Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Best of Mel Blanc: Man of 1,000 Voices...

this 25 song CD from Collector's Choice Music came along in 2005. This is the only Mel Blanc compilation that I own and so I couldn't tell you if it's better than others but with 25 recordings you can't go wrong. One of the over-looked aspects of Mel's career was his music. The material, of course, was aimed primarily at children but at the same time much like the Looney Tunes cartoons playing in theaters there was plenty for adults to laugh at and enjoy. For example, I don't feel that a child could truly understand why "The Missus Wouldn't Approve" is hilarious beyond the sad, trembling voice he uses on the recording. He uses this voice on another recording, "I Tell My Troubles To Joe", a narrative that adults will understand more quicker than kids. This voice was similar to the one he used for The Happy Postman on the Burns and Allen radio show. There are even love songs on here...there is "My Kind of Love" and "I'm In the Mood for Love"...but everything else is on the comical and off-beat side.

One thing a listener will notice right away is the music is typical swing and big-band...sometimes there's a jazz overtone as well. These were the sounds that were considered "popular" prior to the creation of rock music. A few of the songs on this CD reached the Hot 100 in the late 1940's and early 1950's. His albums were primarily aimed at children and at one time he had several albums on the charts. Ironically, though, the more adult-oriented material I wrote of in the previous paragraph were released as singles to keep them separate from the albums that were aimed at kids.

I have the CD cover out of it's case, obviously. The cover is a centerfold where it has quite a few paragraphs from a man named Todd Everett from July 2005. The songs are written in list form and include the songwriter credits. Mel is listed as a co-writer on the song "There's a Hole in the Iron Curtain". Stan Freberg is credited as a co-writer on the song "Money". The songs associated with Mel that are considered the most popular are on the CD: "Woody Woodpecker", "Toot Toot Tootsie", "I Tan't Wait Till Quithmuth Day", "Barney Google", "The Hat I Got For Christmas Is Too Beeg", "Yosemite Sam", and "I Taut I Taw a Puddy Tat". Some more hilarious recordings on the CD are "Yah Das Ist Ein Christmas Tree", "The E.I.O Song", "The Missus Wouldn't Approve", "Morris", "Money", and "I Tell My Troubles To Joe".

I would also like to use this blog entry to set the record straight about Mel and carrots. There has long been this myth that Mel was allergic to carrots. There is video footage of Mel on the special, Camera Three: The Boys From Termite Terrace, pointing out the fact that he isn't allergic to carrots. He simply doesn't like them...but the only thing that sounded like a carrot was a carrot...and so when recording the lines for Bugs Bunny he'd chew on the carrot and the recording would stop while he spit out the chewed carrot pieces in a bucket and they'd start recording again. This special was filmed at some point in the 1970's and was hosted by John Canemaker. In Mel's 1988 autobiography, That's Not All, Folks, he makes this similar statement again about not being allergic to carrots. Still to this day, 20 years after his death, people on social network sites like Facebook, Twitter, My Space, etc etc all continue to pass on this Mel was allergic to carrots myth as fact and they won't listen if you attempt to correct their mistake. I guess in their minds it's funny to continue saying Mel was allergic to carrots instead of accepting the truth that he wasn't. I know this paragraph won't erase the decades of belief that Mel was allergic to carrots but for those who do happen to stop by and read this blog entry you'll know the truth.

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