Weird Al Yankovic Publishes Kids’ Book

02.03.2011

Image courtesy HarperCollinsChildrens.com

Pop music parody king and three-time Grammy winner Weird Al Yankovic published his first children’s book on February 1st, When I Grow Up. Publisher HarperCollins describes the book thusly:

Billy’s classmates may have never considered careers in snail training or sumo wrestling before, but by the time the exuberant eight-year-old is done cataloging his dream jobs, they just might share his belief in unlimited potential!

Virtuoso wordplay, irresistible rhythm, and laugh-out-loud humor abound in the first picture book by the one and only “Weird Al” Yankovic. This unbridled celebration of creativity and possibility invites readers of all ages to consider afresh what they want to be when they grow up.

The book has received critical acclaim from comedian/actor Patton Oswalt (Ratatouille, Robotomy, WordGirl), who called the book “wonderful” via Twitter.

And if you don’t care for Oswalt’s opinion, Seth Green (Robot Chicken, Family Guy) says via Twitter that Al’s book is “great…for story-time reading!”

Granted, Seth Green has no experience in parenting to make him an authority on kids’ books, and Patton Oswalt isn’t one most would look to for recommending good books for kids either.

So would it help if Toy Story 3 director Lee Unkrich gave this glowing review of the book?

Have a kid? Need a book to read with said kid? @alyankovic just wrote one, and it’s great!

And here’s Al narrating an excerpt of his book via YouTube:

(You can download the entire audiobook on iTunes for $1.99.)

Weird Al’s also doing a book signing tour during February 2011, and new dates keep being added to the schedule at WEIRDAL.COM. Current schedule (courtesy of Yank Blog):

Feb 12 – Los Angeles, CA – Barnes & Noble (at the Grove) 2:00pm
Feb 13 – Van Nuys, CA – Costco 1:00pm
Feb 15 – Irvine, CA – A Whale of a Tale 4:00pm
Feb 18 – Naperville, IL – Anderson’s Bookshop 7:00pm

And here are some recent interview links with Al discussing his book:

- Naperville Sun Times: Yankovic book tour to visit NCC

- CNN: What happened when Weird Al grew up

- IndyStyle.TV: Weird Al Yankovic (video interview)

- MyFoxBoston.com: Weird Al Yankovic Interview (video)

- CelebrityBabyScoop.com: Weird Al Yankovic: “Family is my first priority.”

- Stuff.Co.NZ: The Weird Al Yankovic Interview

- ThePageTurn.com: My Favorite Teacher, by Al Yankovic

- iTunes Podcast – English, Baby!: Grow Up – Weird Al Yankovic (Select episode #3.)

- HarperCollins: Q&A with Weird Al Yankovic (PDF file)

- FaceCulture video interview:

Additional source: World of Weird Al Yankovic

~ Craig “Voiceroy” Crumpton
Publisher, Voice Actors in the News
(and lifelong Weird Al fan/”close personal friend”)

Weird Al Yankovic and Craig "Voiceroy" Crumpton at the 2004 San Diego Comic-Con. (Demotivator caption by Steve Helling.)


Charitable Voice Actors

02.03.2011

Celebrity charity auction site ClothesOffOurBack.org has listed a few items that some voice actor fans may be interested in bidding on: two bottles of 2008 Merlot wine autographed by Hank Azaria (The Simpsons, Anastasia) and Mila Kunis (Family Guy, Robot Chicken), and a dress donated by CCH Pounder (Justice League, Batman Beyond).

Both auctions end March 1, 2011. Proceeds benefit various children’s charities.

In a bit of related news, Paul Rugg (voice actor and writer on Freakazoid and Animaniacs) has announced that he is going to be auctioning off animation cells and memorabilia from shows he has worked on to help raise funds for Angels Way Maternity Home in California. Paul has a video on his Froynlaven! blog showing many of the items he’ll be donating from his own collection. We’ll provide an update when his auction officially begins.

~ Craig Crumpton
Publisher, Voice Actors in the News

====================================

The Clothes Off Our Back Foundation is a 501c3 organization that hosts charity auctions showcasing today’s hottest celebrity attire. Items are put up for bid to the public with proceeds going to benefit children’s charities. Clothes Off Our Back was founded by actors and philanthropists Jane Kaczmarek (“Malcolm In The Middle,” “Raising the Bar”) and Bradley Whitford (“The West Wing,” “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip”) whose efforts, along with their celebrity and designer friends have helped improve the lives of children across the globe. For more information and to bid, log onto www.clothesoffourback.org.


‘Sesame Street’ Katy Perry/Elmo Duet Video Deemed “Too Racy”

09.23.2010

The New York Daily News is reporting that a video of pop star Katy Perry singing a spoof of her hit “Hot N Cold” with Elmo (performed by Kevin Clash) has been deemed “too racy” and subsequently pulled from Sesame Street‘s official YouTube Channel.

Kevin Clash with Elmo. Image courtesy SesameStreet.org.

The video, released exclusively on the web September 20th, apparently received too many negative comments and complaints about Perry’s wardrobe, which consisted of “a low-cut yellow-green heart-shaped dress, a sheer piece of material covering her ample cleavage.”

The show’s producers have issued the following statement:

In light of the feedback we’ve received on the Katy Perry music video which was released on You Tube only, we have decided we will not air the segment on the television broadcast of Sesame Street, which is aimed at preschoolers. Katy Perry fans will still be able to view the video on You Tube.

We will not be linking directly to any video here on the blog (just to avoid potential broken links); however, dozens of YouTubers are (naturally) scrambling to get traffic off the controversy and publicity. Just do a YouTube.com search for: Katy Perry Elmo and you’re sure to find it.

