Elie's Expositions

A bereaved father blogging for catharsis... and for distraction. Accordingly, you'll see a diverse set of topics and posts here, from the affecting to the analytical to the absurd. Something for everyone, but all, at the core, meeting a personal need.


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Thursday, December 27, 2007

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.

"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?'"
To his dying day, Schlesinger never realized that Daffy's voice was a copy of his!

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!

15 Comments:

At 12/27/07, 11:27 PM, Blogger cruisin-mom said...

Elie, that's a great story. Have you ever seen Quackbusters? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daffy_Duck's_Quackbusters

 
At 12/28/07, 11:13 AM, Blogger Jack's Shack said...

I had a boss years ago who used to sputter just like Daffy. I wonder if they are related.

 
At 12/28/07, 11:28 AM, Blogger Elder of Ziyon said...

OK, let's see if I can fill in an impromptu TV trivia quiz, probably much easier than the usual one here:

* The makers of "The Love Boat" created an earlier show with a similar theme but no recurring characters. Name it.

* In the "All in the Family" theme song, what is the line after "Everybody pulled his weight"?

* In one of the funniest Mary Tyler Moore Show episodes, a character named "Chuckles" died. What were the circumstances of his death, and what was Murray's joking comment concerning the untimely demise?

* A fictional, animated band had the number one single in 1969. Name the TV show and hit song.

* What comedy did Richard Nixon appear on while campaigning for president? What was his line?

* The wife of another president appeared on another comedy under the pretext of looking for her husband's pipe. Name the show, the First Lady, and the main character's reaction when told that the First Lady was on the phone?

* Who was the comedian, and what was the joke/skit, that got The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour canceled?

* Who replaced Harvey Korman in the last season of The Carol Burnett Show?

 
At 12/28/07, 11:32 AM, Blogger Elie said...

These are good, EoZ - thanks! I know a few, but I'll give others a chance first.

 
At 12/28/07, 12:03 PM, Blogger Soccer Dad said...

* The makers of "The Love Boat" created an earlier show with a similar theme but no recurring characters. Name it.

Wasn't it Love American Style?

* A fictional, animated band had the number one single in 1969. Name the TV show and hit song.

The Archies (I'm guessing the TV show was Archie or Archie and Friends). The hit song was Sugar Sugar.

OK - one of the songwriters of Sugar, Sugar later had his own #1 hit. What was it?

* What comedy did Richard Nixon appear on while campaigning for president? What was his line?

Laugh-in. Sockit-to-me.

I remember once on the news of the future Dick Martin intoned (something like) "Today after after passing legislation legalizing marijuana, Congress held a joint session."

I was 8 years old, my parents had to explain it to me.

* Who was the comedian, and what was the joke/skit, that got The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour canceled?

I think that the comedian was Pat Paulson.

 
At 12/28/07, 12:13 PM, Blogger Elder of Ziyon said...

#1 is correct.

#4 is correct; the show was The Archie Show. I had no idea of the answer to your question but Wikipedia does.

#5 is correct; although he phrased it as a question.

#7 is wrong, I was considering using Paulsen as an answer for a separate trivia question.

 
At 12/28/07, 1:30 PM, Anonymous Mark is Gold said...

#2 - Gee our old LaSalle ran great.

 
At 12/28/07, 2:17 PM, Blogger Elie said...

OK, my turn, though SD and Mark already got most of them.

* In one of the funniest Mary Tyler Moore Show episodes, a character named "Chuckles" died. What were the circumstances of his death, and what was Murray's joking comment concerning the untimely demise?

He was dressed as a giant peanut and was crushed to death by an elephant. I know Murray had a classic line but can't recall it. This was voted the #2 funniest sitcom episode in a TV Land poll several years ago; I Love Lucy's "Vitametavegiman" was #1.

* The wife of another president appeared on another comedy under the pretext of looking for her husband's pipe. Name the show, the First Lady, and the main character's reaction when told that the First Lady was on the phone?

It was President Gerald and Betty Ford, on the Mary Tyler Moore show. Mary thought the call was part of an elaborate lie by her boss Lou to cover up his lack of friends/plans for New Years, and accused Betty of being a prank caller.

 
At 12/28/07, 2:48 PM, Blogger Elder of Ziyon said...

Mark is right. They recorded it at least twice but it was still hard to understand.

Elie is right about Chuckles the Clown being dressed up as Mr. Peanut and being killed by an elephant. Murray said something like, " It is a good thing no one else was hurt. You know how hard it is to stop after one peanut."

When Betty Ford told Mary on the phone who she was, she answered, "And I'm Mary. Queen of Scots." She also informed her that her Betty Ford impression stinks.

Which leaves only the Smothers Brothers. Comedian David Steinberg played a rabbi, giving a sermon where he said, "Old Testament scholars say that Jonah was swallowed by a whale. The Gentiles, the New Testament scholars, say, 'Hold it, Jews, no.' They literally grabbed the Jews by the Old Testament." It turns out that the skit was not aired at that time (I had seen it years later) because the censors had enough.

 
At 12/28/07, 6:55 PM, Blogger cruisin-mom said...

1. Love American Style
2. Gee our old La Salle ran great
3. (can't remember)
4. the archies (Sugar Sugar)
5. Laugh In "sock it to me"
6. don't know
7. Pat Paulson?
8. ?
Okay, now I'm gonna go back and see what the answers are!

 
At 12/28/07, 6:58 PM, Blogger cruisin-mom said...

I didn't do too badly :)
Who replaced Harvey Korman?

 
At 12/29/07, 6:05 PM, Blogger Elder of Ziyon said...

AH, I forgot to include that one...

Dick Van Dyke.

 
At 12/29/07, 6:44 PM, Blogger Elie said...

Thanks again EoZ for providing a great TV Trivia quiz this week! Hopefully I'll be back with one next Thursday.

 
At 12/29/07, 11:44 PM, Blogger cruisin-mom said...

Wow, I don't remember that AT ALL!

Thanks, that was fun.

 
At 12/30/07, 2:47 AM, Blogger trn said...

I knew #2, #4, and #5.

The theme song of The Archie Show still occupies brain space in my head.

Thanks EoZ!

 

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