Where'd You Get That Voithe?
Didn't get to put together a TV Trivia quiz this week, but on a somewhat related topic, here's a great anecdote I read recently in Stefan Kanfer's book on the history of animation, "Serious Business", also quoted in Chuck Jones' autobiography. It concerns the origin of the distinctive voice of arguably the greatest 'toon of all time, the inimitable Daffy Duck.
Daffy's lisp-laden voice was copied from none other than Warner Bros studio head Leon Schlesinger, who -- also like Daffy - tended to become somewhat incoherent when angry. While brainstorming during the production of the animated short "Porky's Duck Hunt", the crew had the idea of mocking their universally disliked boss, and Mel Blanc came up with the voice on the spot. But then, as the late, great Mr. Jones tells it:
"Only when we were well into the production of the new film and incapable of retreat did we realize the hideous, the lethal potential of the future. Leon Schlesinger was going to have to see this film and - more important to our future - to hear his own voice emanating from that duck.To his dying day, Schlesinger never realized that Daffy's voice was a copy of his!
"In order to save ourselves the embarrassment of being fired, all of us were careful to write out our resignations before that fateful day when Leon strode into our projection room and... the new Daffy Duck lit up the screen at Leon's command... The cartoon played to the studio audience, accompanied by prayer and silence. Then the lights went on and Leon leaped to his feet, glared around, and said, 'Jeethus Christh, that'th a funny voithe! Where'd you get that voithe?'"
And while we're at it, here's a link to my very favorite Daffy Duck cartoon among so many great ones, also starring another great voice innovation of Blanc's, Elmer Fudd. Have a laugh - don't we all need it!