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Mel Blanc Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (5) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (1) | Trade Mark (4) | Trivia (34) | Personal Quotes (3)

Overview (5)

Date of Birth 30 May 1908San Francisco, California, USA
Date of Death 10 July 1989Los Angeles, California, USA  (heart failure brought on by emphysema)
Birth NameMelvin Jerome Blank
Nickname The Man of a Thousand Voices
Height 5' 7" (1.7 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Voice specialist from radio, movies and TV rarely seen by his widespread audience. On 1940s radio, for example, his voice supplied the sound effects for the comedian Jack Benny's antique "Maxwell" automobile's gasping and wheezing and struggling to crank up. More widely recognised as the voice of virtually every major character in the Warner Bros. cartoon pantheon, including Porky Pig, Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Tweety & Sylvester both, Yosemite Sam, et al. Since Blanc's death, his son Noel Blanc has taken up some of his father's mantle.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Bill Takacs <kinephile@aol.com>

Spouse (1)

Estelle Rosenbaum (4 January 1933 - 10 July 1989) (his death) (1 child)

Trade Mark (4)

Remarkable ability to change the pitch and sound of his voice to create many of the most well known cartoon characters of all time
The voice of Bugs Bunny
The voice of Barney Rubble from The Flintstones (1960)
Catchphrase: "That's all, folks!"

Trivia (34)

