Mel Blanc

Mel Blanc

Jack Benny once said of him, "There are only five real people in Hollywood. Everybody else is Mel Blanc.".

1/24/61: Was in a near-fatal car accident while many of the shows that required his services, most importantly "The Flintstones" (1960), were still in production. He did the voices of his characters in both his home bed and his hospital bed, in a full body cast and with all his "Flintstones" co-stars and recording equipment crowded into the same room.

1925: Was initiated into DeMolay at the Sunnyside Chapter in Portland, OR.

1961: He was the voice of Speedy Gonzalez [sic] in the hit record of the same name by Pat Boone. Blanc actually ad-libbed most of his dialogue, since the record was Boone's version of a song recorded by another artist earlier that year, in which the character had very little dialogue.

1966: Received the French Legion of Honor.

1986: He was selected by a national survey of young people as one of the five individuals they would most like to meet.

4/27/87: Inducted into the DeMolay Hall of Fame.

According to his son Noel Blanc, of all the cartoon characters he voiced, the one that was the closest to his actual voice was Sylvester the Cat, only without the lisp.

Biography in "The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives," Volume Two, 1986- 1990, pp. 112-113. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1999.

Biography in Smith, Ronald S., "Who's Who in Comedy," pp. 54-55. New York: Facts on File, 1992. ISBN 0816023387.

Blanc legally changed his last name from Blank to Blanc because of a nasty school teacher who used to make fun of it.

Created the voice of Walter Lantz's Woody Woodpecker, whose laugh was a version of a laugh Blanc had been performing since high school. He only performed the voice in the first four Woody cartoons: Knock Knock (1940); Woody Woodpecker (1941); and The Screwdriver (1941), and Pantry Panic (1941), after which Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies producer Leon Schlesinger signed him to an exclusive contract. Lantz used Ben Hardaway to record Woody's dialogue for subsequent cartoons until 1950, but since no one could properly imitate Blanc's laugh at the time, a sound clip from Woody Woodpecker (1941) was edited into these later cartoons' soundtracks. In 1948, Blanc sued Lantz for using his voice in subsequent cartoons without compensation and settled with him out-of-court. However, Blanc saying "Guess who?" can be heard at the beginning of every Woody Woodpecker short.

During World War II, he provided the voice of Pvt. Snafu in training films for the soldiers. Interestingly enough, some of these training films were written by Theodor S. Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss.

Epitaph on headstone at his burial site in Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Hollywood reads, "That's All, Folks!".

Had a collection of over 300 antique watches (as of 1979) including a watch dating back to 1510 that only had one hand and chimed every hour.

He appeared in a television commercial for the American Express charge card, where he performed several character voices in quick succession. After his death, American Express began running the commercial again, showing his name with birth and death years on the bottom of the screen at the end of the commercial, both to promote their card, and pay tribute to the vocal genius.

He was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Radio at 6385 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.

His license plate read "KMIT." A representative at the California Department of Motor Vehicles asked him if it stood for a radio station, since it is illegal to advertise on a plate. He replied, "No, that's actually an old Jewish expression, 'know me in truth.'" What it actually stood for was "kish mir im tuchis," a Yiddish phrase meaning "Kiss my ass.".

His son Noel Blanc voiced many of the Warner Bros. cartoon characters for a time shortly after Blanc's death.

Many of the voices he did for Looney Tunes were sped up after being recorded. Examples are Tweety, Speedy Gonzales, Porky Pig, and Daffy Duck. Porky's voice sounds a little like Bugs' voice before being sped, and Daffy's voice is Sylvester's voice sans the slobbering.