ANIMATION WORLD MAGAZINE - ISSUE 5.04 - JULY 2000
Keith Scott: Down Under's Voice Over Marvel
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SL: Was it difficult doing impressions at a time when contemporary actors didn't have very distinguishable voices?
KS: Not really, because in those days it was recognized that anyone who did impressions just did the older one's like Clark Gable, Jimmy Stewart or John Wayne and I fell right into that. What gave me a bit of uniqueness in Australia was that I was one of the first to do political impressions. It was just at that period where TV media was taking over. Now if I do stand up comedy it's all news media oriented stuff. The movie things are thrown in as an added extra. The other thing that I had always done was mimic all these cartoon voices, and that was always a bit of a laugh in school because the baby boomers were the first generation to grow up weaned on cartoons. That's the routine where I do forty cartoon voices in one sentence. It's kind of a closing gimmick, but it still works. I've been doing it for 15 years and I want to drop it, but people keep insisting that I do that cartoon medley. So I just keep adding ones to it, like Homer Simpson or whatever. Bringing it up to date. Even back then, before I ever had the connection with Jay Ward, I'd throw in Bullwinkle and Dudley Do-Right.
Scott: The Early Years. Courtesy of Keith Scott.
SL: How did you come to become the voice man for Yoram Gross?
KS: It just came as a call through the agency. I think the first one was a feature film called Dot and Keeto.I did all the male voices and Robyn Moore did all the female voices. We worked well bouncing off each other. It was great for me because I was given total leeway. There was a trend at the time, especially with overseas cartoons, to be very realistic, or just use all teenage voices. The old Mel Blanc style of voices had fallen out of vogue for a time. But I was given total freedom to do any crazy imitation I wanted. If there was some desk clerk in a scene I'd do Cary Grant, or for a gorilla I'd do Dan Blocker from Bonanza.There was absolutely no discipline in what I did, but they ended up sounding like funny cartoon characters, which is what the guys on Bullwinkle used to do. Half the bit part voices on that show were just imitations of old character actors. The young kids wouldn't have had a clue, but they made an interesting voice. I'm still working for Yoram up to this day, especially in the last few years when he began doing his half-hour TV series like Flipperand Tabaluga.
SL: Is it true you are also licensed to do the Warner Bros. characters?
KS: Yes. That was after Mel Blanc died and they were looking for replacements. They found a few in the States, but at the same time Warner Bros. had just set up world wide overseas branches. The guy running Warner Bros. here had the bright idea of getting a local person to do all the characters for any below-the-equator promotional work. The people in the States gave a tentative go-ahead, and then after one year, when we had done a few animated commercials, they were much happier about it. I'm still officially sanctioned to do it for anything down here but a lot of that's dropped off because after '95 the animated commercials stopped being produced here and they moved base to Hong Kong. However just a couple months ago we had an e-mail from Warner's in England saying the American people had recommended me to do some voices for one of their theme parks. So there have been little highlights along the way. It's always been something I've been quietly proud of but it's not something I usually talk about because they still have replacement voices in America.
Scott at work making moose murmurs. Courtesy of Keith Scott.
SL: Tell me about your work on George of the Jungle.Did you base that voice on the show's original narrator?
KS: I wanted to base it on Paul Frees, but the director kind of steered me away from it because it was movie length. He thought that doing it all at the one Paul Frees level would get a bit monotonous, and he was probably right. Unfortunately for me it was a 50/50 result. I thought a lot of it sounded accurate, but 50% sounded more like Gary Owens from Laugh-in,which drifted from the character. Whereas in the Bullwinkle movie, we've really tried to maintain the William Conrad voice from go to finish. Des McAnuff, the director, really understands pacing and dynamics and he wants it to move and be accurate to the spirit of the old cartoons, which is a great thing. The Dudley Do-Right live-action movie on the other hand was such a flop and so unfunny because of the director. He took the attitude that, "Jay Ward was funny then, but I'm going to put my own humor into it." You can't do that with an established character, because people want to see what the characters are up to now. So it was no wonder it flopped, when he falsified it like that.
SL: I got that movie out for my kids recently and I think it lasted 10 minutes before they turned it off.
KS: The only thing you'll notice is that at the beginning of that tape, we did one new Fractured Fairy Talecalled The Phox, the Box and the Lox.It was always meant to precede the movie. That was from an old Bill Scott script that I had that was never produced. I told Tiffany Ward about it, who was getting this idea about doing some new productions. They recorded it in Hollywood while I was there for this assignment, and I did the two lead characters. Again we tried to keep it accurate, so I imitated the voices the way Daws Butler used to do the lead characters in Fractured Fairy Tales.June Foray worked on that one too, and they found an Edward Everett Horton sound-alike who did quite a good job. So it turned out pretty good, although the pacing was slightly different to the old Fairy Tales,but then they had five minutes to tell the story, where this new one only had four.
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