His son Noel Blanc voiced many of the Warner Brothers cartoon characters for a time shortly after Blanc's death.
January 24, 1961: Was in a near-fatal car accident while many of the shows that required his services, most importantly The Flintstones (1960), were still in production. He did the voices of his characters in both his home bed and his hospital bed, in a full body cast and with all his Flintstones co-stars and recording equipment crowded into the same room.
Originally, the sound of the Maxwell car on Jack Benny's radio show was a pre-recorded sound effect on a phonograph record. However, during a live broadcast, Blanc noticed that the record player was not turned on for the crucial moment when the effect was supposed to play. He quickly grabbed the microphone and improvised the sounds himself, to the utter delight of the studio audience. Benny made it part of the program from then on and gave Blanc much larger roles to play in the show.
Shortly before his death, executives of Time Warner (owners of Warner Brothers) asked him if there was anything, literally anything, that they could give him to thank him for his life's body of work. He asked for--and received--a Ford Edsel.
While in a coma after a cataclysmic automobile accident, doctors unsuccessfully tried to get Mel to talk. Finally, a doctor, who was also a huge fan of his cartoon characters, asked Mel, "Bugs? Bugs Bunny? Are you there?". Mel responded, in Bugs Bunny's voice, "What's up, Doc?". After talking with several other characters, they eventually led Mel out of his coma.
He appeared in a television commercial for the American Express charge card, where he performed several character voices in quick succession. After his death, American Express began running the commercial again, showing his name with birth and death years on the bottom of the screen at the end of the commercial, both to promote their card, and pay tribute to the vocal genius.
Originally, voice artists were not given screen credit on animated cartoons. After he was turned down for a raise by tight-fisted producer Leon Schlesinger, Blanc suggested they add his name as Vocal Characterizationist to the credits as a compromise and omitted the name of any other voice actor that worked on the cartoon. Not only did it give greater recognition to voice artists from then on, it helped to bring Blanc to the public eye and quickly brought him more work in radio.
Epitaph on headstone at his burial site in Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles, California reads, "That's all, folks!".
Blanc legally changed his last name from Blank to Blanc because of a nasty school teacher who used to make fun of it.
Sylvester the Cat was modeled after Blanc's character Sylvester on CBS Radio's "The Judy Canova Show" during the early 1940s.
During World War II, he provided the voice of Private Snafu in training films for the soldiers. Interestingly enough, some of these training films were written by Theodor S. Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss.
Created the voice of Walter Lantz's Woody Woodpecker, whose laugh was a version of a laugh Blanc had been performing since high school. He only performed the voice in the first four Woody cartoons: Knock Knock (1940); Woody Woodpecker (1941); and The Screwdriver (1941), and Pantry Panic (1941), after which Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies producer Leon Schlesinger signed him to an exclusive contract. Lantz used Ben Hardaway to record Woody's dialogue for subsequent cartoons until 1950, but since no one could properly imitate Blanc's laugh at the time, a sound clip from Woody Woodpecker (1941) was edited into these later cartoons' soundtracks. In 1948, Blanc sued Lantz for using his voice in subsequent cartoons without compensation and settled with him out-of-court. However, Blanc saying "Guess who?" can be heard at the beginning of every Woody Woodpecker short.
Biography in Smith, Ronald S., "Who's Who in Comedy," pp. 54-55. New York: Facts on File, 1992. ISBN 0816023387.
1925: Was initiated into DeMolay at the Sunnyside Chapter in Portland, Oregon.
1966: Received the French Legion of Honor.
April 27, 1987: Inducted into the DeMolay Hall of Fame.
1986: He was selected by a national survey of young people as one of the five individuals they would most like to meet.
1961: He was the voice of Speedy Gonzalez [sic] in the hit record of the same name by Pat Boone. Blanc actually ad-libbed most of his dialogue, since the record was Boone's version of a song recorded by another artist earlier that year, in which the character had very little dialogue.
Only got his start at Warner Brothers after one of their voice actors died.
Raised in Portland, Oregon, he worked at KGW Radio as an announcer and as one of the Hoot Owls in the mid-1930s, where he specialized in comic voices. It took him a year and a half to land an audition with Leon Schlesinger's company, where he began in 1937 on a per-picture basis until 1941. He also worked for Walter Lantz, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Columbia, and even Walt Disney until Schlesinger signed him to an exclusive contract.
According to his son Noel Blanc, of all the cartoon characters he voiced, the one that was the closest to his actual voice was Sylvester the Cat, only without the lisp.
Had a collection of over 300 antique watches (as of 1979) including a watch dating back to 1510 that only had one hand and chimed every hour.
His license plate read "KMIT". A representative at the California Department of Motor Vehicles asked him if it stood for a radio station, since it is illegal to advertise on a plate. He replied, "No, that's actually an old Jewish expression, 'know me in truth.'" What it actually stood for was "kish mir im tuchis," a Yiddish phrase meaning "Kiss my ass.".
Had played boarder Tiffany Twiggs in the radio series "Major Hoople", which debuted on NBC's Blue Network on June 22, 1942. Based on Gene Ahern's comic strip "Our Boarding House", the radio series starred Arthur Q. Bryan as Major Hoople and Patsy Moran as the Major's wife, Martha Hoople, who ran the boarding house (Bryan would later become the voice of Elmer Fudd, Bugs Bunny's nemesis). The 30-minute program, which aired on Mondays at 7 pm, went off the air on April 26, 1943.
Mel, who was raised in Portland, Oregon, became friends with the famous Big Band singer Kay St. Germain Wells who was born and raised in Portland.
Biography in "The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives," Volume Two, 1986- 1990, pp. 112-113. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1999.
The sound Bugs makes while munching a carrot is actually Mel Blanc munching on a carrot. He tried using celery, raw potatoes, and a lot of other things, but only a carrot would make that carrot crunching sound. According to Noel Blanc, Mel's son, Mel was not in fact allergic to carrots as was previously thought by many. People who worked in the sound studios believed this because they would see Mel spitting out the carrot after taking a bite. Mel did this because he could not speak with the carrot in his mouth and that was the only reason he spat it out.
Jack Benny once said of him, "There are only five real people in Hollywood. Everybody else is Mel Blanc.".
Mel was such a consummate method actor that it was said that when he was in a sound booth doing a character, one could tell exactly which character he was doing without hearing his lines.
Shared first name as well as voice booth time with friend Mel Tormé.
Profiled in "Old-Time Radio Memories" by Mel Simons (BearManor Media).
He was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Radio at 6385 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.
Was in the DeMolay, a Masonic youth group. When he reached the age of maturity, he joined the Masonic Lodge.
Ex-father-in-law of Larraine Zax and Martha Smith. Father-in-law of Katherine Hushaw.

Personal Quotes (3)

Today was tomorrow yesterday, so don't inhale.
I have been a member of DeMolay for 63 years. I thank God and DeMolay for helping me become kind and thoughtful to my parents and all my friends. I had many opportunities to do the wrong things, and I might have done them if it were not for DeMolay. God bless them.
[his trademark catchphrase] That's all, folks!

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