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Mel Blanc’s Pinocchio

The legendary voice actor Mel Blanc appeared in only two Disney films in his entire career, and in one of them he was mute.

Mel Blanc

Gene Hester [Public domain]

In the 20th century, Mel Blanc was The Voice. He was the voice of almost all the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies characters: Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, Daffy Duck, Tweety, Sylvester the cat, Yosemite Sam, Speedy Gonzales, Foghorn Leghorn, the Tasmanian Devil, Wile E. Coyote, PepĂ© Le Pew, Marvin the Martian… he even substituted for the voices of Elmer Fudd and Granny when their main voice actors were unavailable. (I wonder if Granny was still fighting with Nixon?) He was also the voice of Barney Rubble in The Flintstones, Mr Spacely in The Jetsons, Secret Squirrel in Secret Squirrel, and hundreds of other characters.

Warner Bros., the studio that produced Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies, were pretty much the anti-Disney: they were the most successful studio beyond the House of Mouse, and Mel Blanc was a big part of that success. When he was starting out – in fact, the same year that Blanc first voiced Bugs Bunny – he was cast in Disney’s landmark 1940 film Pinocchio as Gideon the Cat.

Don’t remember Gideon? He and the red fox Honest John convince Pinocchio to join the puppet show, and then later convince Pinocchio to go to Pleasure Island. Needless to say, neither decision was a good one.

In the original script Gideon the Cat had lots of lines, but the filmmakers changed their minds and made him completely mute. The only thing that’s left of Mel Blanc’s contribution is three hiccups:

It would take forty-eight years for Disney to get Blanc back for a second film: Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

Categories: Arts & recreation Screen & stage

The Generalist

I live in Auckland, New Zealand, and am curious about most things.

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