fatale, who always attempted along with Boris, to destroy "moose and squirrel". In a more girlish voice she portrayed Nell Fenwick, the daughter of Inspector Fenwick. Nell was infatuated with Dudley's riding horse, named Horse, even though Dudley himself had an eye for Nell. On "George of the Jungle", Foray was Ursula. She was a fixture at Warner Brothers as well where she became the voice of Granny, taking over the role from Bea Benaderet. Foray's other prominent Warner Brothers character is Witch Hazel. In the 1980's Foray was with the Disney cartoon "Duck Tales" voicing the characters of Magica DeSpell and Ma Beagle. On "Gummi Bears", Foray was Grammy Gummi. In "The Smurfs", she was heard as Jokey Smurf and as Mother Nature. Foray's last voice acting role to date was in 2007, voicing Granny on a video game. Her last regular work was on the "Baby Looney Tunes" series, voicing Granny. June Foray was born on September 18, 1917.

#4- John Stephenson: This voice actor is famous in animation circles for his character's rather bossy, sometimes smart-alleck demeanor. Stephenson is one of the more under-rated, even in animation circles. He has appeared on camera but it's in cartoons where his legacy resides. He became an integral part of Hanna-Barbera in the 1960's, 1970's, and nearly all of the 1980's. His most famous character role is Mr Slate, the short-tempered boss of Fred Flintstone on "The Flintstones" series. Stephenson originated the voice in 1960 and remained with the role ever since. Stephenson most often uses the same gruff, sometimes irritated vocalization on many cartoon characters...that 'voice' is sprinkled throughout Hanna-Barbera in many programs that you never know when that 'voice' will pop up. In addition to what I call that 'voice', Stephenson did mimic celebrities. The two he often did vocal impressions of were Joe Flynn and Boris Karloff. He also did a Bela Lugosi impression on a character known as The Great Fondoo. Stephenson's Joe Flynn voice was the smart-alleck...or the easily frazzled boss annoyed with the slightest problem in life. A great display of Stephenson's Joe Flynn take-off can be heard on "The Hair Bear Bunch" where Stephenson plays the character of zoo keeper Mr Peevly. Also, on "Inch High Private Eye" he uses the voice for Finkerton. Another use of that Joe Flynn voice is on "Grape Ape and Mumbley" as the character, Schnooker. The late 1960's revival of "Dragnet" featured Stephenson as the voice at the end of the show who would read the verdict of whichever criminal was sent to court on that episode. He isn't the one who was heard at the start of the shows with the famous phrase: "The story you're about to see is true...". That particular voice-over was provided by George Fenneman. Stephenson's Karloff voices were primarily used on several episodes of "Scooby-Doo". In 1977 he was called on to voice Doggy Daddy and Mildew Wolf for "Scooby's Laff-a-Lympics". Each character was an impression of a celebrity. Doggy Daddy's origins go back to the early 1960's. The original voice actor was Doug Young and the character was a cartoon parody of Jimmy Durante. Mildew Wolf originally appeared on a series called "Cattanooga Cats", voiced by Paul Lynde. So Stephenson not only had to vocally mimic Jimmy Durante but also do an about face and mimic the higher pitch of Paul Lynde. Stephenson continued as Doggy Daddy into the 1980's on various cartoon specials. The one constant remained Mr Slate...he last voiced this role in a legitimate performance in 2001 and later voiced the role in a spoof appearance on the series "Johnny Bravo" in 2004. To date, that is Stephenson's last time voicing Mr Slate. He has been retired since 2006. He was born on August 9, 1923.

