|Julien’s Auctions, the world-record breaking auction house to the stars, will celebrate the life and career of the one of the most influential voice actors and radio personalities of the 20th Century in Property From The Estate Of Mel BlancL, an exclusive presentation of the man behind Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig and many other iconic cartoon characters taking place live Friday, December 3rd, 2021 at Julien’s Auctions in Beverly Hills and online on juliensauctions.com.|
(photo left: Mel Blanc’s heavily used studio Sony microphone
Born on May 30, 1908 in San Francisco, California, Mel Blanc’s career in radio and voice took off at the early age of 19 as he split his time working as the youngest conductor in the country, performing in vaudeville shows and making his acting debut on The Hoot Owlsradio program, where his talent for voicing multiple characters was first noticed. In 1935, after working on radio shows around the Pacific Northwest, Blanc moved to Hollywood and joined The Johnny Murray Show on KFWB, the radio station owned by Warner Bros., CBS Radio and The Joe Penner Show. But it wasn’t until he became a regular on NBC’s The Jack Benny Program that Blanc would become a household name.
Voicing over fifty-seven voices, dialects as well as special effects, Blanc’s many characters including Benny’s Maxwell automobile, Polly the parrot and “Sy, the Little Mexican”, who spoke one word at a time, was a hit among audiences which led to his appearances on other iconic radio programs such as The Abbot and Costello Show and Burns and Allen and the creation of his own radio show on the CBS Radio Network, The Mel Blanc Show, which ran from 1946-1947. He continued to work with Jack Benny on radio as well as when the program moved into television from 1950 until the 1970s, appearing on guest spots on the NBC specials.
(photo right: VincenPrice and Mel Blanc in studio)
In 1936, Blanc joined Leon Schlesinger Productions who produced theatrical cartoon shorts for Warner Bros. and was introduced to animation directors, Tex Avery, Bob Clampett, Fritz Freleng and Frank Tashlin. Soon after, Blanc became one of Warner Bros.’ top stars as he voiced many of the studio’s “Looney Tunes” characters and popularized them into the pop culture lexicon: Bugs Bunny, whose character he coined the catchphrase “Eh, what’s up doc?”; Porky Pig, where in 1937, he received his first starring role as Porky Pig’s voice in Porky’s Duck Hunt; Daffy Duck who “that’s despicable!” became another popular signature line, as well as Elmer Fudd, Tweety Bird, Sylvester the Cat, Wile E. Coyote, The Roadrunner, Yosemite Sam, Sam the Sheepdog, Taz the Tazmanian Devil, Speedy Gonzales, Marvin the Martian, Foghorn Leghorn, Pepé la Pew, and others. Other voices Blanc performed during the Golden Age of Hollywood animation included Disney’s Pinocchio as Gideon the Cat; the original voice and laugh of Woody Woodpecker, whose signature line “Guess who?” was used in the opening titles until the end of the series and closure of Walter Lantz Productions; Private Snafu, a series of Warner Bros. training recruit short cartoons and more. (photo right: Mel Blanc signed animation cell of Warner Bros. characters Porky Pig, Tweety Bird, Bugs Bunny, Sylvester the Cat, and Daffy Duck)In the 1960s, Blanc continued to work with Warner Bros. as well as other studios such as Hanna-Barbera providing voices for their iconic TV cartoons including The Flintstones as Barney Rubble (photo right: animation cell of The Flintstones’ Barney Rubble looking at Mel Blanc in mirror) and The Jetsons as Cosmo Spacely as well as Dino the Dinosaur, Secret Squirrel, Captain Caveman and voices for Wally Gator and The Perils of Penelope Pitstop. He also worked with director Chuck Jones doing vocal effects for his Tom and Jerry series and was the original voice for Toucan Sam in Kellogg’s Fruit Loops commercials. Blanc would continue to reprise many of his “Looney Tunes” characters through the ‘70s on TV and film such as the The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Movie and Granny in 4 More Adventures of Bugs Bunny.
