Cartoon Voices of the Golden Age, 1930–70, Vol. 1: The Pioneers of Animation Acting

BearManor Media. Sept. 2022. 544p. ISBN 9798887710082. pap. $38. REF
This welcome narrative, a suitable companion to Michael Barrier’s Hollywood Cartoons, focuses on cartoon audio. Cartoon voice-actor Scott (The Moose That Roared: The Story of Jay Ward, Bill Scott, a Flying Squirrel, and a Talking Moose) sets the goals of tracing the evolution of cartoon voice specialists from vaudeville and radio actors, identifying uncredited voice artists, and surveying the most famous of those voices. He also corrects and supplies context to often-contradictory recorded or printed reminiscences. The author mines the archives at USC, UCLA, the Margaret Herrick Library, and Disney to trace voice actors’ efforts at studios such as Warner Brothers, MGM, Columbia, Screen Gems, UPA, Walter Lantz Productions, and Paramount. Many lay readers will recognize names such as Mel Blanc (who voiced Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck), June Foray (Jay Ward Productions), and Mae Questel (the actor behind Betty Boop and Olive Oyl). Specialists will appreciate the author’s bold analysis of these older cartoons’ satirical, often culturally insensitive dialogue addressing marginalized communities and characters such as Porky Pig, Elmer Fudd, and Mr. Magoo.
VERDICT While Stephen Cavalier’s The World History of Animation places this art in an international perspective, Scott’s decades-long undertaking, including his second volume, of references, is a contender for best source on American cartoon vocalization.
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