#3- Don Messick: Now we're up into the Top-3. Messick's career is rooted mostly on Hanna-Barbera cartoons released in the late 1950's through the 1990's. His talent, similar to that of Frank Welker, was vocal sound-effects and strange noises. However, though, Messick's commanding voice could be heard on hundreds of classic Hanna-Barbera cartoons ranging between 1957-1965. At MGM, Messick was the voice of Droopy in selected cartoons in which voice actor, Bill Thompson, was unavailable. Messick would later voice Droopy on a full-time basis in the 1970's, 1980's, and 1990's. Messick's career is also tied to Daws Butler's due to this stay at Hanna-Barbera. Messick began to gain notoriety in the animation field due to his professional partnership with Daws Butler in the early days of TV animation. "Ruff and Reddy", "Huckleberry Hound", "Yogi Bear", and "Quickdraw McGraw" were all major hit TV shows featuring the voices of both men. Messick could be heard in the roles: Ruff, Professor Gizmo, Pixie Mouse, Major Minor, Boo-Boo Bear, Ranger Smith, and any number of nameless roles and villains appearing in a single episode. Also, Messick was heard as the off-camera narrator...turn on any episode of "Yogi Bear" or "Ruff and Reddy" and you can hear Messick's voice welcoming viewers and setting up the scene. A typical line: "While most bears are hibernating, one bear, namely Yogi, says hibernating is for the birds, not the bears" and then the story unfolds with Yogi talking to the camera or to Boo-Boo. In 1962 Messick was cast as Astro on "The Jetsons". He voiced the character of Arnold on "The Flintstones" as well as a long-list of one-shot roles. After 1965, the Hanna-Barbera studio started to venture into more action-oriented cartoons...a lot of them centered around outer space. Messick voiced an aray of space aliens and several lead characters, notably Vapor Man on "The Galaxy Trio" and Benton Quest on "Jonny Quest". In 1968 he voiced Muttley, a snickering dog side-kick of Dick Dastardly. After a few more years of those kinds of cartoons, Messick landed the starring role that often eluded was 1969 and Don Messick started his long run as cowardly Great Dane, Scooby-Doo in "Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?". Messick continued in this role throughout the 1970's and 1980's and into the early 1990's when "A Pup Named Scooby-Doo" had ended production in 1991. In 1981 Messick began voicing Papa Smurf on "The Smurfs"...this role continued until 1990. In 1990, Messick was at Warner voice to a new character, Hamton Pig, on "Tiny Toons Adventures". This would be Messick's last major cartoon character. In 1993 he revived Droopy for "Droopy: Master Detective" in which he has a son named Dripple. He was voicing Benton Quest in 1996. Messick suffered a stroke inside a recording studio according to what I've read through the years and he officially retired days later...passing away the following year. September 7, 1926 - October 24, 1997.

#2- Daws Butler: In the runner-up slot is this voice actor. Some more in depth voice people would say Daws should be at the top and the #1 be runner-up but the basis for this ranking is longevity, first and foremost, and impact second. Butler was a skilled performer, mimic, writer, and actor. He also sang in character. His earliest success is with Stan Freberg on the puppet series "Time For Beany" which ran 1949-1954. The series was the creation of former Warner Brothers producer Bob Clampett. Butler gave voice to Beany and Captain Huffenpuff. Stan Freberg gave voice to Cecil and Dishonest John. Those were the four main characters and the two would voice the other lesser-known characters that popped up, literally. Butler and Freberg collaborated on a series of comedy records for Capitol Records beginning in 1950/1951 and lasting through 1961. A lot of these recordings were re-issued in the early to mid 1990's during the old-time radio boom. Tex Avery, a cartoon producer/animator, hired Butler for a string of wild and silly cartoons released on MGM. One such cartoon short was "Jerky Turkey", released in 1945. Butler does a Jimmy Durante impression. It plays annually around Thanksgiving on Cartoon Network and or Boomerang. Another role Butler voiced was that of the Ronald Colman take-off of a nameless Fox in the Droopy cartoon short "Out Foxed" from 1949 where Droopy and a collection of other dogs are on a fox hunt and the prize is a steak. One of the more heart-warming MGM cartoon shorts Butler was in featured a cab family and the father's bitterness of his son wanting to be a hot-rod/sports car instead of a cab. The short is called "One Cab's Family". Butler voices the Father. Now that i'm discussing these short subject cartoons that Butler's voice appeared in I bet it's all coming back now saying to yourselves "oh I remember THAT one!". Butler gave voice to Chilly Willy and Smedley the Dog, among other voices, on the "Chilly Willy" short subject cartoons. In the late 1950's he was approached by Hanna-Barbera and he became that studio's #1 voice man. He was often un-credited for his voice work...most voice actors were. When the "Loopy De Loop" series was being made, it being a theatrical cartoon and a more bigger budget, Daws received voice credit. Butler and Don Messick teamed up in the studio and recorded hundreds of cartoons together for the next 6 years or so. Butler, an expert impressionist, prided himself on his ability to do legitimate ethnic characters where they didn't sound "cartoonish". At Hanna-Barbera, Butler was the voice of these characters, not in any particular order: Reddy, Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear, Mr Jinx, Dixie Mouse, Snagglepuss, Quickdraw McGraw, Baba Louie, Super Snooper and Blabber Mouse, Wally Gator, Cogswell Cog, Elroy Jetson, Lippy the Lion, Fibber Fox, Hair Bear, and Yahooie. Butler was also the voice of Lamsy Divey, the character often pursued by Mildew Wolf on "Cattanooga Cats". Butler continued doing voice work in the 1970's and 1980's, mostly for Jay Ward's company on a series of TV commercials. Butler was the voice of Cap'n Crunch. However, a lot of his time was spent on his voice acting work-shop, which seen a lot of up and coming voice actors/actresses pass through. In 1987 a documentary was put together of Butler's life/career. The special was narrated by William Conrad, former narrator of the Bullwinkle cartoons but known to TV audiences in the 1970's as "Cannon" and as McCabe, also known as the "Fatman", on the 1980's series "Jake and the Fatman". The documentary aired on PBS stations and was called "Daws Butler: Voice Magician". Among those appearing on the special were Stan Freberg, Don Messick, June Foray, Walter Lantz, Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera, and Daws' wife, Myrtis Butler, along with a few other associates who knew Daws. A year later Daws passed away...a look back on Daws career is found on a DVD collection of "Yogi Bear" where it offers further commentary by the voice actor's of today who cite Daws as an influence: Tom Kinny, Charlie Adler, Corey Burton, and Nancy Cartwright. November 16, 1916 - May 18, 1988.

