Man of 1,000 Voices – Mel Blanc

By | May 30, 2008

Many may not know the name Mel Blanc, but there are few who doesn’t know his voice. Some may remember him as the voice of Jack Benny’s car Maxwell on the old radio and TV show starring Jack Benny. Others from the 80’s TV series Buck Rodgers where he was the voice of the small robot Twiki. Most will no doubt know his voice as Bugs Bunny, Barney Rubble, Porky Pig, Sylvester and Twitty among many others from the Warner Brother and Hanna Barbera cartoons.

Mel Blanc was born 100 years ago on May 30, 1908 and passed away at the age of 81 on July 10, 1989. He is known as the man of a 1,000 voices even though by his estimate, as stated in his autobiography, the number of voices he provided were only around 850.

Before signing to an exclusive contract with Warner Brothers in 1941, he worked at other studios doing voice work as well. In 1940 it was his voice on the very first Wood Woodpecker cartoon and he created the famous Woody laugh.

The news of his death after being involved in a car accident on January 24, 1961 was premature. He did suffer a triple skull fracture along with fractures of the pelvis and both legs. He was in a coma for three weeks. The Doctor trying to bring him out of the coma began talking to him as if he was Bugs Bunny. One day Blanc was asked, ‘How are you today, Bugs Bunny?” . Bugs answered.

The last project that he actually lend his voice to was for the 1990 released movie based on the 1960’s TV series The Jetsons. He reprised his role of George Jetson’s boss, Mr. Spacey. A few times since, such as his recording of Dino the Dinosaur from the Flintstones, has been used since his death.

As one his first voice creation, Porky Pig first performed by him in 1937 (he was not the original voice of Porky Pig), would say, “Thaaaaaat’s all folks!”.


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