Sunday, December 19, 2010

You know the voice, but.......!: Arthur Q. Bryan

A lot of you probably assume that, since he got all the credit in a zillion Merrie Melodies & Looney Tunes, Mel Blanc did all the voices. That's not really true, especially with the elocution-challenged Elmer Fudd. Blanc only took over the role after the passing of radio comic Arthur Q. Bryan, who originated the distinctive voice of everyone's favorite everyman loser. Here's Arthur in a different setting, more along the lines of his other work in radio. The character's different, but the voice isn't. Uploaded by GeorgeBettinger to YouTube:

Earlier this year, GEICO used Elmer, without the permission of Warner Bros., as part of their current ad campaign. Radio personality and ace voice artist Billy West (Futurama) essayed the part, as well as that of the director.

Having seen the above clip, we now get an idea that Elmer's original plus-sized incarnation was in fact based on Bryan himself. Mel Blanc had it written into his contract that he got all the credit, leaving an unsung hero like Bryan in the lurch, rather unfairly. It's too bad no one thought to have Elmer meet with a speech therapist, then or now, to address the seriousness of his vocal disorder. Same goes for Tweety, by the way.

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