Oregon Cartoon Institute

Posts Tagged ‘Woody Woodpecker’

Test Your Mel Blanc Knowledge

In News on June 23, 2011 at 5:56 am
1. Mel Blanc’s favorite character was:
.
a) Sylvester the Cat, because Sylvester was the closest to his own, normal speaking voice
.
b) Woody Woodpecker, because Woody’s laugh was perfected in the halls of Lincoln High School
.
c) Bugs Bunny, because a doctor was once able to bring him out of a long coma by asking to speak to Bugs
.
Answer: c
.
Editor’s note: Mel Blanc asserted that Bugs Bunny was his favorite character, however all three answers are statements taken from his autobiography.
.
.
2. Melvyn Jerome  Blank changed his name because
.
a) Melvyn Douglas didn’t want the competition
.
b) a teacher said “You’ll never amount to anything. You’re just like your name – a blank.”
.
c) he didn’t know what his real name was
.
answer: b
.
Editor’s note: “c” may in some sense also be true — the name Blank may have been given to an ancestor at Ellis Island by an government worker too impatient to discover/spell/record the real name. For all we know “a” is true as well
.
3. Mel Blanc began his life long smoking habit of one pack a day….
.
a) at age 27, when he left Portland for Hollywood
.
b) at age 19, when he joined the KGW Hoot Owls as a cast member
.
c)  at age 8, when he began  selling newspapers on street corners in downtown Portland
.
answer: c
.
4. Mel Blanc’s weekly salary as director/writer/producer/performer on Cobweb & Nuts, a daily one hour Portland radio show was
.
a $220
.
b $89
.
c $15
.
answer: c. He and his wife budgeted $1 a day for food (for both of them)
.
5. As a young Portland creative, Mel Blanc rented a house in
.
a) NW Portland, close to where Will Vinton later opened an animation studio
.
b) SW Portland, close to the radio station on 6th & Alder, where he worked
.
c) NE Portland, close to the Hollywood Theater, which he loved to attend
.
d) SE Portland, just off Hawthorne, with all the other cool kids his age
.
Answer: d
.
6: Mel Blanc moved from Portland to LA in 1935 because
.
a) Warner Brothers was hiring geniuses – Chuck Jones, Tex Avery  and Bob Clampett – and he knew that was where he belonged
.
b) his wife missed her parents
.
c) he didn’t want to start selling insurance door to door
.
Answer: c

===================================================================

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.

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.