In a bit of ironically related news, The Hollywood Reporter has an exclusive preview video from Sesame Street’s upcoming 41st season with a parody of the very adult, violent and graphic HBO series True Blood. Sesame Street (and Jim Henson productions in general) has never shied from spoofing pop culture even at the risk of alienating their core demographic from the joke. But like the subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle) innuendo in classic Looney Tunes cartoons, there are some gags and references on Sesame Street that parents will laugh at but kids won’t understand until adulthood.

I don’t believe I can encode the video via WordPress, so here’s a direct link:

http://video.hollywoodreporter.com/services/player/bcpid6555681001?bctid=614605996001

Sesame Street has other preview segments for their 41st season on their official YouTube Channel, including celebrity guests Jason Bateman, Chris O’Donnell, Wanda Sykes and Colin Farrel, and two others which I must share here:

- Oprah Winfrey providing voiceover for an animated spoof of herself and her own show:

- Joseph “Run” Simmons (of famed hip-hop group Run-DMC) and Kevin Clash as Elmo as Steven Tyler performing a parody of “Walk This Way”:

And here’s a bonus video we linked to recently (for those who don’t follow us on Facebook or Twitter): Kevin Clash and Elmo visit Baltimore:

~ Craig Crumpton
Publisher, Voice Actors in the News

Additional source: Blastr.com


Complete List of Dragon*Con Voice Actor Events

09.03.2010

I’ve been asked by several individuals attending Dragon*Con if I would list all of the voice actor panels I’m involved with along with other related panels of note. As you will see below, there are so many related events that this was a rather daunting task. I hope my efforts will be useful as a guide to those attending the con.

Please note that the schedule and guests listed below are subject to change. Check The Daily Dragon regularly for up-to-the-minute schedule and guest updates.

Locations for each panel/event are not listed due to the possibility of changes. For those attending Dragon*Con please check your Pocket Program Guide, and every morning when you arrive at the con be sure to pick up a copy of The Daily Dragon from the local D*Con Info booth which contains all updates and changes.

FRIDAY

- 10:00 AM – Snydecast & FRED Entertainment
Featuring Dana Snyder.

- 11:30 AM – Aqua Teen Hunger Force/Squidbillies Panel
Featuring live script reads with a full cast: Jim Fortier, Dave Willis, Carey Means, Daniel Baker (Unknown Hinson), Daniel McDevitt, Dana Snyder, Bobby Ellerbee, Mary Kraft, and Scott Hilley. Autograph session to follow.

- 1:00 PM – Bill Corbett (Mystery Science Theatre 3000, Rifftrax)

- 2:30 PM – Trace Beaulieu (MST3K, Cinematic Titanic)

- 2:30 PM – Meet the Stars of Star Wars
Featuring Clone Wars cast members Ashley Eckstein, Phil LaMarr and Daniel Logan.

- 2:30 PM – Voice Acting for Podcasters
Panel description: “Learn the finer points of voice acting and voice overs to enhance your podcast.” [No industry guests listed for this event.]

- 4:00 PM – Darkstar: The Interactive Movie
Featuring MST3K’s Trace Beaulieu

- 4:00 PM – Voice Actors
Panel moderated by Craig “Voiceroy” Crumpton, featuring panelists C. Martin Croker, George Lowe, Billy West, Dana Snyder, and John DiMaggio. (Additional guests possible for this panel.)

- 5:30 PM – The Animation Fan Fun Panel
Hosted by yours truly, Craig “Voiceroy” Crumpton, with special industry guests (TBA). Light on commentary and packed with voice actor improv, a wild Old Time Radio script read, and trivia contest with prizes. Sponsored by toonzone.net and Voice Actors in the News.

- 5:30 PM – Akira: The Great Dub Debate – Streamline or Pioneer?
Fan panel discussing the two dubs of the classic anime film.

- 7:00 PM – Atlanta Radio Theatre Company
Live performance by local audio drama troupe.

- 7:00 PM – [adult swim] Comedy
Fan panel with industry guests TBA.

- 8:30 PM – Aqua Teen Hunger Force Fan Panel
Industry guests also possible for this panel.

- 8:30 PM – MST3K and Cinematic Titanic
Historic live performance featuring Trace Beaulieu, Frank Conniff, Joel Hodgson, Mary Jo Pehl, Bill Corbett, and J. Weinstein. [This is nearly a 6-hour event.]

- 1:30 AM – WEEP
Live concert featuring Venture Bros‘ Doc Hammer on lead vocals and guitar.

SATURDAY

- 11:30 AM – Voice Actors
Panel moderated by Craig “Voiceroy” Crumpton, featuring panelists C. Martin Croker, George Lowe, Billy West, Dana Snyder, John DiMaggio, and Tom Kenny. (Additional guests possible for this panel.)

- 11:30 AM – MST3K
Panel presentation featuring Kevin Murphy, Trace Beaulieu, Frank Conniff, Joel Hodgson, Mary Jo Pehl, Bill Corbett, and J. Weinstein.

- 1:00 PM – Venture Bros. Guests
Featuring Doc Hammer and Jackson Publick. Autograph session to follow.

- 1:00 PM – FUNimation Entertainment Industry Panel and Q&A
Possible industry guests in attendance.

- 1:00 PM – Star Wars Costume Contest
Emceed by Ashley Eckstein.

- 4:00 PM – Bizarro Saturday Morning
Adult Swim voice actor/animator/artist C. Martin Croker hosts this vintage film showcase. Here’s Clay’s description of the show:
“Bizarro Saturday Morning” is a film series (all 16mm from my own collection) that I’ve shown around the South – but primarily at [Atlanta's] Historic Plaza Theater – of vintage, rarely seen and usually offbeat cartoons from the 1930s through the 1980s intercut with vintage Toy and TV spots mostly from the 1960s and 70s.”

- 4:00 PM – Meet the Stars of Star Wars
Featuring Phil LaMarr and Daniel Logan.

- 8:30 PM – Quantum Quest
Animated feature film screening with guest Tom Kenny.

