Voice Actors Pay Tribute to ‘Robotech’ Producer

05.01.2010

Robotech.com has a memorial page for US anime pioneer and Robotech producer Carl Macek, who passed away April 17th of a heart attack at the age of 58.

The page includes reflections on “Uncle Carl” (as he was known to friends) from the following cast members:

Tony Oliver, voice of Rick Hunter
Rebecca Forstadt Olkowski, voice of Lynn Minmei
Barbara Goodson, voice of Marie Crystal and Sera
Richard Epcar, voice of Ben Dixon, Lunk, Vince Grant
Robert Axelrod, voice of Rico
Tiffany Grant, anime voice actor

Added 5.09.2010 — Thanks to Jeff B. for the heads-up on this Robotech 25th Anniversary panel video from the January 2010 Animation on Display convention in San Francisco, CA featuring Tony Oliver, Robotech Creative Director Tommy Yune, and the late Carl Macek. It seems very appropriate and timely that this was Macek’s final convention appearance.


RIP Eddie Carroll, 1933-2010

04.06.2010

The International Jack Benny Fan Club is reporting that Eddie Carroll, voice of iconic Disney character Jiminy Cricket since 1973, has passed away of a brain tumor at the age of 76.

Carroll assumed the role after the death of Cliff Edwards in 1971 and had voiced the famous cricket for all manner of Disney media over the course of nearly 40 years, including the Kingdom Hearts video game series.

And up until what was described on his site as a “recent injury,” Carroll had been performing the critically-acclaimed one-man tribute stage show Jack Benny: Laughter in Bloom.

I received the following message from Laura Leff, president of The International Jack Benny Fan Club, on the morning of Tuesday, April 6th:

Eddie Carroll passed away about an hour ago. Today is also his and Carolyn’s wedding anniversary–47 years. And I read Eddie all the well-wishes that I had received up to about 10PM Pacific Time last night, so he knew that you were thinking of him.

There is a story told by one of the help at Jack’s house that shortly before he passed away, he woke up and said that he had been talking with Lyman Woods (his second vaudeville partner). Jack said that Lyman had shown him the afterlife, and that it was “beautiful”.

I’m sure many of us will want to envision Jack helping Eddie to make his exit to our standing ovation.

–Laura Leff
President, IJBFC
www.jackbenny.org


Update: 4.07.2010, 2:30 PM (EST)
: JackBenny.org has provided some additional details regarding the funeral and where to send donations:

For those who have asked about the funeral, it is going to be a private affair for the family only. In a few weeks, a number of Eddie’s friends will be pulling together a tribute to him, which will be entitled: “A Tribute to Eddie Carroll: A Life in Bloom”.

Eddie’s favorite charity was St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, so the family is asking that donations be made there. Here’s a link.

When Carolyn got home from the hospital, there was a beautiful arrangement of lilies waiting for her. They were from the Benny family with their appreciation for all that Eddie did for Jack. Appropriately, it was done by the same florist that Jack had deliver one red rose to Mary for every day for the rest of her life.

My thoughts and prayers go out to Eddie’s family and friends at this time.

I’ll provide a more detailed tribute to Eddie in the future as part of a larger project which is in development.

In the meantime, I’d like to spotlight other tributes from around the web:

LaughingPlace.com
NewsFromMe.com by Mark Evanier
MagicalMountain.net
Examiner.com
The Washington Post

And there are additional links in the comment thread below.


Featured Voices: Jeff Bordner

02.07.2010

Continued Super Bowl Sunday voice-related coverage…

Salt Lake City’s KSL.com has an interview with Jeff Bordner, who won the audition as the announcer for Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl VI.

“I love what I do. My work is play,” he tells KSL.com. “My commute consists of a cup of coffee and negotiating the steps downstairs in my power suit, which is my bathrobe.”

