Oregon Cartoon Institute

Timeline Of Mel Blanc In Portland

In News on June 2, 2011 at 11:03 pm
  • Born May 30, 1908, in San Francisco, to Frederick and Eva (Katz) Blank
  • Arrives in Portland in 1915
  • Begins taking violin lessons at Neighborhood House, studies for eight years.
  • Begins selling newspapers on street corners downtown (and smoking a pack a day) 1916
  • Sees his first animated cartoon, Felix Saves The Day, starring Felix The Cat, in 1922.
  • Spends the entire summer indoors, grounded because of a swimming accident (jumping off the Steel Bridge into the Willamette) which caused the death of a friend. Receives a radio from his father during this time. Radios are so new that this one was built from scratch by an inventor. Mel falls in love with the medium. 1922
  • Appears on Portland radio, as part of a childrens group, a one time event. 1923.
  • Witnesses George Olsen, a local jazz band leader, become a huge Broadway star. 1923
  • Joins the Hoot Owls, as a listener, 1923.
  • A teacher tells him he will never amount to anything, he’ll be “just like his name, a blank”.
  • Begins spelling his name “Blanc”, 1924
  • Invents the Woody Woodpecker laugh in the halls of Lincoln High School.
  • Plays sousaphone ( tuba) with three different dance bands in Portland.
  • Drops out of Lincoln High School.
  • Joins the Hoot Owls as a cast member, 1927.
  • Becomes a local celebrity 1930
  • Goes to SF to work in radio, then to LA. Cannot find work. 1932
  • Meets and marries Estelle in LA, brings her to Portland. They live near Hawthorne & SE 22nd. 1933
  • Has his own radio show, Cobweb & Nuts, 1933 – 1935
  • Tired of low pay, they move to LA, 1935
  • Gets Warner Bros audition, 1937.
  • Begins making movie history — immediately.


The Mel Blanc Project  is a series of public history/art education events made possible in part by a grant from the Kinsman Foundation and by a grant from the James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation.

For more information about Mel Blanc, see the Archives of this website.

Another recommended method of deepening your knowledge is to attend the entire lecture series,  Mel Blanc: The Portland Years.

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  1. Not bad for a school dropout!

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