- 8:30 PM – FUNimation presents: Anime’s Greatest Hits – The Best Scenes
Possible industry guests in attendance.

- 10:00 PM – Nuts on the Road: The Quiz Show
Improvised game show with contestants Dana Snyder, Doc Hammer, Jackson Publick, Trace Beaulieu, Frank Conniff, Joel Hodgson, Mary Jo Pehl, Adam Savage, J. Weinstein and Kevin Murphy.

SUNDAY

- 10:00 AM – Tom Servo vs Tom Servo
MST3K event featuring Kevin Murphy vs J. Elvis Weinstein.

- 11:30 AM – Squidbillies Fan Panel
Possible industry guests in attendance.

- 11:30 AM – Gargoyles: The Animated Series
Featuring cast members Jonathan Frakes and Marina Sirtis.

- 1:00 PM – Stories with Uncle George
George Lowe’s popular one-man panel show.

- 1:00 PM – Meet the Stars of Star Wars
Featuring Daniel Logan and Ashley Eckstein.

- 2:30 PM – Voice Acting Workshop
Featuring voice-over professional September Day and anime/video game voice actor Bob Carter.
Panel description: “Ever wanted to break into the voice over industry but just didn’t know where to start? Don’t have thousands to spend flying out to Los Angeles or New York for weekend-long workshops? How about coming to a workshop to learn what it REALLY takes to get started in this awesome industry right here in Atlanta? You don’t need a ton of money to launch your voice over career!”

- 2:30 PM – MST3K: Meet the Mads
Panel featuring Trace Beaulieu, Frank Conniff, Mary Jo Pehl, J. Weinstein, Bill Corbett, and Kevin Murphy.

- 4:00 PM – Futurama Cast Panel
Featuring Billy West, John DiMaggio and Phil LaMarr. (Maurice LaMarche unfortunately had to cancel his appearance at the convention.)

- 4:00 PM – Master Shake Tells it Like it Is
Featuring Dana Snyder.

- 5:30 – FUNimation Anime Sneak Peaks and Prizes
Possible industry guests in attendance.

- 5:30 – Meet Chad Vader!
Featuring the star of popular YouTube adventures of Darth Vader’s less fortunate brother, Chad Vader, who has also voiced Vader for LucasArts video games.

- 5:30 PM – Rifftrax Live…sort of
Featuring Bill Corbett and Kevin Murphy.

- 7:00 PM – What’s on Dana Snyder’s iPod
Featuring Dana Snyder.

- 7:00 PM – Atlanta Radio Theatre Company
Live peformance.

- 8:30 PM – David Bowie: Loving the Alien
Featuring Doc Hammer.


MONDAY

- 10:00 AM – Clone Wars & Star Wars Cartoons
Featuring Phil LaMarr and Ashley Eckstein.

Other celebrity guests will be in attendance who have voiced characters for animated productions. Please check the Pocket Program Guide for the panels and autograph sessions they are participating in.

Thanks to all the following sites for providing detailed schedules for Dragon*Con:

Anime-Manga Track (by Jake)
http://anime.dragoncon.org/2010/08/22/anime-manga-track-schedule-subject-to-change/

Animation Track (by Jess)
http://dragontoon.moonfruit.com/#/schedule-2009/4534639034

Star Wars Track
http://www.swatdc.com/

MST3KInfo
http://www.mst3kinfo.com/?p=7080

Venture Bros Blog
http://venturebrosblog.com/dragon-con/

[adult swim] Central (by John)
http://www.adultswimcentral.com/dc10.html

[adult swim] Official
http://www.adultswim.com/presents/dragon-con/index.html


‘Voice of Hollywood’ Marni Nixon Concert Event in N.C.

08.17.2010

For immediate release

Marni Nixon image courtesy Asheville Lyric Opera

MARNI NIXON, “The Voice of Hollywood,” presents a cabaret show at Diana Wortham Theatre on August 29th, at 3:00 p.m. One of the most famous voices in Hollywood film history, Ms. Nixon is best known as the singing voice of Natalie Wood in West Side Story, Deborah Kerr in The King and I and An Affair to Remember, as well as Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady.

~~ Click here to view the promotional poster for this event ~~

This one-woman show of brilliant singing is part of the 2010 summer at the WORTHAM series, Pack Place in downtown Asheville, NC. Ms. Nixon sings highlights from her extensive career in TV, Recordings, Movies, Broadway and Opera. This once in a lifetime event will bring the audience a unique behind the scenes look into the music secrets and success of Hollywood and Broadway in the grand glamour silver screen days.

This special event is sponsored by Asheville Lyric Opera Guild and the Grand Bohemian Hotel and will benefit the ALO education programs and opera activates.

Tickets are available at 828-257-4530. Concert prices are $50, $40, and seniors $35.

For more information see www.ashevillelyric.org or call 828-236-0670.

Marni will also be performing October 9th with the Contra Costa Chamber Orchestra at the Los Medanos College Recital Hall in Pittsburg, CA. We’ll provide more details and ticket info on this event in the near future.

Update: 8.17, 2:15 PM — Marni tells Voice Actors in the News exclusively that she has just won a Peabody Award for “Outstanding Contribution to American Music” which she will receive in May 2011 at an event in New York.

And as a bonus, here’s a January 2008 video interview with Marni Nixon from The Chicago Tribune:

A very special thanks to David Craig Starkey for the press release and images, and to Marni Nixon for the info on the Oct. 9th concert. Please visit MarniNixon.com for more about Marni’s life and work.

~ Craig Crumpton
Publisher: Voice Actors in the News


Daytime Emmy Nominations Announced

05.13.2010

The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences has announced the nominees for the 37th Annual Daytime Entertainment Emmy® Awards.

