Friday, March 23, 2007

Carte Blanc

J.E. Daniels posts a 1986 Starlog interview with Mel Blanc, along with a few comments from Friz Freleng. You can't always believe Blanc's stories, nor his evaluations of people he worked with, but it's still an interesting read.

One thing I hadn't quite caught before was that unlike today's voice actors, who tend to prefer recording radio-style with other actors, Blanc disliked that method of recording a cartoon because it took longer. So the way he tells it, he eventually switched over to just recording each character separately. Or at least, he was doing this by the time the cartoon studio was winding down, because you can hear him doing it on the '60s recording-session excerpts on the Looney Tunes Golden Collections, where he announces which character he's doing and then does a few takes of each line.


Ivan G. said...

One of the things that Blanc always stressed in interviews like this is that he never impersonated people, a statement that is pure fiction. He's imitated Lou Costello (A Tale of Two Kitties), Jerry Colonna (Greetings Bait), Charlie Cantor (Hush My Mouse) and many others. And despite his claims to the contrary, his voice for Foghorn Leghorn was cribbed from the Senator Claghorn character (Kenny Delmar) on Fred Allen's program, no doubt about it.

John said...

There's a lot of stuff that Mel said that was embellished. He was a fairly familiar face during the 1950s and early 60s as a semi-regular on "The Jack Benny Show" on CBS, but was rediscovered by a new group of fans in the 70s when those American Express commercials came out.

Of course, Mel, or Bob Clampett, or Walter Lantz, or any others from the classic era who gave early interviews to animation historians were mostly working from a history of total disinterest in theatrical animation by mainstream film historians. So if those "experts" didn't care, it didn't seem to be a big deal if you boosted your resume a little to the few who did, in the same way Hollywood studio PR flacks did when they offered up the occasional story about their company's cartoons back in the 1930s or 40s.