The Man Who Created the Voices of 1,500 Cartoon Characters You Know, and Love

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LooneyTunes

This post has been written for those tough days.  For the days when you need to laugh a little more.

If you’d like to skip to the suggestions for a better mood today, scroll down until you get to the ( ** **) section.  For the creator of Bugs Bunny and more, continue reading…

If there’s one person who can always get me through anything, it’s Mel Blanc.   Don’t know the name?  I bet you do …here is who he is more commonly known as …

The voice of:

-Bugs Bunny

-Daffy Duck

-Yosemite Sam

-Porky Pig

-Tweety Bird

Elmer Fud

-Wile E. Coyte

-Rockey and Mugsy

-Speedy Gonzalez

-Woody Wood Pecker

-Pepe Le Pew

-Sylvester

-Foghorn Leghorn

-Marvin the Martian

-Tasmanian Devil

-Tom Cat & Jerry Mouse (Tom and Jerry)

-Frito Bandito

-George Jetson

-Cosmo from the Jetsons

-Fred Flintstone

-Barney Rubble

-Dino from the Flintstones

…and over 1000 more.

Mel was born in 1908 and lived until 1989.  As a child, he began creating voices that stirred up the classroom and gave him the reputation of the funny man he would become.   As an adult, he moved to Hollywood with his new wide, and tried to sell his talent for years to big name companies.  No one would give him a chance.  They all claimed to have “all the talent they needed.”  Warner Brothers, in particular, would not even listen to an audition.  His wife was patient, and told Mel to keep on trying even though  he was ready to give up.

For two years he knocked on the same door of Warner Brothers Studios begging for 5 minutes of the directors time, and for two years, he was denied.  His perseverance finally had a break through when the director, who denied Mel of his time, was no longer in charge.  The new person in charge gave Mel a chance.

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Many cartoon characters of this time we’re created by individual people, in other words, not many people played the voice of more than a few characters.  Although the characters were animated, their personalities were not.  What Mel Blanc brought to the animation studios was priceless, he became the character he was recording.  He soon became the voice of over 1,000 characters.  His particular vocal range allowed for him to be the high-pitched Tweety Bird, but also the rough-and-gruff Yosemite Sam.  Any studio would have given Mel the deal of a life time to work for them.  Instead of hiring different people for each character, you only needed one man if you had Mel.

Mel was a hard working man.  He would literally travel from studio-to-studio, morning till’ night recording.  He had a loving family who he would make sure to have dinner with, and then race off to a late night recording.

Then one day, Mel nearly lost his life.

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In the 1960’s Mel had just left the studio when he was in a head on collision at Dead Man’s Curve in California.  His chance of survival was very little.  He had broken nearly every bone in his body, and suffered from a brain injury, among many other complications.  He was in a coma and after weeks, no one seemed to be able to say or do anything that would snap him out of the coma.

Then one day the doctor was visiting Mel in his hospital room.  Instead of the usual “Mel, are you there? Can you hear me?”  the doctor decided to try a slightly different approach.  Instead he called:

“Hey Bugs, you there?”

The doctor waited.

All of the sudden, what seemed to be a miracle occurred,  Mel responded as Bugs Bunny:

“Eah, What’s up Doc?”

After this, it was clear that Mel was going to OK.  It was as if Bugs Bunny saved Mel’s life.  There was some connection between him feeling like he was the rabbit more than he was Mel during that coma state.

His recovery was slow, and he remained in a full-body cast for sometime.  However, nearly immediately after he began talking, he began working directly from his hospital beg.  The first episodes of the Flintstones we’re recorded from the hospital.

Mel lived many years, working hard in the industry, being a father, and devoted husband before his passing in 1989.  His tomb stone reads “That’s All Folks!”

Watch a clip of Mel in action on the David Letterman show by clicking this link.

Now that you and Mel are more acquainted, I’d like to shift gears and talk about the power of laughter.

(**Start here if you’ve skipped ahead to the ways to improve your mood today**)

I mentioned earlier that this post was for those days when you need a good laugh.  I’ve been through some turbulence in life these past few months, and I realize the importance  of letting go.  We’ve got to learn to let go of feelings that don’t enhance our life.  These feelings may be cause by a host of reasons.  The reasons are not as important, as it is to let them go.

Laughing, smiling,  and being a little silly are all ways to snap out of it, just like Mel did when he was in a coma.  I think in many ways we are all cartoon characters.  Somewhere inside we have a witty silliness because we were all kids once, yet we forget to let this part of our character shine.  Mel let this character shine all of the time, and it ended up saving his life.  Even in a dark time, Bugs Bunny was the only character he could relate to well enough, to connect with the doctor speaking to him.  This of course is a metaphor for your own life.  Sometimes it just feels good to find your own inner character that is not the stress of your life.

Instead of getting wrapped up in the seriousness of the day, do something that makes you glow inside.  For me it’s Looney Tunes cartoons, but it may be something different for you.  The point is, when we are not feeling our best, our brains are creating continuous loops of negative thoughts, and this is where the science comes in (the idea of negative thoughts and/or feelings forming loops of more negative thoughts and/or feelings)…

Interrupt the loop, interrupt the thought.

Interrupt the thought, replace the thought.  

Eventually, break the loop, break the thought.  Feel better.

Here are some quick ideas to interrupt a negative thought that has nothing to do with cartoons:

  • Look at images of animals which make you smile.

king-penguins_793_600x450

  • Listen to an uplifting song.
  • Close your eyes and visualize your favorite getaway spot.  Use all your senses, feel the temperature, see the sunlight, smell the air, be in the moment.  (For me, I’d be doing yoga on the bridge below)

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  • Watch a funny youtube video (fast forward to about 30 seconds if you’d like).

Funniest thing Jimmy Kimmels ever done on his show.

  • Write down 10 things your thankful for today (having matching socks counts as something).
  • Breathe deeply for 3 minutes.

For me, there is something about cartoons that just makes me feel good inside.  I’m a big kid at heart, that’s certainly one part of it.  I also grew up with these lovable characters.  In my eyes they could do no wrong …even if Wil E Coyote has been trying to kill an innocent Road Runner for decades.

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Do something simple for yourself today.  Break the loop, and feel better.  When you feel better, and you’re in a state of happiness, you are healing.  Isn’t that the point?

Thanks Mel Blanc for all the laughs you’ve given me …

blanc

Om Shantih,

-DC

Photo’s retrieved from: http://melblancproject.wordpress.com/2012/01/14/intermediate-guide-to-mel-blanc-2/

http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/photos/penguins/

http://able2know.org/topic/162034-1

http://marcscottvoiceover.com/saturday-morning-cartoons-mel-blanc/

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