Voice acting-related nominees for “Outstanding Performer in a Children’s Series”:

- Kevin Clash as Elmo, Sesame Street
- Caroll Spinney as Big Bird, Sesame Street
- Joey Mazzarino as Stinky, Myrry & Blogg, Sesame Street
- David Rudman as Baby Bear, Sesame Street

Nominees for “Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program”:

- Ed Asner as Kid Potato, WordGirl (PBS)
- Eartha Kitt as Cool Cat, The Wonder Pets! (Nick)
- Amy Poehler as Bessie Higgenbottom, The Mighty B! (Nick)
- Phillip Seymour Hoffman as William Fillmore Toffman, Arthur (PBS)

Voice acting-related mentions for “Outstanding Directing in an Animated Program”:

- Cynthia True, voice director: The Mighty B! (Nick)
- Andrea Romano, voice director: SpongeBob SquarePants (Nick)
- Lisa Schaffer, voice director: The Penguins of Madagascar (Nick)
- Ginny McSwain, voice director: Fanboy and Chum Chum (Nick)

Some of Seasame Street‘s Muppet performers were also included in nominations for “Outstanding Directing in a Children’s Series”: Kevin Clash, Matt Vogel and Joey Mazzarino, and Mazzarino was also included in a nomination for “Outstanding Writing in a Children’s Series” (he serves as the head writer for Sesame Street).

Nominees for the category for “Outstanding Childrens’ Animated Program”:

- WordGirl (PBS)
- The Backyardigans (Nick)
- Curious George (PBS)
- Sid The Science Kid (PBS)

Also related to animation, PBS’ Fetch! With Ruff Ruffman was nominated for “Outstanding Children’s Series.”

Nominees of note in “Outstanding Achievement in Music Direction and Composition”:

- The Wonder Pets! (Nick)
- Hot Wheels Battle Force 5 (CN)
- Phineas & Ferb (Disney Channel)
- The Penguins of Madagascar (Nick)

Nominees of note in “Outstanding Original Song – Children’s and Animation”:

- “Nochebuena Song,” Dora The Explorer (Nick)
- “It’s a P-H!,” Between the Lions (PBS)
- “A Fiddler Crab Am I,” The Wonder Pets! (Nick)
- “Come Home Perry,” Phineas & Ferb (Disney Channel)
- “Song About Elmo,” Sesame Street (PBS)

And the main title theme for Disney Channel’s Special Agent Oso was nominated for “Outstanding Original Song.”

Also wanted to point out that a couple of the voice cast for WordGirl were included in nominations for “Outstanding Writing in Animation”: Jack Ferraiolo and Ryan Raddatz. And on a related note, Ryan Raddatz says of the three WordGirl Emmy nominations via his official site — RyanRaddatz.com: “I’m thrilled to be a part of the WordGirl team, and doubly thrilled to be recognized for our work.” Raddatz added that a PBS series he helped write, Fizzy’s Lunch Lab, “is nominated in the curiously named ‘New Approaches’ category.”

And just for kicks, here’s a breakdown of the total Emmy noms for networks and shows of interest (as they relate to this blog):

PBS 53
Nickelodeon 25
Disney Channel 5

And shows receiving “multiple nominations”:

Sesame Street 14
Disney Phineas and Ferb 4
Fanboy and Chum Chum 4
The Penguins of Madagascar 4
The Wonder Pets! 4
The Fairly OddParents 3
Fetch! With Ruff Ruffman 3
Hot Wheels Battle Force 5 3
WordGirl 3
Between the Lions 2
The Mighty B! 2
Sid The Science Kid 2
Spongebob Squarepants 2

“The Daytime Entertainment Emmy® Awards” are scheduled to air on CBS June 27th, 2010. You can view the full list of nominees via EmmyOnline.org.


Jolly Green-Grant Get Hitched

05.05.2010

Seth Green and Clare Grant at the 61st Emmy Awards, 9.12.2009 (Photo courtesy aceshowbiz.com, © Albert L. Ortega, PR Photos)

Congratulations to newlyweds Seth Green (Family Guy, Robot Chicken, Titan Maximum) and Clare Grant who tied the knot May 1st during a private ceremony at a vineyard outside of San Francisco, CA. (Weird Al Yankovic was a wedding guest.)

Grant is a native of Memphis, TN and has voiced characters on Robot Chicken.

For more photos and wedding details, visit the links below:

- People.com (5.04) — Newlyweds Green and Grant Can’t Believe Their Luck

- MTV.com (5.04) — Seth Green and Clare Grant: Wedding Details!

- People.com (5.03) — Seth Green Gets Married!

- GossipBooCrew.com (5.03) — Seth Green Got Married At Skywalker Ranch This Weekend


May 2010 VAs on TV Highlights

05.01.2010

“VAs on TV” has long been a feature in this blog’s history, but I normally highlight more notable ones as individual posts.

I’ve been wanting to introduce this as a monthly, comprehensive feature rather than just the occasional post, but with the time and effort involved in maintaining it I make no promises about keeping it updated regularly.

All times listed are EST (Eastern Standard Time). Please be sure to check your local listings for showtimes in your area. And I will continue updating this page throughout the month of May, which will be posted via Facebook and Twitter.

Additionally, as new info on upcoming on-camera and voice “appearances” is released but the scheduled airing is not yet known, they will be added at the close of this article.

5.01William Shatner interviews Weird Al Yankovic on Shatner’s Raw Nerve at 9:30 AM (EST) on the Biography Channel.

5.02 — Guest voices on the 8:30 PM episode of The Cleveland Show (FOX):

- Jason Sudeikis as Holt and Terry
- Jamie Kennedy as Federline
- Kanye West as Kenny West
- Taraji P. Henson as Chanel
- Jason Alexander as Saul Friedman
- Bebe Neuwirth as Sarah Friedman
- Al Thompson as Walt
Also listen for Kevin Michael Richardson as Bea Arthur.

(Previously reported here.)

