Oregon Cartoon Institute

Posts Tagged ‘Mel Blanc’

They Might Be Giants: Basil Wolverton Draws Mel Blanc

In News on April 21, 2012 at 5:59 pm

Cartoonist Monte Wolverton generously sent in these wonderful cartoon portraits of Mel Blanc drawn by his father, Basil Wolverton, in 1934, the year before Mel Blanc left Portland for Hollywood.  Wittingly or unwittingly, they document Mel Blanc’s own concept of the secret of his success: being a good listener.

The huge ears Basil gave Mel match up with Mel’s own description of the most essential ingredient to a voice artist’s success, a trained ear.

Basil Wolverton (1909-1978), was Mel Blanc’s contemporary in Portland. Both men drew paychecks from the Oregonian. Mel Blanc’s work on radio program KGW Hoot Owls was paid for by The Oregonian. Basil Wolverton worked as a illustrator and cartoonist for The Oregonian.

KEX radio was an affiliate of KGW, and as such was located directly across the hall from the very room in the Oregonian Tower where Mel Blanc had gotten his start in 1927 performing with KGW’s immensely popular Hoot Owls.

KGW’s Hoot Owls broadcast one 90 minute long live show once a week from 1923 to 1933. KEX’s Cobwebs and Nuts, which ran from 1933 to 1935, was 60 minutes long and was broadcast live six days a week. It had a staff of two, Mel and Estelle Blanc, and a payroll of one: Mel Blanc.

This grueling schedule, combined with low pay, pushed Mel Blanc out of Portland.

Pay or no pay, Portland radio listeners knew exactly how talented Mel Blanc was. By 1930, he was a local celebrity, known as “the man with the wee mustache”.

From Blanc’s autobiography:

From then on, loyal fans began materializing just before airtime, setting up folding chairs right there in the studio. Before long, we had spectators nightly, adding to the show’s anarchic, anything-can-happen appeal.

To maintain audience interest six hours a week, I had to come up with countless voices and must have multiplied my repertoire every month. More and more, I relied on the improvisational skills I’d first cultivated on The Hoot Owls.

Thank you, Monte, for these wonderful portraits!

More information about the parallel career of Basil Wolverton, an Oregon cartooning genius who was Mel Blanc’s exact contemporary, see www.wolvertoon.com.

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The Mel Blanc Project  was 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.

“Despite what some might term the “frivolous” nature of my job, I consider myself an artist, and cartoons, art.” Mel Blanc

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Intermediate Guide To Mel Blanc

In News on January 14, 2012 at 6:06 am

For those who have progressed beyond the Beginner’s Guide To Mel Blanc, here are some of the books we can recommend for deepening your Mel Blanc knowledge.

That’s Not All Folks: The Story Of Mel Blanc, by Mel Blanc and Philip Bashe

Mel Blanc covers his early Portland years, his breakthrough at Warner Brothers, his long radio career, his volunteer efforts during WWII, the automobile crash which nearly ended his life, and his transition to television animation. He leaves out mention of scandal and/or discord in his private life, most probably because there wasn’t any, as all sources seem to agree.

Portland In Three Centuries: The Place and The People, by Carl Abbott

 Mel Blanc’s autobiography contains every sign that he was quite engaged with current events.  He sold newspapers as a child on street corners, tuned into far away radio news programs as a teenager, and commented on the news in his comedy routines as an adult. His audition piece for Warner Brothers was a riff on the news, using many voices and accents. It is unlikely that he remained oblivious to political and social tensions of his own city as he was growing up. Carl Abbott’s book is a clear, concise portrait of the Rose City.
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Pioneer Mikes: A History of Radio and Television in Oregon, by Ronald Kramer

This is the book which will elevate you from Beginner Level to Intermediate Level Mel Blanc knowledge in a jiffy. Kramer devotes an entire chapter to the Hoot Owls, the extraordinary group of Jazz Age Portland businessmen who, in exploring a new medium, helped invent the radio variety show. This group of first adopters, who were also amateur entertainers, tapped a young gifted Portland teenager for their show, and in so doing, launched the career of the Man With A Thousand Voices.

The Jews Of Oregon, 1850 – 1950 by Steven Lowenstein

Portland is a city German Jewish pioneers helped found and govern. But the South Portland neighborhood, during the period of time Mel Blanc grew up there, was a community of new immigrants, including many Jews from Eastern Europe. Neighborhood House, where he learned to play the violin, was a settlement house run by Portland’s established German Jewish community as a support to the newcomers. Lowenstein fills his book with archival photos and eyewitness accounts.

