Mel Blanc wasn't just a voice acting icon — He was a hero to the voice actors that came after him

Blanc was an inspiration.

LOONEY TUNES and all related characters are ™ of & © WBEI

You know the phrase, "Leave it better than you found it?" In many cases, it just means to take care of your own space or to try to make the world a bit better than it was when you arrived. Someone like Mel Blanc excelled at this rule because, before he arrived, iconic cartoon characters were few and far between. Blanc went beyond working as a voice actor; With the way he performed, he turned his performance into an art form. 

Not only did Blanc leave this world better than he found it, but he, in turn, was able to use his gift to inspire others who would carry on his mission. In an interview with The Pittsburgh Press, Jeff Bergman spoke about his early beginnings as a voice actor. Bergman is well-known for his work in voice acting, particularly in several of the Looney Tunes. In fact, Bergman was the first to take over the voice of Bugs Bunny after Mel Blanc's death in 1989.

However, Bergman was lucky enough to meet Blanc much earlier in 1981, when he was able to watch Blanc perform at the University of Pittsburgh. At that time, Bergman was a speech major and actually managed to find Blanc afterward to perform a few of his own voices for the great. Bergman stated that Blanc remarked after forty-five minutes, "You're going to go somewhere. I'm going to remember your name." 

For Bergman, this was a game changer. He told the Press, "That was a turning point for me. It changed my direction. I started to do all of the Warner Bros. characters. I wanted to be Mel Blanc."

Bergman also spoke about the death of Blanc, and stated, "I couldn't work for, like, two whole days. I was freaking out. It was so weird when that happened."

Still, Bergman was determined to carry on Blanc's legacy and was eventually given the opportunity to fill his hero's shoes. Of the experience, Bergman said, "If I can continue all the characters so that people never even know the difference — if I can do that, I think I will have achieved something."

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Runeshaper 6 months ago
Bergman received an AMAZING honor and opportunity (-:
sagafrat69 6 months ago
In 1989 after Blanc's passing The Los Angeles Times printed an empty microphone with a spotlight on it. Around the spotlight were Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, Marvin the Martian, Tweedy Bird and the countless other characters Mel Blanc brought to life. They all had their heads bowed in silent tribute. An incredible way to honor a truly unique and talented man. One could put the voice of NFL Films John Facenda in the same category as Blanc. Over the years many have tried to duplicate their voices and styles. It just hasn't been quite the same since. And those WB cartoons are still the greatest ever because of Mel Blanc.
Runeshaper sagafrat69 6 months ago
Thanks for sharing that info. Sounds like a truly beautiful tribute.
MrsPhilHarris sagafrat69 6 months ago
I’ve seen it. It says “Speechless”. A lovely tribute.
justjeff 6 months ago
The sad part about losing Mel Blanc is that the many voice artists who have stepped into his characters' shoes can generally only excel at one, or perhaps two of them. **NO ONE** - not even Mel's son Noel have ever nailed it on all of the voices.

This is because of one unique factor - the *timbre* of a person's voice... it's as unique as their written signature. Listen carefully when Mel spoke in his own voice... you could hear traces of his characters - especially Bugs - in his natural speaking tones.

I [as many others] can emulate a number of the Looney Tunes characters so that someone can recognize them, but they *do not* sound *exactly* like the characters when done by Mel.

Even when Arthur Q. Bryan died (the original voice of Elmer Fudd), Blanc was asked at one point to do Elmer. He was noted for saying that it was one of the most difficult voices he ever had to do. Bryan's voice timbre was that unique.

I'm certainly not disparaging any of the other voice actors. They have helped keep these cherished characters alive for new generations. I'm just saying there has never been anyone like Mel Blanc before or since...
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