In the 1980s, Blanc continued to perform in film and television in prominent voice roles such as the robot Twiki in Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, Heathcliff from 1980 to 1988, the father of Bob and Doug MacKenzie in the 1983 film Strange Brew, the 1988 blockbuster film Who Framed Roger Rabbit, where Blanc reprised many of his famous roles from Warner Bros. cartoons, Bugs, Daffy, Porky, Tweety, and Sylvester; and in the final performance of his “Looney Tunes” roles in Bugs Bunny’s Wild World of Sports in 1989. His final recording was for Jetsons: The Movie in 1990. He is the recipient of the Inkpot Award and Winsor McCay Award and in 1988, he published his autobiography That’s Not All Folks!co-written with Philip Bashe.
By the time of his death on July 10, 1989 at the age of 81, Blanc worked in over 5,000 cartoons and voiced over 1,000 different voices. Highlights of Mel Blanc’s collection (with estimates) from his storied life and career include: his 1942 Warner Bros. employee ID card ($1,000 – $2,000); numerous handwritten notes pertaining to the development of his work and creativity such as a huge collection containing 300 sheets of notepaper from the 1960s to the 1980s, filled with dialogue for cartoon characters, jokes, gags, story ideas, statistics, addresses, trivia, lists, and raunchy thoughts ($1,000 – $2,000); a black-covered folder with the handwritten title “Jooish/ Mel Blanc” filled with dozens of mimeographed pages of gags, stories, and jokes about being Jewish which he wrote entirely and phonetically based on Yiddish and registered with the Writers Guild of America West Inc. in 1968 ($300 – $500); signed documents including his 1943 contract for Leon Schlesinger Productions ($600-$800) which was on display for many years at the Warner Bros. Museum, located on their lot in Burbank, California, and dedicated to items related to their storied history; a 1970 contract for Jack Benny’s 20th Anniversary TV special ($400 – $600); five sets of paperwork relating to Mel Blanc’s employment at the famous animation studio Hanna-Barbera Productions including a 1962 contract for The Flintstones; a 1962 contract for The Jetsons and a 1965 contract for an Alice in WonderlandSpecial ($1,000 – $2,000); a brown leather bomber jacket custom-made for Mel Blanc featuring a handpainted image by N. Gamarello of a blonde pin-up as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and Porky Pig with the text reading “Whats Up Doc” ($600 – $800) (photo top left); items related to Blanc’s 1988 autobiography That’s Not All Folkssuch as a box of loose-leaf photocopied pages of the entire final draft of the book, the final printed book with Blanc’s signature on the title page, Blanc’s 1988 American Booksellers Association, and book posters ($1,000 – $2,000); Blanc’s ledgers, date books and address books from the 1940s-1970s, with names and places you would expect, and others you wouldn’t, including (in alphabetical order): Joe Barbera, Beverly Hills Hotel, Sammy Cahn, Judy Canova, CBS, Cedars of Lebanon, Gary Cooper, Bobby Darin, Desilu Studios, Kirk Douglas, Bill Hanna, Howard Hawks, Arte Johnson, Chuck Jones, Bob Kane, Don Knotts, Bernie Kopell, Jack Palance, Vincent Price, Jill St. John, The Taft Building, and Leslie Uggams, among many others ($1,000 – $2,000); a late 1950s-era Sony C-37A free-standing tube condenser microphone used by Blanc for decades due to its top-of-the-line quality accompanied by a photograph of Blanc using this mic with his longtime colleague and friend Vincent Price ($4,000 – $6,000); a large colored felt-tip ink on paper drawing depicting Mel Blanc surrounded by the dozens of cartoon characters he voiced over the decades with the title “That’s Not All Folks!” by Paul Madden in 1988.” inscribed “To: Mel Blanc/ On the occasion of his 80th Birthday” ($500 – $700) (photo top right); as well as his record collections, 1972 California driver’s license, 1970 passport, 1936 social security card, awards, citations, membership cards and more.
“Mel Blanc was a master of his craft and one of the most influential and legendary voice acting pioneers in the Golden Age of Hollywood animation, whose long and illustrious career we may never see the likes of again,” said Martin Nolan, Executive Director/CFO of Julien’s Auctions. “We are proud to offer these artifacts and personal items directly from his Estate that provide an incredible look into the creativity and mind of his genius and the development of the greatest cartoon characters in the world.”