The Radical Middle Class: Populist Democracy and the Question of Capitalism in Progressive Era Portland, by Robert Johnston

Robert Johnston does a precinct by precinct analysis of Portland’s voting records at the beginning of the 20th century, and comes up with some questions. Where do we find the line between working class and middle class? Is there one? Frederick and Eva Blank, Mel Blanc’s parents, moved to Portland in 1915, in the middle of what Johnston finds to be an unusually populist era. They themselves were shopkeepers, members of the petite bourgeoisie he puts under the microscope.

Johnston doesn’t address the possibility of a relationship between Portland’s populism and the Mel Blanc’s pop artistry in his book. But he generously has agreed to sit down and explore the topic in conversation.

And you are invited!

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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.

“Despite what some might term the “frivolous” nature of my job, I consider myself an artist, and cartoons, art.” Mel Blanc

Gus Frederick Announces the Homer Davenport Project

In News on January 14, 2012 at 6:06 am

Mel Blanc is one of Oregon’s most tremendous pop culture stars. But he is not the first.

That honor goes to Homer Davenport, a political cartoonist for Hearst newspapers.

Born and raised in Silverton, Oregon, Homer Davenport began working for the San Francisco Examiner in 1892. Three years later, Hearst transferred him to The Evening Mail in New York. Davenport’s cartoons proved so influential and effective that a bill was brought before the New York State Senate to outlaw them.

This cartoon, which caricatured New York State Senator ( R )  Thomas Collier Platt and William M. “Boss” Tweed, was titled “No Honest Man Need Fear Cartoons”.

Gus Frederick, long active in Silverton’s historical society, followed the Mel Blanc Project events with interest, thinking that Homer Davenport deserved similar celebration.

Oregon Cartoon Institute could not be in greater agreement with this assessment.

All inquiries about the Homer Davenport Project should be directed to the Davenport Project website.

For a wonderfully lively and detailed appreciation of Homer Davenport’s life, see Walt Curtis’ biographical sketch, written as a foreword to a 2002 edition of Davenport’s book,  A Country Boy.

For a capsule summary of his life, see the 1912 New York Times obituary.

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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.

“Despite what some might term the “frivolous” nature of my job, I consider myself an artist, and cartoons, art.” Mel Blanc

Robert Johnston To Give Final Mel Blanc Lecture, Feb. 8, 2012

In News on January 12, 2012 at 7:58 pm

Tim DuRoche laid down the challenge. “Have you read Robert Johnston’s book?”  I hadn’t, but, after a summer of listening to the Mel Blanc Lectures, it was time.

Johnston’s book, The Radical Middle Class: Populist Democracy and the Question Of Capitalism in Progressive Era Portland, takes the political temperature of Portland’s middle class during the city’s rapid growth at the turn of the century. Small business owners Frederick and Eva Blank were part of that population spurt, arriving from San Francisco in 1915 with their two sons, Henry and six year old Melvin Jerome.

In his award winning book, Johnston examines four civic leaders – Will Daly, Harry Lane, Lora C. Little and William U’Ren – who helped shape Portland’s political landscape during that period. Princeton University Press describes The Radical Middle Class this way:

By examining in particular the independent small business sector or petite bourgeoisie, using Progressive Era Portland Oregon as a case study, Robert Johnston shows that class still matters in America. But it matters only if the politics and culture of the leading player in affairs of class, the middle class, is dramatically reconceived

Johnston puts the concept of middle class under a microscope. What is the middle class, and how does it differ from the working class? Is there a line? Where do we draw it? Examining Portland’s voting records, precinct by precinct, Johnston found working class interests receiving unexpectedly wide support.  During this period, where one might expect to find the “middle class” small business owners identifying upwards with the interests of management, Johnston instead found the voting records indicating the opposite – the owners of small businesses identified downwards, and supported the unions.

What impact did this deep populist streak have on the young Portlander who would later become one of our country’s most skilled pop culture practitioners?

On Feb. 8, 2012, Robert Johnston will come to Portland to sit down with Anne Richardson, director of the Mel Blanc Project, for an onstage conversation to explore this question. We will be joined onstage by PSU professor David Horowitz, author of The People’s Voice: A Populist Cultural History Of Modern America.

Thank you to Thomas Luckett, chairman of PSU’s History department, and to John Rowe, of PSU’s Phi Alpha Theta, for partnering with the Mel Blanc Project to make this event possible. Thank you to Carl Abbott for overseeing the matchmaking.

