Oregon Cartoon Institute’s Beginner’s Guide to Mel Blanc was compiled to provide basic information. Think of it as a first aid kit to fight complete ignorance. It is available to all, just return the kit back to the wall when you are through using it.
Q: Who was Mel Blanc?
A: Mel Blanc ( 1908 – 1989) was the premier voice artist of Hollywood’s Golden Age of Animation. The first voice artist to receive screen credit, he is widely viewed as the first truly professional voice artist.
Q: What did he do?
A: He provided voices for hundreds of cartoon characters. The majority of Warner Brothers’ Merrie Melodies and Looney Tunes characters were voiced by this one man. Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig and Daffy Duck are three of his most famous characterizations.
Q: Is that his real name?
A: No. His birth name was Melvyn Jerome Blank. He was born May 30, 1908 in San Francisco to Frederick and Eva (Katz) Blank.
Q: How did he come to be a voice artist?
A: He began imitating voices at an early age. He made his radio debut in 1927, at age nineteen, when he was recruited by an early Portland radio show, the KGW Hoot Owls, to sing a novelty song.
Q: The voice of Bugs Bunny came from Portland, Oregon?!
A: Correct. The Blank family moved to Portland in 1915, when Mel was five and a half.
Q: When did Mel Blanc go Hollywood?
A: He moved to Los Angeles in 1935, and was hired by Leon Schlessinger to provide the voice of a drunk in Picador Porky in 1937, his first Warner Brothers cartoon.
Q: Why are you celebrating his life and career with the Mel Blanc Project?
A: You are showing signs of advancing to the next level of Mel Blanc scholarship.
For more information about Mel Blanc, see the Archives of this website.
Another recommended method of deepening your knowledge is to attend Mel Blanc: The Portland Years, our upcoming lecture series.
For people who can’t wait until the lecture series, and want to get right down to it, we recommend you attend the Mel Blanc Project Screening Series at The Secret Society, throughout May.