Bordner, who also voices promos for ESPN, NBC, CBS and FOX, says of the VO industry: “I don’t know of another business that is this competitive. I’m very fortunate and I’m very blessed. Every type of voice brings with it some kind of positive thing, some kind of hook that advertisers are looking for. Whether it’s comedic or intense, or whether it’s just a regular guy. I’ve learned it’s not the voice, it’s the performance. You are voice acting. It is acting.”

You can learn more about Bordner’s work on his official site: NationalVoiceover.com.

Bordner replaces the late Harry Kalas, who served as announcer for Puppy Bowls I-V. Kalas, who passed away April 13, 2009, was the beloved voice of the Philadelphia Phillies and narrator for NFL Films. Look for a memorial tribute to Kalas here in April, 2010.

Related post: 2.07.2010 — Super Bowl Sunday VO


RIP, Ed Ragozzino

02.01.2010

Ed Ragazzino (photo courtesy VoiceProfessionals.com)


The Register-Guard is reporting that performer Ed Ragozzino died of cancer Saturday, Jan. 30th. He was 79.

In addition to a serving in the Army during the Korean War, Ragozzino also had a fair “side career” working as a voice talent and actor in film, TV and radio productions. Furthermore, he was a high school and college drama teacher who also directed regional stage shows.

He provided voiceovers for Soloflex, Subaru, Mercedes Benz, AT&T, National Geographic, The History Channel and the Oregon Coast Aquarium. He also voiced characters for the 1994 video game Metaltech: Earthsiege.

One of Ragozzino’s drama students, Julie Payne, says of her beloved teacher, “We were all in love with Mr. Ragozzino. He was handsome, funny, terrifying, inspiring and kindly. Everything he knew, he wanted to pass on to us.”

Looking back on his life in a 2007 interview with the Register-Guard, Ragozzino said, “My timing was great. I’ve been lucky.”

Related links:

http://www.kval.com/news/local/83190042.html
http://www.voiceprofessionals.com/ragozzino.htm


RIP, Shirley Bell Cole

01.31.2010

The New York Times is reporting that Shirley Bell Cole died on January 12th, 2010. She was 89.

Cole voiced the title character for the popular radio show “Little Orphan Annie” (an adaptation of the comic strip by Harold Gray). She got the part when she was only 10 years old, and the NY Times says she managed to “maintain that bubbly preteen voice…until she was 20.”

Although Cole retired from acting afterwards, she still made public appearances and even published an award-winning autobiography in 2005, Acting Her Age: My Ten Years as a Ten-Year-Old (winner of two awards at the Chicago Book Clinic’s Book and Media Show).

Click here to read The Times’ complete obit.


RIP, Zelda Rubenstein

01.28.2010

Actress Zelda Rubenstein, who famously played the diminutive psychic in the 1982 horror classic Poltergeist, passed away on Wednesday, Jan. 27th. She was 76.

A strong presence both on and off-camera as a character actor, Rubenstein voiced characters for several animated productions: Hey Arnold!, Darkwing Duck, The Flintstones: On the Rocks, The Flintstones Comedy Show, and she voiced Ralph’s mother in the 1986 live-action/stop-motion animated ABC Weekend Special The Mouse and the Motorcycle. She was also the narrator for the TV series Scariest Places on Earth, and Wikipedia mentions that she had been doing commercial voiceovers since 2006 which included a movie trailer for Lady in the Water and the image voice for Skittles’ “Taste the Rainbow” ad campaign.

Please see the LA Times for a complete obituary.

Thanks to Rob Paulsen for the news via Facebook.


Event: Muppeteer Richard Hunt Biography Reading

01.06.2010

Author Jessica Max Stein, who published an 84-page biography on Muppeteer Richard Hunt in August 2009, will conclude her follow-up “zine tour” with a bookstore event in Chicago, IL on Sunday, January 10th, 2010.

If you live in the Chicago area, please visit JessicaMaxStein.com for more details on this event. Portland’s Blogtown has an overview of one of Stein’s 2009 events.

