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Mel Blanc

Melvin Jerome Blanc (May 30, 1908 - July 10, 1989) was a famous American voice actor for Warner Brothers and Hanna-Barbera cartoons.

Blanc's ability to create voices for multiple characters first attracted attention when he worked as a voice actor in radio. He was a regular on the Jack Benny Program in various roles, including Benny's automobile (a Maxwell in desperate need of a tune up), violin teacher Professor LeBlanc, Polly the Parrot, and Benny's pet polar bear Carmichael. Blanc also appeared on other national radio programs such as "Burns and Allen" as the Happy Postman, August Moon on "Point Sublime", Sad Sack on "G.I. Journal", Floyd the Barber on "The Great Gildersleeve", and later played various small parts on Benny's television show. Blanc's famous role on Benny's TV show was as "Si, the Mexican" in which he spoke one word at a time. The famous 'si-sy-sue' routine was so hilarious that no matter how many times it was performed, the laughter was always there. Another famous Blanc role on Jack's show was the Train Depot announcer who always said the phrase: "Train leaving on Track Five for Anaheim, Azuza, and Cucamonga". What made that phrase so funny was the spacing between Cuc and amonga.

At times the spacing was a few seconds apart and other times the pause was so achingly drawn out that the listener sat in attention awaiting for Blanc to finally finish the "amonga" portion.

Mel Blanc joined Leon Schlesinger Studios (the subsidiary of Warner Brothers Pictures which produced animated cartoons) in 1936. He soon became noted for voicing a wide variety of cartoon characters, including Bugs Bunny, Tweety Bird, Porky Pig, Daffy Duck, and many others. In the world of Voice Acting, Mel Blanc was the master. His natural voice was Sylvester the Cat but without the lispy spray. Blanc's long association with the theatrical cartoons of Warner Brothers gave him an edge over the made-for-TV voice actors like the two greats Daws Butler and Don Messick. Although Daws and Don both had voice roles in MGM theatrical cartoons {Daws being the southern talking wolf who always whistled and Don at times being "Droopy"}, the two didn't do as many theatricals as Mel.

In the early '60s Mel went to Hanna Barbera and continued to voice various one-shot characters...with Barney Rubble and Mr. Spacely being his most famous with Hanna-Barbera. Daws Butler and Don Messick were Hanna-Barbera's top voice men and Mel was the newcomer to H-B. However, all of the '30s and '40s theatrical cartoons from Warner Brothers were making their way to Saturday morning TV to compete with the made-for-TV Hanna-Barbera's and Mel was once more deemed relevant. Warner Bros then started to make first-run cartoon shorts for TV in the late '60s, mostly shorts consisting of Daffy Duck and Speedy Gonzales or Tweety and Sylvester. Mel did these voices plus the ones he did for the ensemble cartoons like "Wacky Races" and "The Perils of Penelope Pitstop" for Hanna-Barbera. Mel even shared the spotlight with his two rivals and personal friends Daws Butler and Don Messick. On the short called "Lippy the Lion", Daws was Lippy while Mel was his side-kick, "Hardy Har Har". On the short about "Richochet Rabbit", Don was the gun slinging rabbit while Mel was his side-kick, "Deputy Droop-a-Long".

Blanc's last original character was an orange cat called "Heathcliff", who spoke a little like his famed "Bugs Bunny" but with a more street tough demeanor. This was the early '80s. Mel continued to voice his famous characters in commercials.

His death was considered a significant loss to the cartoon industry because of his skill, expressive range, and the sheer number of characters he portrayed, which now had to be taken up by others as literally no one person could match his vocal range.

He was born in San Francisco, California and died in Los Angeles, California. He is interred in the Hollywood Forever Memorial Park Cemetery in Hollywood, California.

List of characters and year he first voiced them:1 2 3

  1. Porky Pig (1937, assumed from Joe Dougherty)
  2. Daffy Duck (1938)
  3. Bugs Bunny (1941)
  4. Woody Woodpecker (1941)
  5. Tweety Bird (1942)
  6. The Hep Cat (1942)
  7. Private Snafu, numerous war-related cartoons (1943)
  8. Yosemite Sam (1945) ("Hare Trigger")
  9. Pepe LePew (1945)
  10. Sylvester the cat (1946) aka Thomas (1947) in some films
  11. Foghorn Leghorn (1946)
  12. Henery Hawk (1946)
  13. Charlie Dog (1947)
  14. Wile E. Coyote (1948)
  15. K-9 (1948) (sidekick to Marvin the Martian)
  16. Marvin the Martian (1948)
  17. Road Runner (1948)
  18. The Tasmanian Devil (1954)
  19. Speedy Gonzalez (1955)
  20. Elmer Fudd (1959, assumed from Arthur Q Bryan)
  21. Barney Rubble (1960)
  22. Dino (1960) (Fred Flintstone's pet.)
  23. Cosmo G. Spacely (1962)
  24. Secret Squirrel (1964-1965)
  25. Hardy Harr Harr (1965-1966)
  26. Bubba McCoy from "Where's Huddles
  27. Captain Caveman
  28. Chug-a-Boom/the Ant Hill Mob/the Bully Brothers from "The Perils of Penelope Pitstop" and "Wacky Races
  29. Heathcliff (1981/ appeared in syndication from 1986-1988)

Books: That's Not All, Folks!, 1988 by Mel Blanc, Philip Bashe. Warner Books, ASIN 0446390895 (Softcover) ASIN 0446512443 (Hardcover)

Mel Blanc: 1908-1989.