: On Adult Swim, The Boondocks returns with the season three premiere at 11:30 PM. It features the voice talents of Regina King (Southland) as Huey and Riley Freeman; John Witherspoon (Friday After Next) as Granddad; Gary Anthony Williams (Boston Legal) as Uncle Ruckus; Cedric Yarbrough (Reno 911) as Tom Dubois; Jill Talley (American Dad) as Sarah; and Gabby Soleil (Johnson Family Vacation) as Jazmine.

5.03 — The JEOPARDY! Million Dollar Celebrity Invitational airs May 3-7 and features Harry Shearer, Neil Patrick Harris, Michael McKean and Cheech Marin competing in a trivia match for their favorite charities. More details and video on this event are available in my previous report. [Update 5.03 @ 10:00 PM: Unfortunately, Shearer lost to Jane Curtin in the first round of the tournament.]

: At 9:30 PM (EST) on CBS, Yeardley Smith (voice of Lisa Simpson) guest stars on a repeat of The Big Bang Theory. [Thanks to Jon B. for the heads-up.]

: Discover why so many recent voiceover auditions ask for a “Morgan Freeman type” as Freeman guests on CBS’ Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson.

5.04Brad Garrett (voices in Ratatouille, A Bug’s Life, Eek! The Cat, Schnookums & Meat Funny Cartoon Show) guest stars as “Doug” in a rerun of Rosanne (ep. # 3.25 “The Pied Piper of Lanford” @ 12:30 AM on TVLand. Repeats @ 11:30 PM).

: The Biography Channel profiles Adam West (voices on Family Guy, The Fairly Odd Parents, Meet the Robinsons) at 9:00 AM (EST). Includes interviews with Burt (“Robin”) Ward, Frank (“The Riddler”) Gorshin, and Julie (“Catwoman”) Newmar. Repeats at 3:00 PM; 5.05 @ 4:00 AM.

: Michael McKean (voices on Harvey Birdman, Justice League, Family Guy) competes on the second round of JEOPARDY! Million Dollar Celebrity Invitational. More details and video on this event are available in my previous report. [Update: 5.04 @ 11:00 PM -- Winner: Michael McKean!]

: A new episode of WordGirl airs on PBS at 4:00 PM (EST) with guest stars John C. McGinley (Scrubs) as Whammer, animation voice actor Grey DeLisle (Scooby-Doo, Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Wow Wow Wubzy) as Ms. Question and comedian/impressionist James Adomian as Joe the Guard.

It’s followed by another new episode at 4:30 PM (EST) guest starring Daran Norris (The Fairly OddParents) as Seymour Orlando Smooth and Grey DeLisle as Beatrice Bixby/Lady Redundant Woman.

: Samuel L. Jackson (Afro Samurai, The Boondocks) guests on The Ellen Degeneres Show (in syndication, check local listings).

: On Comedy Central at 10:00 PM (EST), the former FOX animated show Sit Down, Shut Up makes its cable network debut. It features the voices of Will Arnett, Jason Bateman, Kristin Chenoweth, Will Forte, Nick Kroll, Kenan Thompson, Cheri Oteri and Henry Winkler.

: Impressionist Frank Caliendo (MAD TV) guests on NBC’s The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

5.05 — Look for Tom Kenny (voice of SpongeBob SquarePants) as Persky in a repeat episode of Just Shoot Me (ep. 2.13 “Pass the Salt”) on TBS @ 11:00 AM.

: Neil Patrick Harris (voices on Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Penguins of Madagascar, Robot Chicken, Family Guy, Spider-Man) competes on the third round of JEOPARDY! Million Dollar Celebrity Invitational. More details and video on this event are available in my previous report.

: “Pixar Movie Mission,” a repeat episode of Dinner Impossible (FOOD TV) airs @ 10:00 PM (EST) and features Pixar founder John Lasseter, director/writer/animator Brad Bird (voice of The Incredibles‘ Edna Mode), and Lou Romano (voice of Linguini in Ratatouille). Repeats: 5.06 @ 1:00 AM; 5.08 @ 4:00 PM.

: Dana Delaney (Superman: The Animated Series) guests on PBS’ Tavis Smiley.

: Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy, American Dad, The Cleveland Show) guests on CBS’ Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson.

: Samuel L. Jackson guests on Jimmy Kimmel Live.

5.06Mike Judge (King of the Hill, Beavis & Butthead) has a cameo on Spy Kids (2001) airing on Showtime @ 8:00 AM. Repeats: 5.12 @ 9:30 AM; 5.16 @ 12:05 PM.

: John DiMaggio (Futurama, Gears of War series, Chowder) has a brief role as “Officer Ross” in a rerun of My Name is Earl (ep. 1.23 “BB”) @ 8:00 AM on MyNetworkTV.

: Tim Daly (Superman: The Animated Series) guests on ABC’s The View.

: Samuel L. Jackson (a busy man on the talk show circuit this month) guests on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

5.07 — On the 8:00 PM (EST) episode of Smallville (The CW), Michael McKean (voices on Harvey Birdman, Justice League, Family Guy) guest stars as Perry White.

: Comedian Steven Wright (voices in Babe: Pig in the City, Dr. Katz: Professional Therapist, The Swan Princess) guests on CBS’ Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson.

5.08Jeff Dunham: Spark of Insanity airs on Comedy Central at 9:00 PM (EST).

5.09 — The Biography Channel profiles Bill Cosby at 12:00 PM (EST), followed by the two-hour special The Cosby Show… A Look Back at 1:00 PM.

: Phil LaMarr guest stars as “Kurt” on a rerun of According to Jim (ep. 6.17 “Any Man of Mine”) @ 1:00 PM on The CW.

: Guest voices on the 8:30 PM episode of The Cleveland Show (FOX):

- Jason Sudeikis as Holt
- Jamie Kennedy as Federline
- Connor Rayburn as Dylan
- Aseem Batra as Kendra
- Glenn Howerton as Ernie
- Alec Sulkin as Angus
- Alex Borstein as Mrs. Lowenstein
- John Viener as Gordy
Also listen for Kevin Michael Richardson as Uncle Thomas the Tank Engine and Flava Flav.