Richard Hunt worked with Jim Henson’s productions for 20 years up until his death in 1992 of AIDS-related complications. He performed such popular Muppet characters as Scooter, Janice, Beaker and Sweetums, Fraggle Rock’s Junior Gorg and Gunge, and Sesame Street’s Don Music and Forgetful Jones.

Stein’s ‘zine The Rainbow Connection: Richard Hunt, Gay Muppeteer is available through MicrocosmPublishing.com.

Stein’s blog offers an extended interview with Richard Hunt’s mother Jane and her partner Arthur Miller, including archive photos.

Related post: 4.06.2009 — Muppets/Jim Henson News Round-Up


R.I.P., Arnold Stang (1918-2009)

12.22.2009

Mark Evanier is reporting via his blog NewsFromME.com that Arnold Stang has died at the age of 91.

This has been a rather depressing year with the loss of several voice talents, some of which I still haven’t gotten around to mentioning here. And there have been a few others besides Brittany Murphy who have died in December and haven’t even mentioned yet. As I’ve stated here before, I sometimes wait and take time to write a proper tribute.

But Stang was one of my favorite comedic voices and a great character actor. He will be greatly missed and I assure you a full report and tribute article will follow.

In the meantime, Mark (a fellow voice actor fan and supporter of this blog) shares an anecdote on his blog about working with Stang on Garfield and Friends. Here’s an excerpt:

He was a joy to work with. The only direction I gave him — the only direction you could give a guy like that — was, “Try to sound like Arnold Stang.” He did so with ease, like he’d been doing it all his life and he was perfect.


‘King of the Hill’ Star Brittany Murphy Dies

12.21.2009

Brittany Murphy at the Teen Choice Awards, August 8th, 2004. (Photo by Glenn Harris, courtesy Photorazzi.com)


TMZ reports that Brittany Murphy died from cardiac arrest Sunday morning, December 20th. She was 32.

Murphy was discovered unconscious in the shower Sunday morning, and a 911 call was placed at 8:00 AM from a home registered to Murphy’s husband, Simon Monjack. Murphy was then rushed to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and was pronounced “dead upon arrival” two hours later.

Update: 2.11.2010 — In TMZ’s continued coverage, the L.A. County Coroner has concluded that Murphy’s cause of death was “accidental…caused by ‘community acquired pneumonia,’ iron deficiency anemia, and multiple drug intoxication.”

And in a follow-up story, TMZ reports that L.A.County Coroner officials say that Murphy’s condition was “treatable” and that the primary causes of death were “pneumonia and anemia”:

As for the multiple drugs found in her system, we’re told they were both prescription, including medicine for cramps, and over-the-counter medications, including cough syrup. Our sources say the drugs “pushed her over the line” but the underlying problems were the pneumonia and anemia.

A fundraiser was planned for February 3rd as a “launch party” for the Brittany Murphy Foundation which the official site says is “dedicated to arts education for children.” TMZ says, “Monjack insists the party was simply postponed — but so far, no new date has been set.”

I am truly sorry for her loss, and my sympathies go out to her family and friends. I will continue to provide updates on this story as needed.

It was believed that Murphy died of natural causes. Celebuzz.com states that Murphy “had reportedly been suffering from flu-like symptoms in the days prior to her death, and had been vomiting early Sunday morning.”

Murphy’s mother, Sharon (who found her in the shower Sunday morning) told paramedics that Murphy had a history of hypoglycemia and had been hospitalized in April 2009 for low blood sugar.

TMZ reported Dec. 21st that both Monjack and Murphy’s mother Sharon appeared on “The Today Show” to silence rumors that Murphy abused drugs and that she had an eating disorder.

In a Dec. 22nd interview with People.com Murphy’s husband Monjack again denied rumors of a drug overdose and anorexia:

He added that his wife of three years did suffer from a heart murmur (mitral valve prolapse), which can cause fatigue, dizziness and irregular heartbeats – but is generally not life threatening. Murphy didn’t require medication to treat it, says Monjack. But on Saturday, he says, his wife was ill, resting in bed all day suffering from laryngitis, which the actress treated with herbal tea, ginger and lemon.

