Wednesday, 30 May 2018

A Thousand Voices

Born on this day in 1908 was the great voice artist Mel Blanc, 'Man of a Thousand Voices'. The number and range of animated characters he voiced is astonishing – all the way from Tweety Bird to Yosemite Sam, via Bugs Bunny, Wile E. Coyote, Daffy Duck, Foghorn Leghorn, Sylvester the Cat ('my normal speaking voice with a spray at the end'), and, later, Barney Rubble, Cosmo Spacely (in The Jetsons) and many another, quite possibly to the number of a thousand. 'There are only five real people in Hollywood,' Jack Benny once remarked. 'The rest are all Mel Blanc.'
  In 1961, Blanc had a very nearly fatal car accident which left him in a coma for weeks. Eventually one of his neurologists woke him by asking, 'How are you feeling today, Bugs Bunny?' After a short pause, Blanc replied, 'Eh... Just fine, Doc. How are you?' The specialist than asked if Tweety was around. 'I tawt I taw a puddy tat,' replied Blanc, who from then on began a long recovery. In the course of it, he recorded several episodes of The Flintstones while lying flat on his back in a full-body cast. What a pro! He also found time to file a $500,000 lawsuit against the city of Los Angeles, causing the authorities to make the site of his accident, the aptly named Dead Man's Curve, considerably safer.
  Mel Blanc died at the age of 81, and, at his own request, his headstone bears the legend 'That's All, Folks!'

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