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Behind the Tunes: Wild Lines - The Art of Voice Acting (2006)

Video  -  Documentary | Short  -  14 November 2006 (USA)
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A documentary about the voice acting in the Looney Tunes cartoon shorts.

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Title: Behind the Tunes: Wild Lines - The Art of Voice Acting (Video 2006)

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Noel Blanc ...
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A documentary about the voice acting in the Looney Tunes cartoon shorts.

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looney tunes | See All (1) »

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Documentary | Short

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14 November 2006 (USA)  »

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Created for the "Looney Tunes Golden Collection: Vol. 4" DVD box set. See more »

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References The Honeymooners (1955) See more »

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Spotlight on Voices
13 December 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This bonus feature is one of my all-time favorites of the many bonus features on the DVD series, GOLDEN COLLECTION. It's featured on disc 4 on Volume Four of the collection. As you see with the long cast-list it sets out to shine some light on the sadly over-looked area in cartoons: the voice acting. While it's true that kids and even adults when they watch an animated program aren't usually thinking of someone standing or sitting in front of a microphone providing the voices. So, in the sense, I can see why the voice-acting area is over-looked by the public. But at the same time I'm kind of quirky myself and I enjoy learning about the voice artists and seeing them do the voices on-screen and so in that sense I wish voice-acting would have been more focused on by the media and the public.

Given that this is Warner Brothers a good number of attention is spent, obviously, on the voice artists at the studio. Mel Blanc, the studio's #1 voice artist, is given spotlight as are Arthur Q Bryan, Bea Benaderet, June Foray, and Stan Freberg. Viewers are also told that one of the cartoon's major writers, Tedd Pierce, doubled as a sometimes voice actor opposite Mel Blanc on a few cartoons. Mel's exclusive contract is explained while June Foray discusses her introduction to the Warner Brothers cartoons and she explains that her two biggest characters of Granny and Witch Hazel had been voiced before by Bea Benaderet but not being a big cartoon watcher she assumed the characters were new. Daws Butler is mentioned in this segment, too.

Those who are into cartoons and have some knowledge of who made cartoons and who voiced some characters will know of Daws Butler and you'll also know that he was Hanna-Barbera's #1 voice artist during the late '50s through the mid '60s.

His spotlight on a Warner Brothers DVD series may seem bizarre given how synonymous he was with Hanna-Barbera but in fact Daws lent his voice to quite a few Warner Brothers cartoons but given the exclusivity of Mel Blanc's contract, no other voice artist could get screen credit until the contract expired. The contract expired in the mid '60s and that's when viewers began to see the other voice artist's names on screen next to Mel on Warner Brothers cartoons. Daws, most famously, lent his voice for the Robert McKimson parody of the Honeymooners called "The Honeymousers". It's Daws who's giving voice to the Ralph and Gnorton mice. June Foray voices Alice. They're not given credit on-screen, though.

Daws also voiced the villain, Nasty Canasta, in the Bugs Bunny cartoon "Barbary Coast Bunny". Daws also narrated and did the male voices in the Chuck Jones cartoon short, "Rocket-Bye Baby". In the Bugs Bunny-Elmer Fudd cartoon "Wideo Wabbit", Daws is the one doing the impressions of Groucho Marx and Ed Gnorton, in spite of it being Bugs Bunny "impersonating" those roles. In "Backwoods Bunny" it's Daws providing the voices for the country buzzards, Pappy and Elvis. These characters would appear in other cartoon shorts as well.

There should have been a bigger spotlight on Daws but as others have said Mel Blanc was the heart and soul of the Warner Brothers cartoons.

Robert Bruce is given some exposure via Keith Scott who gives insight to Bruce's origins. Billy Bletcher is also another voice artist whose characterizations are well-known even if his name is not.

So, the bottom line is, this look at voice acting in this installment is a near as thorough look as possible at those artists who provided voices for Warner Brothers cartoons.


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