“She was on herbal remedies that wouldn’t speed up her heart,” Monjack says. “There was nothing here that could endanger her; there was prescription medication in the house for her female time and some cough syrup. That was it.”

There had been earlier claims that Murphy’s health was suspect in the months prior to her death, and that her own alleged erratic behavior and relationship with her husband (who is said to have behavioral problems) had caused difficulties with her work on at least three films. In November 2009, it was rumored that she was fired from the film The Caller, amidst accusations that she and her husband had caused problems on set and even allegations that they were intentionally attempting to “sabotage” the film. A representative for Murphy stated at the time that she was merely “released” from working on the film and had, in fact, “never been fired from a film” but that she left due to “creative differences.”

Update: 1.27.2010TMZ reports:

The producers of “The Caller” tell TMZ “The decision for Brittany to leave the film was mutual and amicable, and was in fact related to a serious illness in Brittany’s family. Any rumors to the contrary are false, and in the circumstances, particularly hurtful.”

Monsters and Critics has a related report that Murphy was described as “upbeat” in one of her last public appearances December 3rd at a red carpet event in Los Angeles. She was quoted as saying, “I’ve been very blessed to have a really great loving husband… I spend more time with my family than anyone else in the world. As far as having a New Year’s resolution, I’d love to have a child next year.”

FoxNews.com reporter Holly McKay was at the same event and conducted what is reported to be the last known interview with Murphy. “I feel very blessed for everything I have in my life and my family,” Murphy said at the time.

On Monday, Dec. 20th, McKay was interviewed by Australia’s Daily Telegraph, and said that Murphy was “more than excited” about her New Year’s plans to fly to Australia with fellow Happy Feet voice cast member Elijah Wood where they would be reprising their roles recording dialog for Happy Feet 2.

McKay said Murphy “was like a lost little girl” — as though she “seemed to need a friend” and that “she sat very close, spoke softly and kept reaching for my hand”:

She was “noticeably distracted” and would stop talking mid-sentence. “One moment we were talking about fashion and Clueless then she opened up about the makeup artist that bleached her eyebrows and burnt them off years ago,” McKay said.

Murphy had denied her erratic behaviour was from cocaine abuse. “My worst vice is caffeine,” she said. “I can’t even take a Sudafed. Can you imagine? My God. I think my heart would explode.”

Writer-director René Eram, who had cast Murphy to co-star in his film Shrinking Charlotte (originally scheduled to begin production in January 2010) says in an interview with E! Online that he was “really looking forward” to working with Murphy, and describes her as “professional” and a “perfect fit” for the role, but “very skinny.”

“When I met Brittany, she was very impressive and very professional, but I noticed that she had dropped a lot of weight in the last six months,” Eram said. “I didn’t know or hear anything about eating disorders or anything like that, but I did notice she had lost some weight. She really had a deeper look into the characters she was playing. She was a very perceptive actress who brought a lot to the table as far as creative ideas and different layers of emotions.”

“It was all very positive and that’s what is so sad for me, to not have her involved in this movie,” he says. “This is a great loss of someone I felt was tremendously talented, had a lot to offer and had a long ways ahead of her career-wise.”

Murphy was born in Atlanta, GA in 1977, but after her parents divorced two years later she was raised by her mother in Edison, New Jersey. In her early teens, they moved to Los Angeles so she could pursue acting. In a 2003 interview with the Associated Press, Murphy said, ”When I asked my mom to move to California, she sold everything and moved out here for me. I was really grateful to have grown up in an environment that was conducive to creating and didn’t stifle any of that. She always believed in me.”

Murphy found early success landing supporting and principal roles on a number of TV series such as Murphy Brown (1991), Drexell’s Class (1991-92), Parker Lewis Can’t Lose (1992), Almost Home (1993), Blossom (1993), Party of Five (1994), and Sister, Sister (1994-95).