The final Mel Blanc Lecture, an onstage conversation between Robert Johnston, Anne Richardson and David Horowitz, will take place in Room 333 in Smith Center at PSU on Feb. 8, 2012 at 7:00 PM.

It is free and open to the public.

Thank you, Tim DuRoche, for the kick in the pants!

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The Mel Blanc Project  was 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.

“Despite what some might term the “frivolous” nature of my job, I consider myself an artist, and cartoons, art.” Mel Blanc

Last Chance! The Mel Blanc Exhibit At OJM Closes Sept. 12, 2011

In News on September 8, 2011 at 3:32 am

For people who love thinking about pop culture, and for the smaller subset of people who love thinking about pop culture in Portland, this past summer contained an embarrassment of riches. Oregon Jewish Museum’s That’s All, Folks: The Mel Blanc Story exhibit plus Oregon Historical Society’s Oregon Rocks exhibit equalled an unparalleled opportunity to examine Rose City’s cultural past.

There was considerable overlap in the subject matter of the two exhibits.

Mel Blanc was a musician. He grew up surrounded by live music. By 1915, the year Mel Blanc (then Mel Blank) arrived, Portland had 70 movie theaters. Gary Lacher’s and Steve Stone’s research uncovered the interesting factoid that when the Blank family got here from San Francisco, they moved right next door to a nicklodeon. That’s how many theaters there were! Everywhere you turned around! Mel wrote in his autobiography about how he loved them.

He loathed  school, but he loved theaters. “Silent” movies were not silent,  but were accompanied, either by a solo pianist or by a small (or large) orchestra. Recorded music had yet to be invented, so vaudeville theaters disseminated pop music via live music acts of every description – singers, instrumental soloists, and bands of every type.

Mel Blanc was studying violin himself when he became enamored of the deadpan comic timing of violinist “Ben K. Benny”, the vaudevillian who later sawed his way to the top as Jack Benny. Blanc cites Benny as his favorite vaudeville act – he saw him perform every chance he got,  paying his way in with cash he made selling Portland newspapers. Once in Hollywood he worked with Jack Benny for years, both on radio and on television.

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However it was Portland’s music scene which first attracted the attention of the young, gifted performer.

He must have heard an awful lot about Louis Kaufman, the musical prodigy who outgrew the opportunities for training here in Portland and went to Julliard in 1915 (the year Mel Blanc arrived). Kaufman, like Blanc, played the violin. Like Blanc, he started in Portland and wound up in Hollywood.

He saw Portland bandleader George Olsen ascend to Broadway, and later Hollywood.

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He saw Portland musician Del Porter, a personal friend, duplicate that feat.

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When George Olsen was recruited by Fannie Brice for Broadway, his replacement at the Multnomah Hotel was Herman Kenin, another Portlander. Kenin gave Mel Blanc some of his first professional gigs.

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Portland presented Mel Blanc with enough union scale work as a sousaphone player in dance bands that he was able to take full advantage of the low paying, but tremendously foundational, voice artist gig he was offered at KGW Hoot Owls in 1927. The Hoot Owls show included live music, comic sketches, and a great deal of topical reference and improvisation. The atmosphere of barely contained creative anarchy was similar to what he would later encounter in Los Angeles, at Termite Terrace.

Portland radio historian Craig Adams documented Mel Blanc’s shift from musician to voice artist in this timeline, constructed from newspaper accounts.

If you would like a window into the Jazz Age Portland which produced Mel Blanc, go see That’s All, Folks!: The Mel Blanc Story exhibit at Oregon Jewish Museum.

But go right away! The exhibit comes down on Sept. 12.

If you would like a delightful overview of Portland music, concentrating on Portland rock, head over to Oregon Rocks at Oregon Historical Society.

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The Mel Blanc Project  was 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.

“Despite what some might term the “frivolous” nature of my job, I consider myself an artist, and cartoons, art.” Mel Blanc

Mel Blanc, Music Educator

In News on August 31, 2011 at 3:31 am

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Heather Perkins was the first person to point out to us that Mel Blanc was first and foremost a musician. As we journeyed through preparations for the Mel Blanc Project, we came to understand how profoundly true this observation was.

Mel Blanc was first trained as a musician. He first performed as a musician. He was first discovered in Portland playing with a band. He supported himself in Portland as musician. He was discovered at Warner Brothers by a fellow musician.

