Beckett Entertainment has published SpongeBob SquarePants: Unofficial Collector — a special print magazine highlighting the “Top 10 Best SpongeBob Episodes,” toys and merchandise and trading cards price guide.
Included is a 2-page feature on the voice cast with photos and profiles of Tom Kenny, Bill Fagerbakke, Rodger Bumpass, Carolyn Lawrence, Doug Lawrence and Clancy Brown, as well as a list of the 40+ celebrities who have voiced characters on the series.
There’s also an interview with SpongeBob creator Stephen Hillenburg, and although it’s a reprint of a Nickelodeon press release from July 2009 celebrating SpongeBob’s 10th Anniversary, it appears to be the entire interview from the original press release in which Hillenburg also discussed the voice cast. (Most media sources, such as Animation Magazine, merely printed excerpts from the original release.)
Here are Hillenburg’s complete comments on the voice cast:
Nick: What does the cast bring to this show?
Hillenburg: The cast brings life. Each ‘voice over’ actor is responsible for lifting the character off the page. Once they are the voice of a character, they are part of that character. Part of its DNA. No substitutes. No recasting.
Nick: Did the actors bring things to the characters that weren’t in the writing?
Hillenburg: An actor’s performance can often make a line that is not intended to be funny, funny. There is always room for improvisation, but that is usually limited.
Nick: Why did you want Tom Kenny for the role of SpongeBob? Was there collaboration with Kenny in further developing the character and the voice?
Hillenburg: I worked with Tom on “Rocko’s Modern Life” where he played Rocko’s sidekick, Heffer. He was such an amazing, quick-witted performer that he was constantly stealing the show. I thought if I could dial him into the main role of my show, he would be able to hold his own against the other secondary characters. Tom is also a well-meaning, good-natured guy and I thought we would naturally be able to tap into the personality of an innocent character like SpongeBob. We met and I explained the SpongeBob character to him. Tom imitated a conversation he overheard from a Santa’s elf at the mall and SpongeBob’s voice was born.
Beckett’s SpongeBob special issue sells for $9.99 (US) and will be available at newsstands through 3.09.2010 (and just an FYI: it’s a dollar cheaper at Wal-Mart), or you can purchase a copy through Beckett.com.
In related news, Viacom announced Dec. 15th:
Nickelodeon has green-lit 26 new, original episodes of the hit series “SpongeBob SquarePants,” it was announced today by Brown Johnson, President, Animation, Nickelodeon/MTVN Kids & Family Group. The new order will bring the total number of episodes for the series to 178, and will feature the original voice cast including Tom Kenny as SpongeBob, Bill Fagerbakke as Patrick, Rodger Bumpass as Squidward, Clancy Brown as Mr. Krabs and Carolyn Lawrence as Sandy Cheeks.
The announcement comes on the heels of the star-studded SpongeBob “Truth or Square” 10th anniversary special that drew 7.7 million total viewers on Nov. 6, ranking as basic cable’s number-one entertainment show for the week. In 2009, SpongeBob SquarePants drew more than 75 million viewers monthly and currently ranks as the number-one animated series with kids 2-11 as it has for more than seven consecutive years. The show is seen in 171 markets in 26 languages and is the most widely distributed property in MTV Networks’ history.
Elsewhere, in a recent interview with Mark Flanagan, owner of Largo at the Coronet in Los Angeles, Flanagan says that he is trying to book the SpongeBob Band for a kids concert event hopefully sometime around mid-March 2010.
Flanagan adds, “Tom Kenny, who used to do a lot of stand-up at Largo, is the voice of SpongeBob SquarePants and he’s really talented. He was in a rockabilly band as well, so he’s incorporated those elements into his music, and he’s done two soundtracks. During his shows, he sings as SpongeBob, and even though the program is mainly for kids, people of all ages really seem to enjoy it.”
I’ve been backlogged since July on a number of SpongeBob and Tom Kenny-related articles and videos which I’ll try to post soon. In the meantime, even though the holiday season is over now I’d still like to share a video of a live concert performance by Tom Kenny as SpongeBob singing “Don’t Be A Jerk (It’s Christmas)” recorded by a fan in early December, 2009:
And a couple of interviews with Tom from December 2009 related to this little ditty:
– The Post-Standard: Tom Kenny’s SpongeBob gets into the spirit
– The Washington Post: Don’t Be A Jerk — It’s Christmas!’: SpongeBob Talks
Previous news: 7.14.2009 — ‘SpongeBob’ Voice Cast Featured on VH1 Documentary