Her starring role as Tai in Clueless (1995) was a tremendous boost for her career, and she went on to star in more than two dozen feature films, including memorable performances in 8 Mile (2002), Don’t Say A Word (2001), and Girl, Interrupted (1999).

But animation fans and voice actor enthusiasts will remember her always from King of the Hill as the voice of Hank Hill’s niece, the naive but sweet and loveable Luanne Platter, for which she was thrice-nominated (1997, 2000 and 2004) for an Annie Award for “Voice Acting in an Animated Television Production”, and won the award in 2004.

Murphy also had other notable roles in animation: “Tank the 8th grader,” a recurring character in Disney’s Pepper Ann (1999-2000); the singing penguin “Gloria” in the popular computer-animated feature Happy Feet (2006); and Colleen O’Hallahan, Fry’s shared girlfriend and a pivotal character in Futurama: The Beast With A Billion Backs (2008).

Following Murphy’s death, there has been an outpouring of sympathy from fans on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, and many of her co-stars, friends and family are expressing their grief publicly as well:

Kathy Najimy (via People.com), Murphy’s co-star on King of the Hill :

Brittany Murphy was like no other. A bright light. Never a mean or judgmental word, wildly fun, silly, loyal friend. Sweet, funny, smart, unbelievably talented actress and singer. Brilliant, moving body of work. I was lucky enough to know, love and work with her for 15 years. Love to her family and the many many people who adored her and were touched by her. We hope that in honor of her life and in the reflection of her glorious light, the pressures that girls and women face, will fade. Her spirit still soars.

– Ashton Kutcher (via Twitter.com), co-star in Just Married (2003): “[Today] the world lost a little piece of sunshine.”

– Alicia Silverstone (via E! Online), co-star in Clueless:

I loved working with Brittany. She was so talented, so warm and so sweet. I always felt connected to her as we shared a very special experience in our lives together. I feel love in my heart for her and hope she is at peace.

Popeater.com has collected other statements via Twitter.com from other of Murphy’s former co-stars, friends and acquaintances such as Alyssa Milano, Peter Facinelli, and Eliza Dushku.

Murphy’s family has released the following statement to The Associated Press: “The sudden loss of our beloved Brittany is a terrible tragedy. She was our daughter, our wife, our love and a shining star.”

Murphy’s father, Angelo Bertolotti, also tells AP, “She was just an absolute doll since she was born. Her personality was always outward. Everybody loved her. She was just talented… And, I loved her very much.”

TMZ reported Dec. 21st that Murphy had willed her estate to her mother, Sharon, and reportedly never revised the will to include her husband.

RadarOnline reported Dec. 23rd that Murphy’s funeral was scheduled for Christmas Eve, Dec. 24th.

Murphy will appear in five more films which were recently released, currently in post-production or will be released soon:

Deadline [<– official MySpace movie site], a horror flick directed by Sean McConville and starring Brittany Murphy, Thora Birch and Marc Blucas. Released on DVD December 1st, 2009.

Trailer:

On a related note, TMZ reported Dec. 23rd that DVD kiosk vendor Redbox is working to remove promotional posters for Deadline which show a tragically ironic image of Murphy’s character in a bathtub. The distributor for the movie also plans to reissue the DVD with an alternate cover.

Across the Hall, an indie thriller directed by Alex Merkin and co-starring Brittany Murphy as June. Released on DVD Jan. 19th, 2010. Trailer:

Abandoned, an indie psychological thriller directed by producer/director Michael Fiefer with Murphy in a leading role and co-starring Dean Cain, Mimi Rogers and Peter Bogdanovich. As of this writing, the movie will be released sometime in 2010 but a specific date has not been announced.

Added: 12.23.2009Abandoned director Fiefer talks with People.com about working with Murphy on his film (article includes publicity photo):

Brittany was a pro. When she needed to turn it on, she just threw a switch and she was on. She didn’t have to be all method. There was a moment where she needed to cry, and we were kidding around where she actually said she could cry out of one eye and you just had to pick which eye you wanted. She was that good at her craft. So playing frantic came really easy and playing sweet came really easy. It hurts me to hear all this salacious stuff because my experience with Brittany was really one of my best experiences with an actress.