Last week, WNYC’s John Schaefer wrote that ,

….like many American kids, my first experience of an orchestra and a conductor was through cartoons, specifically through Bugs Bunny cartoons. As a kid, I had no idea what “The Rabbit of Seville” or “What’s Opera Doc” were parodying.  When I got older and first heard Rossini’s Barber of Seville and Wagner’s cycle of Ring operas, I experienced that shock of recognition – “oh, that’s where that Bugs Bunny music comes from!” – which would become a recurring theme in my listening life. 

From the Great American Songbook, small combo jazz by Raymond Scott, tone poems by Mendelssohn… over the years I would listen to these very different types of music only to realize I’d heard them before. 

In Bugs Bunny cartoons!

When I mention this to people, I am no longer surprised when the response is “that happens to me all the time too!”

If you would like to stretch your musical horizons in ways other than watching Warner Brothers cartoons, on Sept. 9 & 10. at the Hollywood Theater in Portland, Oregon, Heather Perkins, the aforementioned originator of Oregon Cartoon Institute‘s Mel Blanc Project, will perform a live soundtrack to a rare screening of Starman: The Evil Brain From Space, a 1950’s Japanese TV special.

From the press release:

For this special performance, Perkins is pulling out all the stops. “I will be moving a version of my entire studio into the theater,” she says, “so I am basically building a huge new instrument with many heads, each with evil brains of their own.” As the film plays behind her, Perkins will work magic on her eclectic array of gadgetry – perhaps a Vocoder for the Evil Brain sound or some keyboard blips for gunbursts, and definitely a Waterphone to get the show started. A liquid-filled brass instrument, the Waterphone produces “a sound you have heard a million times maybe without knowing what it was,” Perkins explains. “It can sound evocative if played right, but one false move and it sounds truly screechingly awful.  I’m not sure which outcome to hope for, honestly.”

Here’s another musical Portlander, this time repurposing Rossni:

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The Mel Blanc Project  was 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.

“Despite what some might term the “frivolous” nature of my job, I consider myself an artist, and cartoons, art.” Mel Blanc


Katie Schneider Nails Mel Blanc’s Portland Years

In News on July 14, 2011 at 3:25 pm

In this beautifully written article for Tablet, Portland author Katie Schneider reports on her visit to Oregon Jewish Museum’s current exhibit That’s All Folks! The Mel Blanc Story. As she walks the reader through Mel Blanc’s early life, Schneider uses her novelist’s eye for detail to pick out the milestones which also served as touchstones of Jewish identity.

His first foray into voice artistry:

Among the first people (six year old Mel Blank) befriended were the elderly Jewish couple who ran the local grocery; they spoke Yiddish, and the boy became fascinated with the strange dialect and its intonations. He learned to imitate it. It was, by his own admission, the first voice he ever performed.

His first time on stage:

Some of his earliest gigs were with the South Parkway Minstrels, an amateur vaudeville club in Portland. The Minstrels were part of Neighborhood House, founded by the local chapter of the National Council of Jewish Women to help South Portland’s immigrants.

Getting married:

He married Estelle Rosenbaum in a secret civil ceremony before finally having a Jewish wedding on Lag B’Omer.

His Warner Brothers breakthrough:

Leon Schlesinger, Warner’s head of animation, asked him to voice one of the studio’s newest animated stars, a bow-tie wearing pig named Porky.  “You want me to be the voice of a pig?” Blanc replied. “That’s some job for a nice Jewish boy.”

His most famous creative achievement, Bugs Bunny:

When Blanc came on board, the famous hare was named “Happy Rabbit.” That, Blanc believed, was too bland. The bunny needed personality, and that personality, in Blanc’s mind, took the shape of a fast-talking tough Jew from Flatbush Avenue.

A fast talking tough Jew from Flatbush Avenue who had never actually set foot in New York, that is. Mel Blanc writes in his book that as a young man he longed to travel to New York, but that he never had the bus fare.

He did make it to LA. Schneider quotes Judy Margles’ observation that Mel Blanc’s journey, from South Portland to Southern California, “mirrored the life of the Jewish community Portland at the time, spanning tradition and assimilation. He was like his friends. They wanted to get out. They wanted to be part of the larger world.”

This tension, between tradition and assimilation, is one of the engines which drove Mel Blanc’s creativity. What does it mean to be a Jew in the West? How do we construct our identities? How much of the past comes with us into the future?  What is essential? Who decides?

I believe Mel Blanc’s engagement with these deeper questions is the source of his strength as an artist. His early life in a multilingual immigrant community provided the seedbed for this lifelong fascination. But questions which deal with identity are not limited to the Jewish community. These are questions all Americans explore. We are a nation of immigrants.