(Previously reported here.)

5.10Judy Greer (voices on Archer, Glen Martin DDS) guest stars on a repeat of The Big Bang Theory at 9:30 PM (EST) on CBS.

5.11William Shatner interviews Tim Allen (Toy Story series, Home Improvement) on Shatner’s Raw Nerve at 11:00 AM on the Biography Channel, followed by Shatner’s interview with Jason Alexander (Duckman, The Hunchback of Notre Dame) at 12:00 PM. (Repeats between 5-6 PM.) You can also watch Tim Allen’s interview online at Biography.com.

5.12
Johnny Depp narrates “The Doors” documentary When You’re Strange on American Masters @ 9:00 PM (EST) on PBS. A preview of the film is available on PBS.org.

: The SimpsonsHank Azaria and Matt Groening are guest judges on Bravo’s Top Chef Masters @ 10:00 PM.

5.14George Takei (Oh, my!) guest stars on a scifi fantasy episode (“Starship Tipton”) of The Suite Life on Deck @ 8:00 PM (EST) on the Disney Channel. Although famous for his role as Sulu in the Star Trek franchise, Takei has voiced many animated productions: Disney’s Mulan film series, The Super Hero Squad Show, Chowder, Transformers: Animated, Kim Possible, and Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

5.16Wilmer Valderama (voice of Handy Manny) and Handy himself team up for ABC’s season finale of Extreme Makeover Home Edition at 8:00 PM (EST).

And stay tuned to ABC at 9:00 PM for a guest appearance by Dan Gilvezan (original voice of Bumblebee on Transformers) on the season finale of Desperate Housewives. [Thanks to the official Dan Gilvezan Fan Page for the news!]

: On FOX at 8:00 PM (EST), Kelsey Grammer reprises his role as Sideshow Bob in an all-new episode of The Simpsons.

Immediately following @ 8:30 PM (EST) is a new episode of The Cleveland Show (FOX) guest starring Arianna Huffington, Aseem Batra and Ted Lange (The Love Boat).

Adult Swim premieres the first episode of Squidbillies‘ sixth season @ 12:00 AM guest starring rockers Widespread Panic and featuring the voices of Unknown Hinson as Early Cuyler, Daniel McDevitt as Rusty, Dana Snyder as Granny, Todd Hanson as Dan Halen, Patricia French as Aunt Lil, Scott Hilley as Reverend, Mary Kraft as Krystal, and Bobby F. Ellerbee as Sheriff.

Here’s a behind-the-scenes video from 2008 featuring Unknown Hinson and Dana Snyder:

5.20 — On the 8:00 PM (EST) two-hour season finale of Smallville (The CW), Phil Morris (The Secret Saturdays, Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Batman: The Brave and the Bold) guest stars as John Jones, and Britt Irvin (George of the Jungle, X-Men: Evolution, Sabrina: The Animated Series) as Star Girl.

: Lenoard Nimoy (Star Trek, Transformers: The Movie, Atlantis: The Lost Empire) guest stars on FOX’s Fringe at 9:00 PM (EST).

5.21James Arnold Taylor (Star Wars: The Clone Wars says (via his official Facebook fan page) that he will be singing both The National Anthem and “God Bless America” for “Clone Wars Day” at the Los Angeles Dodgers’ home game against the Detroit Tigers and adds that “it will be televised.”

5.23 — The 8:00 PM (EST) season finale of The Simpsons (FOX) features American Idol judges Simon Cowell, Ellen DeGeneres, Kara DioGuardi and Randy Jackson.

And stay tuned to FOX for the 8:30 PM episode of The Cleveland Show (FOX) with the following guest stars:

- Jason Sudeikis as Holt
- David Lynch as Gus
- Frances Callier as Cookie
- Craig Robinson as Freight Train
- Corey Holcomb as Robert
This episode also features a “special musical number by Earth, Wind & Fire” as well as cameos by Family Guy‘s Peter Griffin and Quagmire (voiced by Seth MacFarlane).

(Previously reported here.)

Additional notes and upcoming appearances:

- John Goodman (voices in The Princess and the Frog, Monsters, Inc., The Emperor’s New Groove film and TV series, The Jungle Book 2, Bee Movie, and the upcoming animated feature film Bunyan and Babe) is narrating the TLC series Best Food Ever. It premiered May 3rd and currently airs in regular rotation on the network. Visit TLC.Discover.com for the schedule.

- I’ve updated my feature article on Nick’s Big Time Rush with appearances by Tara Strong, Dee Bradley Baker, James Arnold Taylor, Phil LaMarr, Daran Norris, Carlos Alazraqui and Ahmed Best. Because these episodes are broadcast in regular rotation on Nick, I’ve decided not to list them in this feature. But if you’d like to see when they air, check Nick.com’s TV Schedule page. Some episodes from the first season are also available online @ Nick.com.

- NickandMore.com shares via Twitter that Tom Kenny has appeared twice on Nick’s True Jackson, VP in the episodes “Saving Snackleberry” and “True Royalty.” Check this page on IMDb.com for future airings.

- Phil LaMarr posted via his official Facebook fan page on 5.03 that he “Spent the AM @ Cartoon Network working on the very fun GENERATOR REX” and added later that he recorded with Grey Delisle, Carlos Alazraqui and Marion Ross (Happy Days).

Since making its debut on Cartoon Network, Generator Rex now airs regularly on the schedule and features the voices of Daryl Sabara as Rex, John DiMaggio as Bobo Haha and Skalamander, Fred Savage as Noah, Tara Strong as Alan, Grey DeLisle as Dr. Holiday, Wally Kurth as Agent Six, Troy Baker as Van Kleiss and Biowulf, J.K. Simmons as White Knight, Tom Kenny as Scorpio, and Hynden Walch as Breach.

