Oregon Cartoon Institute

Posts Tagged ‘Lucille Ball’

Mel Blanc Day @ Lincoln Hall/ Wednesday June 29, 7:30 PM. Free admission!

In News on June 26, 2011 at 7:11 pm

Hoot Owls, Cobwebs & Nuts: Portland Radio Nurtures Mel Blanc

In the fourth and final lecture in the Mel Blanc Lecture Series, which takes place 7:30 PM at 1620 SW Park Avenue on June 29, we will turn our attention to radio.

What role did Portland radio play in creating the Man With A Thousand Voices?

KGW’s Hoot Owls, a weekly hour and a half long show with more than one million listeners, began broadcasting from the Oregonian Tower in 1923. Mel Blanc became a card carrying member, as a listener, that same year. He joined the cast in 1927. He moved to KEX to create in his own daily  show, Cobwebs & Nuts, in 1933. He left for Los Angeles in 1935.

We asked Craig Adams and Robyn Tenenbaum to come help us unravel the question of the influence Portland radio had on Mel Blanc.  We call these events “lectures”, but it might be more accurate to call them onstage conversations, which the audience is invited to join.

Portland early radio historian Craig Adams will talk about Portland’s early adopters, who created radio here when it was a brand new technology/artform. He’ll tell us about the radio Mel Blanc grew up with, and later came to help create.

Robyn Tenenbaum, producer of Live Wire Radio, brings two of Live Wire’s most illustrious stars, Courtenay Hameister and Sean McGrath, with her. All three will provide their updated perspective of Portland radio.

Film archivist Dennis Nyback will show a GI Journal, featuring Mel Blanc performing live as a voice artist. A rare 16mm film, which also features Lucille Ball and Jerry Colonna. Dennis will also show I Love To Singa (1936), a Warner Brothers cartoon spoofing The Jazz Singer which stars a young Owl Jolson making his radio debut.

Vox, a vocal/spoken word choir, will perform Mayor Sam Adams’ official proclamation that June 29, 2011 is Mel Blanc Day in Portland.

Mel Blanc T shirts will be given to the winners of our Mel Blanc Trivia Contest.

Opening the evening is Portland’s hot ukulele band, Honky Tonk Prison, led by Amos Hunter.

At the end of the evening, Craig Adams and Robyn Tenenbaum will induct Mel Blanc into Oregon Cartoon Institute’s Hall of Fame.

This evening is co-sponsored by Oregon Cartoon Institute and PSU School of Fine & Performing Arts.

Lincoln Hall, Mel Blanc’s former high school, is located at 1620 SW Park Avenue, in Portland.

Special thanks to civic minded Oregon Cartoon Institute member and calligrapher extraordinaire, S. W. Conser!


Oregon Cartoon Institute’s 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.


Radio Daze: Hollywood Behind The Microphone

In News on May 25, 2011 at 4:36 pm

What: Screening Series Night 4

Where: The Secret Society
              116 NE Russell
              Portland, OR

When: Tuesday, May 31, 7:00pm – 10:00pm

How Much: $6 suggested donation

Radio Daze: Hollywood Behind The Microphone

Mel Blanc first performed on radio when he was 15 years old. Although he would become more famous for his work in animation, radio was Mel Blanc’s first love. He remained active in it his entire life. This program includes Dennis Nyback’s favorite radio themed cartoons and short films from 1929 to 1943.
Coo Coo Nut Grove  (1936) WB Cartoon.
Caricatures of
Jean Harlow,
Bette Davis,
Joe E. Brown,
Hugh Herbert,
W.C. Fields,
Clark Gable,
Groucho and Harpo Marx,
Johnny Weissmuller,
Mae West,
Lionel and John Barrymore,
Laurel and Hardy,
Edward G. Robinson,
Fred Astaire,
and George Raft dance and drink.  A caricatured Ben Bernie MC’s as the radio broadcasting bandleader.  Jokes comment on the feud between Ben Bernie and radio journalist Walter Winchell.
Hi De Ho (1934)  Live action short. Cab Calloway appears at the Cotton Club, on a show being broadcast on the radio.  One of his fans is a railroad porter who is worried that while he is on the road his wife ( Fredi Washington) will betray him. Cab advises the man to buy a radio to keep his wife happy and at home.
Captain Henry’s Radio Show (1933)   Live action. One of the most popular radio shows on the 1930s was the Maxwell House Showboat  This film shows a broadcast which includes the popular radio performers Annette Hanshaw and Lanny Ross.

I Love to Singa  (1936)  WB Cartoon   Young Owl Jolson is a disappointment to his classical music loving father.  Kicked out of the house, he finds redemption singing jazz on an amateur hour radio show hosted by Jack Bunny.

Midnight Melodies (1936)  Loretta Lee,  Ed Paul,  Jack Gilford   Live action. Incredibly rare film featuring the Ed Paul Orchestra doing a radio broadcast.  Featured throughout is the  young comedian Jack Gilford, making his first of many film and television appearances, but eight years before his next film appearance.

GI Journal with Mel Blanc (c1944) Live action. Army-Navy Screen Magazine recreation of a radio broadcast features Mel Blanc as the character Sad Sack. Extremely rare footage of Blanc performing live. Also featuring Lucille Ball and  Kay Kyser.

God Bless America (1943)  Live action. Technicolor clip from This is the Army (1943).  Features  Kate Smith introducing the famous Irving Berlin song in the form of a radio broadcast heard by the nation and by soldiers over seas.  Among the listeners are George Murphy, who later became a United States Senator, and a fresh faced nobody named Ronald Reagan.

All films from The Nyback Collection

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.