Jack Mercer loved to do his Popeye voice for children

There was one audience Mercer loved performing for.

Warner Brothers

One of the big perks of being an animation voice legend is that fans look up to you like you're some kind of hero, many of them children who are thrilled to see the face beyond their favorite characters.

In an interview with the Dayton Daily News, Jack Mercer, the voice of Popeye, revealed that he rarely performed the character's voice in public, but when he did, he would usually perform to surprise children visiting him.

To meet their hero can be incredibly inspiring to a child. However, Mercer revealed that when he was a child, he never had any intention of going into the entertainment industry, despite his big dreams.

"My folks didn't want me to go into show business," he said. "I did, but I had to get in through a back door because of my parent's disapproval. I was good at art, so that was my entry into show biz."

Mercer transitioned from art into voice acting, and it wasn't too long before he had taken up the mantle of Popeye himself.

In an interview with the Associated Press, Mercer revealed he actually had to be encouraged to audition for the voice of Popeye by a friend. "For my own amusement, I'd do the voices for the characters I was [animating], chickens, and so on. They'd introduced Popeye about this time, someone else doing the voice," he said.

"Well, somebody heard me doing Popeye and suggested I audition for the part. I didn't think I could do it."

Luckily, much like his childhood dream, Mercer wasn't willing to give up. "I kept trying, and one night at home, I hit this particular tone, way down, and I said, 'My God, I've got it.'"

Mercer was spot on, and he was able to land the role on sheer talent alone.

Later in life, Mercer was able to pass it forward and serve as inspiration for the voice talents of tomorrow.

Watch Popeye and Pals on MeTV!

Saturdays at 7 AM

*available in most MeTV markets
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?
Close

6 Comments

Lantern 13 days ago
Saw this guy on the 70's iteration of "To Tell the Truth" (airs on Buzzr, one of the game show channels). I couldn't detect his Popeye voice listening to him speak normally.
forthekids 15 days ago
The name of the first performer to do "Popeye's"voice for The Paramount/Fleischer "Popeye"movie cartoons was William Samuel Costello(AKA"Red Pepper Sam).
cperrynaples 15 days ago
Kinda shocked that no one is talking about the new MeTV Toons channel! Yes, Popeye will be on it, but it will also include nearly everything from the Hanna Barbera catalog! It comes on June 25th and hopefully it will be picked up by Frndly TV!
Not heard that but they took off My Three Sons and put on The Flintstones.
BorisK 15 days ago
A girl 2 years older than me in high school taught me how to imitate Popeye. Blow me down, Olive, I kid you not.
cperrynaples BorisK 14 days ago
I always wondered why he used the phrase "blow me down"! Was that was what he was into if you get my drift...LOL!
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?