Book Review - Mel Blanc: The Man of a Thousand Voices
The biography through the Tributes, pages 17 to 245, are illustrated throughout with dozens of photographs of Blanc; mostly publicity photos from throughout his career, with some candid photos taken by family and friends, and a little ephemera such as advertisements featuring Blanc as a celebrity, the cover of his autobiography, and a letter of condolence from ex-President Ronald Reagan to Blanc’s wife after his death. Unfortunately, Mel Blanc: The Man of a Thousand Voices is not published on slick paper, and all of the graphics, while quite sharp, are not as crisp as those in books with separate sections of illustrations on appropriately glossy paper.
Like many Hollywood celebrities, Blanc was often credited with more than he actually did, and even contributed to his legend himself. Ohmert repeats all the popular legends, and also corrects the false ones. “Although in his autobiography Mel took credit for naming Bugs after artist Ben “Bugs” Hardaway, the story wasn’t exactly true. Animator Charlie Thorson is usually credited for inadvertently naming the rabbit after writing ‘Bugs’ Bunny’ at the top of his model sheet when he was drawing for Hardaway’s short, Hare-um Scare-um (1939).” (p. 30).
So if you want any information about Mel Blanc, especially including all of his cartoon character voice credits for the movies (including the World War II Private Snafu cartoons not shown to the civilian public), television (including the TV commercials that he voiced), and children’s records, you have to get Mel Blanc: The Man of a Thousand Voices.
Fred Patten has been a fan of animation since the first theatrical rerelease of Pinocchio (1945). He co-founded the first American fan club for Japanese anime in 1977, and was awarded the Comic-Con International's Inkpot Award in 1980 for introducing anime to American fandom. He began writing about anime for Animation World Magazine since its #5, August 1996. A major stroke in 2005 sidelined him for several years, but now he is back. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.