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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Not very magical, still... » » The original Mel Blanc on Johny Carson clip (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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daffydoug
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Here is a great piece of TV history, with Mel Blanc cutting up for Johny Carson. Priceless! http://www.jokeroo.com/funnyvideos/mel_blanc_voices.html
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Mercury52
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Mel was truly great. This post inspired me to search for him on Youtube, which yielded this link... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wtazbwQPYts

It's the same vid as Daff's, but with an extra 1:30 of material at the beginning.

Great, great stuff.
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daffydoug
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Mel was always my hero. I found a link that was interesting..there was this kid who was CRAZY about Mel's voices , and wanted only one thing when he grew up. He wanted to be the voice of Porky Pig! His parents thought he was crazy.

Well, he worked and worked on it, and finally was ready to talk to Blanc himself..so he ingeniously found his phone number even though it was unlisted in the L.A. phone book, and the kid calls him up personally on the phone one evening. Mel was really shocked! The first thing he asked him was "HOW did you get my phone number???"

After he explained it, Mel very graciously went on to coach him over the phone.

Well, the kid recorded the whole phone call, and on his web site he provides the audio of that call. If I can find it again, I'll post it.

Ahhh, but the man of a thousand voices was the greatest. Daws Butler was not too Shabby either!
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Josh the Superfluous
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I once heard a great story on NPR. A linguist was a vocal coach to movie stars. His specialty was speaking patterns of the southern United States. He prided himself on being regionally and historically accurate on the characters dialect. Certain patterns (in movies such as Gone With The Wind) kept coming up that he had trouble tracing their origins. Eventually he tracked them down to their source......Foghorn Leghorn. It seems that many of Hollywoods most famous southern folk were based on a Jewish Guy from New York.
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I find it interesting that Mark Hammill, who played Luke Skywalker, also did the voice of the Joker in the "Batman:The Animated Series" cartoons. Just loved that character!
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Saw Mel Blanc when I was in college. After about an hour of talking about his life and the history of the various characters he did, he went into a twenty-minute exchange among twenty-five or so of his characters, never missing a beat. You could close your eyes and almost see them on television.
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Chessmann
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That man should have won a special Academy Award - don't think he ever did. If not, it is a crime.

How do you pronounce his last name - "Blank", or "Blahnk"? Funny, I don't remember ever hearing anyone say it.
My ex-cat was named "Muffin". "Vomit" would be a better name for her. AKA "The Evil Ball of Fur".
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Like bullets that don't shoot.
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daffydoug
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Great anecdote from Jeff Bergman, vocal impersonator who idolized Mel, and has many of the Looney Toons voices down to a "t"; Jeff tells of the time Mel was performing at a College and Jeff went to see him. After the performance, he found out which hotel room Mel was staying in, and he went up to the door and banged on the door, and yelled something like "You're my idol, and if you don't let me in I'm gonna kill you!"

Amazingly, Mel opened the door and talked to him, whereupon Jeff showed Mel his voices, and Mel them proceeded to take an hour or so to personally coach him on each of the voices. He was a kind man, indeed.

He also loved timepieces, and had a LARGE collection of watches and timepieces in his home.
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Doug Higley
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Always counted never meeting Mel as one of the BIG losses in my life. I made a bunch of money over the years doing those voices in commercials here and there. One of these days I need to find the old tapes and put them on the site.

Daws was a true gentleman as was my dear friend Clarance 'Ducky' Nash (the nicest sweetest old man I ever knew. RIP as I know you are.). Daws and I would get on the phone and character our selves to death some nights. I wish I had taped those calls! Very funny. I think I have one or two of the radio bits we did over the years. You can hear Daws on some of Stan Freeberg's old releases too. Wonderful 1st class people...lost to time and the current trend toward no class. Sad.
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daffydoug
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Man, you knew Daws personally? Man, I kiss your feet!

daws was such a consumate expert on dialects. He could do 'em all. He and June foray were both sweet people (June is still here, as far as I know) who took the time to mentor others.