Sources: TVGuide.com, Interbridge.com, TheFutonCritic.com, IMDb.com


Monthly Blog Mailbag: April 2010

04.30.2010

Following up on March’s reader comments, where I answer questions and respond to feedback I get via e-mail and publish unintentionally amusing spam comments.

- Comment from “web tasarım” on a press release for the GEICO/FreedomWorks/D.C.Douglas brouhaha:

Sharing health was good in your hand. More expect friends.

I have no idea what that means, but it sounds complimentary so thanks. I hope health is good in your hand too.

- Comment from “sylvia” in response to an obituary notice (with strikethroughs to avoid keyword searches):

I have really been becoming all uncomfortable & zonked out there lately as soon as blazing some intense marihauna nowadays…
Any of you people experiencing this? It’s possible I just might need to reduce the amount I will be smoking right…?

While I don’t think this has any relation to my blog or it’s content… yes, I think that might just possibly be a very good thing for you to do.

- Comment from “Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy with Narration – Dr. Smith | Obesity Awareness” on a post about Orson Welles:

…actually they didn’t leave a comment. It was a blog pingack. And while I greatly respect Welles as an actor and don’t mean to make light of his death, I must admit I found the connection between “obesity awareness” and Orson Welles to be amusing…even if it was a random spam link to my blog.

Now for a real reader question:

- From Ron (Fresno, CA):

I enjoy [the] voice actor blog. I have recently began to appreciate voice actors from my youth a lot more, since I’ve been able to share the cartoons from the ’80′s and ’90′s with my kids.

I have wanted to start a project to obtain some of the former [Transformers] G1 voice actors autographs on the old [Hasbro] Action Cards from 1985. Unfortunately I have almost no idea how to go about this. I’m familiar with through the mail autograph seeking with sport figures but have no clue how to find some of the voice actors.

I was wondering if you might be able to answer a few questions for me? Are voice actors typically open to requests? Or is it too unusual an idea? Also, where would an individual send the requests, to their management agencies? Like I said it’s a project I’d love to do for myself and my kids. There is still magic in listening to those old cartoons and I’d like to capture a bit of it through autographs.

Sorry if I’m overstepping or asking too much, I do enjoy your website and appreciate the work you do to keep it up.

Thanks,
Ron Anderson

In my first reply to Ron, I asked him to provide a full list of all the voice actors he hoped to contact…and wow, was it a doozie! This is my reply to both messages:

Hi Ron,

Thanks so much for the compliments, and I don’t mind at all helping to get leads on autographs…even for requests as extensive as yours. Before I started going to conventions regularly, I used to do the same thing. For me, it’s more fulfilling and rewarding to get the autographs in person, and around 2000 I started a hobby of getting all my animated DVDs signed. Since I don’t want to risk losing my DVD cover art by sending it through the mail, I haven’t done any requests via U.S. Mail in quite some time.

I’m going to respond to your list in a series of separate posts over the next couple months because it’s a pretty extensive project to research and you have the casts for four different shows listed.

But first, to respond to your individual questions:

Are voice actors typically open to requests?

Yes. From my experience, Voice actors tend to be the most open to requests because they generally don’t have any kind of “celebrity” attitude and they appreciate the recognition for their work. Although I’ve met a handful who prefer their anonymity, I still have yet to be turned down for an autograph request, and at this point I’ve gotten so many signatures I’ve lost count.

[Is] it too unusual an idea?

Not at all! Up until I began using the internet in the mid-90s, I felt very alone in my hobby and appreciation for voice actors. Where I grew up in Memphis, TN there was only a local comic convention that offered nothing in the way of animation, and there weren’t even any local fan clubs that I knew of.

But thanks to the internet, not only did I discover that there were a lot of voice actor fans out there too, but a lot of them also collected autographs (some even going to great lengths to track down addresses).

Where would an individual send the requests, to their management agencies?

That’s actually one of the best places to start, and most autograph successes through the mail are obtained that way.

That said, before I tackle your major question I’m going to give some general information for anyone else interested in starting or expanding their autograph collection. These are some simple things you can do on your own time to find contacts for autograph requests:

1. Google.com is your friend.

Google has been my best resource for making contacts with voice actors (and bing.com more recently). But to search specifically for mailing addresses, put the actor’s name in “quotation marks” followed by “autograph.” Like this:

“Frank Welker” autograph

And within the first 10 search results you should find successes posted online by other fans.

And I’ve sometimes found better results searching with that same keyword method on Google Images. The search results there are often personal homepages, blogs and photo sharing accounts where if the fan hasn’t posted an address along with their image, you can usually find a contact for that person through the link to make an inquiry.

You can also use the same keyword search method to find the voice actor’s official site or Facebook.com page, if there’s one available. So your keyword search would be:

“Frank Welker” official site
“Frank Welker” facebook

While there are voice actors who keep their Facebook pages restricted, their page should have a link where you can send them a message (without requesting to be “Friends”). Also, some have official fan pages or fan groups on Facebook, and the fans there will be more than happy to help you with a contact for autograph requests.

And since I’ve used Frank as an example, you’ll be pleased to know that my good friend and fellow voice actor fan Doreen Mulman maintains Frank’s official site — FrankWelker.net — and she already has an address there for autograph requests through his agency.

2. Voicebank.net is also your friend.

Voicebank.net has demos for all the top voice actors in the industry as well as the agencies they’re listed with and the agencies’ mailing addresses.

Go to the “Demos and Agents” page on voicebank.net, type the name of the actor in the search and you’ll find what agency/agencies they’re listed with. When the actor’s demo pops up, click on the “Agency Name” link and the mailing address is the first thing listed.

3. VoiceChasers.com and FanMail.biz are your best friends.

The two best *direct* resources for fan mail addresses are thanks to Kristy at Voice Chasers and the fans on FanMail.biz.