As you can see, the higher we go up the Top-10 the longer my "brief" summaries are. Before we reach #1, here's an extra...

Stan Freberg: All you have to do is say "Freberg" and depending on who you ask, they know who you speak of. Freberg is a complicated man to figure out and so I try not to. His satire has touched every facet of entertainment...his legacy is up for grabs. In his career he has cast a lasting legacy on various mediums: radio, big screen, TV, and records. In radio, Freberg is famously referred to as the man who replaced Jack Benny on CBS radio. Jack's radio show was in reruns on radio from 1955 until 1957, when Freberg's radio series started airing. So, technically, Freberg's program replaced Jack's. Freberg's career goes further begins in the mid 1940's at Warner Brothers...teamed up with Mel Blanc. Freberg portrayed a wide range of roles on various Warner Brothers releases in the 1940's through the 1960's. His work was un-credited, though. Freberg and Daws Butler teamed up for "Time For Beany" and as I expressed in the previous entry for Daws Butler, the two recorded comedy records for Capitol. Solo, Freberg became something of a marketing genius by accident. He often stated his hatred for commercials and for other elements of pop-culture and someone got the idea to have Freberg do a commercial the way he felt they should be delivered. One thing led to another and he found himself as a member of the advertising crowd...but something was different about a Freberg commercial. In a lot of them, the idea of selling a product was lampooned and made light of...I believe Freberg, along with Daws Butler, both shared the view that people tend to remember things that are funny or odd, instead of serious advertising which is referred to as "hard sell" in the commercial world. So, with one success after another and clients adding up, Freberg found himself on top of the commercial heap with his funny commercials, which at the time was something new that TV audiences didn't expect. His most popular client was Chun King Chow Mein. Freberg was often heard as the off-camera announcer on these commercials. Freberg won more than a dozen Clio Awards for his commercials. In cartoons, Freberg was known to play Junyer Bear and other slow-witted characters based on the Lenny character from "Of Mice and Men". One of his oddest roles was Pete Puma, a screeching mountain lion character. Freberg continued his commercials on into the 1980's and then returned to radio in the 1990's delivering a syndicated commentary known as "Stan Freberg Here...". It was also during this decade that his music career was re-discovered when CD's re-issues of his 1960's comedy recordings started to re-surface. He also released the long awaited "Stan Freberg Presents the United States of America, Part Two"...the first part having hit the stores in 1962. For over a decade Freberg's voice was heard on "When Radio Was", an anthology series heard on AM radio stations late at night/early in the morning spotlighting various old-time radio shows each broadcast. Freberg hosted the show until 2006, after having started broadcasting it in 1995. A career retrospective box set was issued, "Tip of the Freeberg", which consisted of just about every major Freberg recording and a new recording called The Conspiriski Theory which pointed out the ironic situation of having three people with similar sounding last names in the news at one time. In later years he provided insight into many classic Warner Brothers cartoons on the DVD collections that have been released. He even narrated one, "Irreverent Imagination", a look at the people behind the scenes at Warner Brothers during the Golden Age. Freberg was born August 7, 1926.