Daws stressed the importance of ACTING, not simply doing impersonations, but acting and actually becoming the character you were voicing. When he did Yogi, for instance, because Yogi was supposed to be a such a BIG bear, Daws would throw his shoulders back and widen his chest to become Yogi.

Of course, Doug, this is probably not new to you, since you knew him, but it's good wisdom from the master himself.


Doug, years ago, I taped off of TV a special about Daws titled "Daws Butler, Voice magician" Are you familiar with the special?
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Doug Higley
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No I'm not I don't think. But TV tends to drift back where I can't find it in the cobwebs.

Daws was brilliant in so many ways. A lot of people have asked me over the years how come I never went to Hollywood and used my voices there. Because Daws 'edumacated' me to stay the hell out of that town! Simple as that.
Do you know that even after ALL the countless voices he did for HB he was still getting just Day Money toward the end. He'd come in and do most all the voices in a TV Holiday special and get Day Money. No respect. He made HB and those characters.

June is still alive and working regularly last I heard. Never had contact with her either to my loss.

The stories about Clarance Nash wold take me too long. Lets just say Disney had no clue 'who' he was, what he meant to people and how he was lost to the world untill found by a dopey radio talk show (me) host after Daws told me where he was and what he was doing. We got to make his last years those of love and recognition...it's a long story.
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daffydoug
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I'm not familiar with the term "day money" (enough cash to get you through one day, I assume?) but whatever it is, Daws certainly deserved the BEST! (Simply because he WAS the best!) To hear that he received no respect is an amazingly sad thing to hear. Man, he wasn't a novice nobody who didn't know his *** from a hole in the ground as far as voice over, he was the MASTER. Proven himself over and over again through the long years of his career..... How could they possibly treat him that way? My heart does not understand.
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Doug Higley
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Hollywood. Synoneemouse for Bullsh*8. Day money was a standard payment for a days work. I remember in the 80's it was a few hundred. Crummy doesn't describe day money for a long time MAJOR talent that had made them what they were/are. Every one of those characters were animated TOO the wonderful characterizations and creative brilliance of Daws. Just look at the lousy output of crap when they didn't have him involved. One just needs to look at the 'Filmation' studio output to see what HB would have been like without Daws. arrrrrrg.
He got tons of respect from those of us who were fans and in awe but from the corporate calculator types...uh uh. They didn't skip a beat when he passed on...just got somebody else to copy his signature voices that had put them on the map.

As far as Clarance went...you wouldn't believe that bunch at Disney! Clueless.
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daffydoug
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On that last part I'm not surprised! Clarence was special..REAL special.

Day money sounds like what I get for working the dirty old factory here in town! (a days wages for a days work.)

But as far as Daws, in my book he was a MILLION DOLLAR talent. My feeling is that he was equal with Mel, as far as ability, genius, creativity, originality, and all that. His warm voices made some of the most truly magical moments of my childhood.

When I get to my basement, and go through my video tapes, I'll try to find that Vid tape with the Daws special. You WOULD like to see it, wouldn't you?
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Doug Higley
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Yep.
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daffydoug
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Ahhhhhh, I figured as much!
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Mercury52
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I had the pleasure of studying with a voice teacher in the last few months who worked for a long while with Mel in his later years, as well as his son Noel. He said that back in the "Golden Age" Mel was paid about $40 a week for his work voicing Bugs, etc. Mel did not consider that time to be a golden age, to say the least.

Kevin
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daffydoug
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That was in the fourties, but what would fourty bucks a week come out to in today's wages?
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Mercury52
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Using the year 1940 as a guide (since Mel was doing Porky and Daffy since about 1937), according to this web inflation calculator (see link below) $40 back in 1940 comes to about $530 in 2005 dollars. I think we'd all agree that that's not exactly the kind of paycheck a talent like Mel deserves.

Also, this is what he was being paid once he was getting steady work providing these characters. In some of the earlier days I'm sure he was being paid much less.

http://www.westegg.com/inflation/
Kevin Reylek
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