Kristy has made great efforts to include addresses for fanmail and autograph requests for many of the voice actors listed in her database.

And FanMail.biz not only provides mailing addresses, but the fan forums there are always helpful to provide leads on actors that may not have a page yet. Furthermore, the fans post confirmations of autograph successes so you know you have a sure chance of receiving your request. And they post recent successes on the site’s frontpage, like the two current ones (as of this writing) for Dan Castellaneta and Seth MacFarlane.

The forum on FanMail.biz also offers a great guide by one of the site’s administrators on how to write to request autographs.

In my follow-up reply, I’ll address all the names on your list for the original Transformers series. In the meantime, you (and anyone else interested) can try using the above suggestions.

Thanks again, Ron, for allowing me to share your letter with my readers. I’m certain there are other fans out there who are curious to know the same thing.

Best of luck to you in your VA autograph quest,

Craig “Voiceroy” Crumpton
Publisher: Voice Actors in the News
* Expanded news coverage available through Facebook and Twitter.


Voice Cast Cavalcade: Shrek Forever After

04.29.2010

This article was originally published Feb. 1st 2010 and has since been expanded. Please scroll down for the most recent updates and additions.

Shrek 4 image courtesy of Shrek.com

Shrek Forever After (aka Shrek The Final Chapter in 3D) is reportedly the final film for the Shrek movie franchise scheduled for release May 21st, 2010.

Here’s the plot summary via IMDb.com:

A bored and domesticated Shrek pacts with deal-maker Rumpelstiltskin to get back to feeling like a real ogre again, but when he’s duped and sent to a twisted version of Far Far Away — where Rumpelstiltskin is king, ogres are hunted, and he and Fiona have never met — he sets out to restore his world and reclaim his true love.

Shrek Forever After features returning cast members Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz and Antonio Banderas. Other confirmed cast members: comedian Kathy Griffin, Meredith Vieira (The Today Show), Mary Kay Place (Big Love), Lake Bell (Boston Legal), and Kristin Schaal (Flight of the Conchords) as ogre-hunting witches; Jane Lynch (Glee) as Gretched; Jon Hamm (Mad Men) as the ogre leader of an underground resistance group; Megan Fox (Transformers film series) as a princess; Ryan Seacrest (American Idol); and Walt Dohrn as Rumpelstiltskin [Dorhn voiced several incidental characters in Shrek the Third].

Other cast members for the film include (as listed on Wikipedia and IMDb):

* Julie Andrews as Queen Lillian
* John Cleese as King
* Justin Timberlake as King Artie
* Amy Poehler as Snow White
* Maya Rudolph as Rapunzel
* Amy Sedaris as Cinderella
* Cheri Oteri as Sleeping Beauty
* Conrad Vernon as Gingy, Mongo
* Aron Warner as Big Bad Wolf
* Christopher Knights as Three Blind Mice
* Cody Cameron as Pinocchio, The Three Little Pigs
* Chris Miller as Magic Mirror
* Ian McShane as Captain Hook
* Craig Robinson as Cookie
* Regis Philbin as Mabel (Ugly Stepsister)
* Larry King as Doris (Ugly Stepsister)
* John Krasinski as Lancelot

: The Sydney Morning Herald published an interview May 28th with Mike Myers reflecting on his role in the Shrek film series.

: The May 28th print edition of Entertainment Weekly Magazine has a feature article on Shrek Forever After interviewing Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz and Antonio Banderas.

: On May 21st, ABC News interviewed Walt Dohrn, who shares the inspirations for his performance as Rumpelstiltskin:

Dohrn…has worked at DreamWorks Animation for eight years and spent most of that time on the studio’s “Shrek” franchise, says he had mixed emotions about his new job:

“I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, I have to really step outside my skill set and I have to step outside my dark little room and really put myself out there.’”

Dohrn said he borrowed from a wide range of sources, taking the fast-talking drive of Sean Penn in 1985 film “The Falcon and the Snowman” and infusing the conniving sweetness of a child murderess in 1956 movie “The Bad Seed.”

: The Washington Post published an interview May 21st with Walt Dohrn discussing his role as Rupelstiltskin and his early influences that led him to a career in animation.

: AccessHollywood.com has video interviews from the Shrek Forever After premiere at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival with Cameron Diaz, Mike Myers and Eddie Murphy, and a separate interview with Antonio Banderas.

: Via toonzone.net: Walt Dohrn discusses his role as Rumplestiltskin in the LA Times:

Truth be told, Dohrn isn’t even an actor at all. He’s head of story at DreamWorks Animation. “I started writing the scenes with the writers and directors, and we would put the scenes on the wall, and we would just be playing with that voice back and forth,” Dohrn says. “It just started to evolve. Rumple hadn’t been cast and people started falling more and more in love with the voice [I was doing] and the design.”

One of his vocal inspirations was the child murderess in the 1956 film “The Bad Seed” because “there was this fake innocence about her but any minute she could turn. We also liked Bette Davis in ‘What Ever Happened to Baby Jane’ — that character had the youthfulness with this really scary edge. And then there was the Sean Penn character in ‘The Falcon and the Snowman’ — we got the really fast talking for Rumple from him. It was quite the stew.”

: Movieweb.com attended DreamWorks’ 2010 film presentation on Jan. 15th, and for those who enjoy spoilers Movieweb describes the action from the film.

: Mirror.co.uk published an interview January 31st with Glee cast member Jane Lynch who briefly mentions her role in Shrek Forever After:

I’m playing an ogre called [Gretched] – it’s going to be a bit like It’s A Wonderful Life. I did voiceovers for several years – for radio and television in the mid-90s – and I really enjoy that work. There’s nothing better than voicing a character. You don’t have to worry about what you’re wearing, you’ve got the script in front of you, and it doesn’t involve your body, it’s all about your voice, and it’s really fast work.

And following are some related trailers and interviews via YouTube:

View the official trailer on Shrek.com.


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