The essence of our national character is that it doesn’t know itself, that it has no core — that it consists of one long negotiation between heterogeneous elements that resist synthesis.  That is, of course, what makes American culture so alive and dynamic and fertile — its improvisatory nature, its fundamental instability, which is also a fundamental openness to anything. Lloyd Fonvielle

Is there a better description of Mel Blanc’s stable of voice characterizations, from wide eyed Tweety Bird to bombastic Foghorn Leghorn, from perpetually enraged Daffy Duck to perpetually bewildered Barney Rubble, from hungry Wile Coyote to amorous Pepe LePew to good natured Porky to “ain’t I a stinker” Bugs, than “one long negotiation between heterogeneous elements that resist synthesis” ?

Fonvielle, himself a Hollywood screenwriter, goes on to defend pop culture as a crucible of American identity, particularly when it comes to the pleasures and the responsibilities of freedom.

Liberty, in a political sense, would have no “legs”, would close on Saturday night, if it weren’t reflected in this liberty of the everyday imagination — and this liberty of the imagination could probably not have survived if we were required to take it too seriously, to think it through . . . if it weren’t dressed up in shameless, unadulterated hokum.

Do  Americans use pop culture to wrestle with/explore/come to our own understanding of “e pluribus unum” ?

Jon Stewart seems to think so.

Plurality is at the heart of the American promise of freedom. We don’t all have to be the same. A natural consequence – we have to live with the conflicts and tensions which come with difference. Freedom is no free lunch.

Freedom, it turns out, is a long slog.

That’s where comedy comes in. Katie Schneider identifies herself as having been “raised on Warner Brothers cartoons.” Lloyd Fonvielle’s argument takes that claim seriously.

Thank you, Katie Schneider, for your guided tour of  the Oregon Jewish Museum’s wonderful exhibit. This exhibit is the first ever, in all time, to examine Mel Blanc as an Oregonian and as an artist.

Here are the amateur radio performers who first coached an extremely talented Portland teenager to professional success. These are the men, who, in their explorations of the lively, dynamic, and fertile new artform called radio, gave Mel Blanc the key to his future.

Go see for yourself the life journey of this American artist.

The Oregon Jewish Museum exhibit, which has multimedia interactive elements, draws on family photos and heirlooms loaned by the Blanc family. It will be up until September 11, 2011.

Oregon Jewish Museum

1953 NW Kearney, Portland, Oregon

(503) 226 -3600

http://www.ojm.org

“Despite what some might term the “frivolous” nature of my job, I consider myself an artist, and cartoons, art.” Mel Blanc
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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.

Join the Portlanders who plan to deepen their Mel Blanc knowledge by attending a walking tour of Mel Blanc’s Portland, held on Saturday July 23 and on Saturday July 30. Led by Bill Crawford and Dennis Nyback, the tours leave from the Hollywood Theatre at 1:00 PM.


Mel Blanc Sells A Record, 1951

In News on July 10, 2011 at 5:10 am

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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.

Join the Portlanders who plan to deepen their knowledge by attending a walking tour of Mel Blanc’s Portland, held on Saturday July 23 and on Saturday July 30. Led by Bill Crawford and Dennis Nyback, the tours leave from the Hollywood Theatre at 1:00 PM.

No Truth To The Rumor Johnny Depp Attending Mel Blanc Day @ Lincoln Hall! (Although We Wouldn’t Let On If There Was)

In News on June 29, 2011 at 6:13 pm

Yes, he has gone on record with his love for Bugs Bunny. Yes, he looks like Portland could definitely show him a good time. No, we have no reason to believe Johnny Depp is attending the fourth and final Mel Blanc Lecture, which will be delivered tonight in Lincoln Hall, 1620 SW Park Avenue, at 7:30 PM.

But if it takes the hope of seeing one of America’s great screen actors sitting next to you in Mel Blanc’s high school auditorium to get you to come to this event, please continue to crush on Johnny, and come tonight as we honor Mel Blanc (1908 – 1989).

This event is free.

Here’s some more Mel Blanc love, from another Hollywood peer:

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People who will be there: Dennis Nyback, Anne Richardson, Craig Adams, Robyn Tenenbaum, Sean McGrath, Courtenay Hameister, Amos Hunter, Honky Tonk Prison, VOX: A Spoken Word Chorus, Karin Magaldi, and, on 16mm film, Mel Blanc himself.

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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.

Join the Portlanders who have deepened their knowledge by attending the entire lecture series,  Mel Blanc: The Portland Years.

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!

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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.