#1- Mel Blanc: Well, it has came down to this. The #1 Voice Acting God goes to Mel Blanc for making 'voice acting' an art form. His longevity in the business is something a lot of actors and actresses only dream of. June Foray is by far and away the only other voice artist close to Blanc's achievements. Blanc is also the most known voice actor because he received screen credit on the Warner Brothers theatrical cartoons beginning in the early 1940's through the mid 1960's. In addition to this, Blanc also appeared in a lot more mainstream TV news and talk shows. He, more than any other voice artist, made frequent appearances on the late-night talk shows but even more importantly as a recurring cast-member on "The Jack Benny Program", first on radio starting in 1939, and then on TV off and on from 1950 through 1965. His high-profile image afforded him super-star treatment a lot of the time...but he genuinely was a of the biggest comic foils for Jack Benny for decades. On Jack's radio and TV programs, Blanc was heard and later seen as Professor LeBlanc. On the radio and TV series, Blanc was heard as the train-station announcer. On radio, Blanc was heard as Jack's car, the Maxwell. Also, Blanc was the voice of Carmichael the Polar Bear and Polly the Parrot. In one of the most celebrated sketches, Blanc is playing a Mexican with a tendacy to say one word at a time. Jack encounters this character at numerous times and it always leads into what is known as the "Si Cy" routine where Jack becomes an interviewer of sorts asking the Mexican questions, to which he answers with a "Si"...this goes on for about a minute. Jack asks him what his name is, Blanc says "Cy", to which Jack repeats "Cy?" and Blanc replies "Si". It goes on and on like this until the typical pay-off at the end. The timing made it funny no matter how many times one watches it. Meanwhile, at Warner Brothers, a controversial claus in his new contract offered him "exclusive voice credit" which meant that only his name appeared on screen at the start of each cartoon...this claus was necessary or Warner Brothers was going to lose him to a rival studio and in an effort to make him stay put, they began to show "voice characterization: Mel Blanc" on all of their cartoon releases for the next 15-16 years or more. In the later made-for-TV cartoons of the mid 1960's for Warner Brothers often produced in tandem with DePatie-Freleng Productions, the other voice artist's names began to appear along with Mel's: Stan Freberg, June Foray, and Ralph James. The characters Mel Blanc gave life to include 90% of the entire Warner Brothers library: Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Sylvester and Tweety, Yosemite Sam, Foghorn Leghorn, Pepe Le Pew, Tazmanian Devil, Henery Hawk, Sylvester Junior, Speedy Gonzales, Wile E Coyote {during a few cartoons where the character spoke}, Elmer Fudd {late '60s/early '70s}. In addition to those main characters, Blanc also voiced a lot of one-shot characters within the cartoons. Blanc was heard as Private Snafu in a series of war cartoons and not many know it but he was the original voice of Woody Woodpecker and Toucan Sam. In the 1960's Blanc ventured over to Hanna-Barbera and promptly became Barney Rubble on "The Flintstones". Blanc was also heard as the prehistoric household appliances such as the garbage disposal and the vaccum cleaner as examples. It was during this series that Blanc nearly died in a car wreck. He survived the crash...reportedly being awaken from a coma by a nurse asking him "how are you feeling, Bugs?". He remained bed ridden for almost two years and recorded a handful of episodes of "The Flintstones" while in the hospital bed at his house. His co-stars would gather around his bed while a microphone dangled over-head. After making a recovery, he re-enterted a real recording studio again. Meanwhile, on "The Jetsons", Blanc was heard as Mr Spacely. A minor character emerged in the mid '60s named Deputy Droop-a-Long, paired with Don Messick's role as Richochet Rabbit. In another buddy-buddy cartoon, Blanc was heard as Sneezley Seal opposite Howard Morris' role of Breezley Bruin. In yet another cartoon, Blanc was heard as Hardy Har Har, a depressed paranoid character paired with Lippy the Lion, a character voiced by Daws Butler. One of the few new characters came along in the mid '70s, Quack-Up, a goofy talking duck who spoke a lot like Daffy Duck at his most hyper. The character was part of "Yogi's Space Race". Another new character was Captain the 1980's Blanc's major role was that of Heathcliff, a tough-acting orange cat. Like most of his peers, Blanc continued to give voice to his signature characters when called upon rather than starring as new characters. In 1988 he was heard on "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?". There is a famous piano plying scene between Donald and Daffy Duck...representing the first time that the two iconic characters shared a scene together. Mel released his life story in 1988 titled "That's Not All, Folks!" which told his story from child-hood on through his decades on radio and TV as a voice artist and actor. Blanc's last performance is heard on "Jetsons: The Movie", which was released in 1990. He had passed away in 1989. The dialogue, of course, had been recorded earlier. Mel and George O'Hanlon {voice of George Jetson} had both passed away prior to the film's release in 1990 and the movie was dedicated to both of them. Daws Butler, who had voiced Elroy Jetson, had passed away in 1988 prior to production starting on "Jetsons: The Movie". May 30, 1908 - July 10, 1989.

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