Oregon Cartoon Institute

Walking Tours

What: Mel Blanc’s Portland: The Walking Tour

When: July 23, July 30, 1:00 PM

Where: Inside the Hollywood Theater, then take the MAX downtown

Who: Led by Dennis Nyback & Bill Crawford, with special guest speaker Sara Garrett, executive director of MotivSpace.
How much: $10 suggested donation
Mel Blanc arrived in Portland in 1915 and left in 1935. What happened in between?
Animation historian Dennis Nyback and Oregon Cartoon Institute project manager Bill Crawford will match key life events described in Mel Blanc’s autobiography with the Rose City locations where they occurred. Some of the buildings important in the life of  Mel Blanc are still standing. Where the building no longer stands, Dennis and Bill will describe what is gone (Portland Hotel, Oregonian Tower, Orpheum Theater) and explain what that location meant to the young artist.
This tour is a great way for all Mel Blanc scholars and enthusiasts to integrate appreciation of his genius with everyday knowledge of the city. How much has changed? What has stayed the same? How did animation lightning strike twice at Lincoln High School, producing both Mel Blanc and Matt Groening?
Highlights will include Neighborhood House, where he learned to play the violin; Lincoln Hall, where he invented the Woody Woodpecker laugh; Multnomah Hotel where he was discovered; Oregonian Tower, where he first performed as a voice artist; and the Steel Bridge, where a tragic childhood accident took place which would inadvertently lead to his discovery of radio, which he loved for his entire life.
At the Hollywood Theatre and at Lincoln Hall, Dennis Nyback will screen films from his collection, including the very rare film, GI Journal, which features Mel Blanc performing live on radio. He is also showing a selection of Warner Brothers cartoons designed to show off Mel Blanc’ extraordinary voice artistry.
Recommended: Comfortable walking shoes and a healthy curiosity. Questions are encouraged!

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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