Sunday, May 14, 2006

Some of the faces behind some of the voices

When I was a kid I was fascinated by cartoons and by the faces behind the voices. It has been one of my most pleasurable tasks as a writer to interview some of these talented actors. For me, a kid whose favorite character was (and remains) Popeye, having the opportunity to spend time with the late great Jack Mercer was one of the highlights in my professional life.

Over the years, I've tried to pick up stills of movie actors who had a secondary role as a voice performer and will post some periodically on this blog.

The first one here is of Charles Ruggles (far left), the comic character actor who popped up in a parade of Hollywood films in the 1930s. Here he is seen with Charles Farrell and an actress whose last name is Bradley. Some day I'll figure out the name of this picture, but it shows Ruggles in a typical situation: he usually was an innocent bumbler in well over his head.

Ruggles was a member of the Jay Ward stock company and played Aesop in Ward's versions of Aesop's Fables.

Next is a shot of the voice of Jimminy Cricket, Cliff Edwards (far left). He seen with opera star Lawrence Tibbets (center) and Roland Young (sorry, I don't have the name of the woman playing a nurse) from the film The Southerner.

Edwards was an accomplished blues singer who found himself in a wide variety of supporting roles in movies that went from Buster Keaton comedies to westerns. His recordings could be fairly bawdy for the time and I always wondered if Walt Disney knew or cared about that.

©2006 Gordon Michael Dobbs
These are my opinions alone.


Kip W said...

There are some Cliff Edwards recordings at -- as far as I know, here's all of them:

To Mary With Love, with Ben Light on the piano,
Mr. Insurance Man, and
I Love Mountin Wimmen.

There are, I may say in passing, a lot of good records at, including legendary vaudeville acts (like the team of Billy Jones and Ernie Hare) and double-entendre party records (like Benny Bell, more recently famous from Dr. Demento, and the aforementioned Ben Light).

SRBissette said...

One of my fave teachers at Kubert School, vet cartoonist Hy Eisman, had some great stories about Cliff Edwards. Hy did an art job for Edwards (for a classroom filmstrip venture), and he got stiffed -- "Who'da thought Jiminy Cricket would rip you off?"