Sunday, November 29, 2009
Mel Blanc Explains Stuff
Mel is generally considered to be the greatest cartoon voice talent of all time.
There are still some great voice talents today and I've been lucky enough to work with such versatile and charismatic characters as Billy West, Cheryl Chase, Eric Bauza, Corey Burton, Gary Owens, Charlie Adler, Patrick Pinney and more.
All of these folks have highly sensitive and trained ears as well as mouths. This is what they do for a living. They are specialists in sound and much more qualified than movie actors to do animated cartoon voices, but sadly often get passed up when it comes to nabbing the big roles in animated movies. They are also much more eager than already famous and rich movie actors; they aren't there to just have a fun afternoon and walk away. This is their life.
I don't know Jeff Bergman, but Gabe Swarr directed him doing George Jetson's voice on a couple flash cartoons we did and I was very impressed with his talent.
Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. If we had actors today with such distinctive voices as Cary Grant, Gary Cooper, Humphrey Bogart, Peter Lorre, Marlyn Monroe, then they might be able to add something to a cartoon movie character. But even so, trained voice actors usually do even better when they do their caricatured impressions of live actors.
They do it better because they understand the needs of the medium and care about it.
It's the reason an animator would make a better director than a live action director. It's our medium, even though we've been kicked out - or at least barred from using our knowledge in a sane way.
Sheer common sense would produce much more interesting and imaginative animation.
Mike Pataki is an exception. He is mainly a movie actor but just happens to have a very distinct voice and delivery. If all movie actors had such distinctiveness and energy then animation would benefit from the larger pool of talent.