Mel Blanc (born Melvin Jerome Blank) was Hollywood’s virtuoso of the voice. He was dubbed “The Man of a Thousand Voices” by newspaper columnist Carroll Van Court.
Mel Blanc was probably the single most heard voice in the history of television. Reportedly, Mel Blanc once started to count the amount of voices he had in his repertoire and got to 400 before falling asleep.
Mel is responsible for doing the cartoon voices on over 3000 plus Warner Brother Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies animated features created during the 1940s and 1950s, including the Road “Beep, Beep” Runner, Sylvester the Cat, Tweety Pie, Foghorn Leghorn, Pepe Le Pew, Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, Daffy Duck, Speedy Gonzales and Yosemite Sam.
His television credits featured the voices of cave man Barney Rubble, and pet dinosaur Dino on THE FLINTSTONES, and in later years the voice of Twiki, the dwarf robot companion on BUCK ROGERS IN THE 25TH CENTURY/NBC/1979-81.
Mel Blanc honed his vocal skills on such radio programs as THE GREAT GILDERSLEEVE, BABY SNOOKS, and MAJOR HOOPLE. But perhaps, his most famous memorable characters appeared on the radio version of THE JACK BENNY SHOW where he performed as:
- Carmichael, the ill-tempered Polar Bear who guarded Jack’s underground vault
- a railroad conductor who echoed the classic line “Anaheim, Azuza and Cu-ca-munga”
- the squealing, belching sounds of a Maxwell automobile
- Sy, the nasal Mexican gardener who spoke in a flat, expressionless voice
- Monsieur Le Blanc, Jack Benny’s French violin instructor.
Melvin Jerome Blank was born in San Francisco on Memorial Day, May 30, 1908 and died at the age of eighty-one. His tombstone reads: “Th-uh-th–uh-th-That’s all Folks!”
The Hollywood Walk of Fame honored his talents with a sidewalk star located at 6385 Hollywood Boulevard.
Note: Character actor Allen Swift, who provided voices for numerous TV and radio commercials, was also billed as “The Man of Thousand Voices.” Born on January 16, 1924 in New York City, NY, Ira Stadlen (Allen Swift) died from complications from a fall on April 18, 2010 in New York City, NY. He was 86.