Sunday, May 30, 2010

That's All Folks

The unassuming fellow above is one Melvin Jerome "Mel" Blanc, born this day 1908 in San Francisco, California. His face is not going to be familiar to anyone, but it was his voice(s) that made him famous, and makes him our hero of the day. Mel provided the voice for a whole of Looney Tunes characters that I grew up watching. Daffy Duck, whom he voiced for 52 years, Porky Pig, Bugs Bunny, whom he voiced for 49 years, Woody Woodpecker, Foghorn Leghorn, and a whole host of other unforgettable characters. The face man may get all the credit, but without M. Blanc there would have been a great big entertainment hole in my childhood. It is difficult to believe that Yosemite Sam, and Tweety Bird were voiced by the same fellow, and Blanc called himself "The Man with a 1000 Voices." That probably was as close to true as it could get. All of those memorable characters done by one fellow, it boggles the imagination. I suspect there are a couple of more of his characters that will show up on this list in their own right, but without him they just would not have been the same. He once said that it was Yosemite Sam's voice that gave him the most trouble. The sheer volume, and raspiness of Sam caused his throat some major pain, but he soldiered on nonetheless. He died of heart disease in 1989, and the cartoon world has been a poorer place every since. By his request his tombstone reads "That's All Folks" the line he voiced to sign off at the end of many of the Warner Brothers cartoons that were sometimes entirely voiced by him. So, for giving voices to all those fantastic characters from my childhood, Mel Blanc (May 30th, 1908,-July 10th, 1989, at the age of 81), you are my (277th) hero of the day.

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