Oregon Cartoon Institute

Posts Tagged ‘Eva (Katz) Blank’

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.


Beginner’s Guide To Mel Blanc

In News on May 24, 2011 at 1:55 am

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.

Caricature by Martinus Van Tee

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.