The New York Daily News has a related article with additional publicity photos from the film.

Abandoned movie trailer and preview clip:

Something Wicked, an indie film directed by producer/director Darin Scott with Murphy in a lead role. No release date has been announced.

The Expendables, written/directed/starring Sylvester Stallone with a cast of action stars galore: Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture, Steve Austin, Mickey Rourke, Danny Trejo, Arnold Schwartzenegger and reportedly even Bruce Willis. It was reported in May 2009 on the film’s official blog that Murphy’s character was written out of the film; however, a follow-up post in July states that her role was “diminished” and became a “bit part” that ended up being barely more than a cameo. The release date is currently slated for April 23, 2010 has been pushed back to August 10th, 2010 after it was reported Jan. 5th, 2010 that Stallone was severely injured while filming a fight scene.

Trailer:


In Passing: Dallas McKennon

07.15.2009
Dallas McKennon as Cincinnatus (Daniel Boone TV series) in an undated publicity photo. Photo courtesy 'La Grande Observer'.

Dallas McKennon as Cincinnatus (Daniel Boone TV series) in an undated publicity photo. Photo courtesy

I’m saddened to relay the news via Mark Evanier’s NewsFromME.com of the passing of prolific cartoon voice actor Dallas “Dal” McKennon, who died Tuesday morning at the age of 89 (and mere days from his 90th birthday — born July 19, 1919).

Dal is one of those great talents who was never really recognized for his work except perhaps within the animation fan community and industry, as he voiced the iconic claymation character Gumby (during the 1960’s) as well as Archie Andrews and several other characters for Filmation’s Archie cartoons (namely Mr. Weatherbee, Hot Dog, Chuck Clayton, Coach Cleats, and Mr. Lodge).

Some of his other recurring characters include:

– From Walter Lantz Productions: Buzz Buzzard (Woody Woodpecker’s nemesis), Inspector Willoughby, and Dapper Denver Dooley.
– Both the title characters in Courageous Cat and Minute Mouse (1960)
– The title character in Q.T. Hush (1960)
– Both the title characters in Bucky and Pepito (1959)
– Joe Hardy and Chubby Morton in The Hardy Boys cartoon (1969)
– Tintin and Prof. Calculus for the English dubs of Belgium’s Tintin cartoons.
– According to Topher’s Breakfast Cereal Character Guide, Dal was the original voices of Kellogg’s Rice Krispies characters Snap, Crackle, and Pop (seriously, all three) and “the earliest talking version of Corny (or Cornelius), the Corn Flakes rooster.” Dal also reportedly claimed that he was the original voice of Tony the Tiger: “But I found out that doing that voice was ruining my throat,” Dal stated in an interview, “and since I wanted to be able to keep working, I gave it up and recommended that Thurl Ravenscroft do it.” (Thurl, in return, denied Dal’s claim, saying that he was always Tony’s voice.)

He also voiced characters for a number of Disney classics — Lady and the Tramp (1955), Sleeping Beauty (1959), 101 Dalmatians (1961), Mary Poppins (1964), and Bedknobs & Broomsticks (1971) — as well as some of Disney’s theme park attractions (Haunted Mansion, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Ben Franklin at Epcot’s American Adventure, and Zeke at The Country Bear Jamboree).

And in addition to his voice work, Dal was frequently a western-type character actor for a number of TV shows and films, most memorably as the shopkeep Cincinnatus on NBC/20th Century Fox’s Daniel Boone series from 1964-69 which starred Fess Parker. He also had film roles in Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds and Clambake with Elvis Presley.

You can browse his other 100+ voice and live-action credits via IMDb.com.

In an interview with the LA Times, cartoon voice actor Will Ryan (Gummi Bears, Teddy Ruxpin, Adventures in Odyssey) said of his long-time friend, “He was an entertainer. There was something of the 6-year-old in him, no matter what his age was. He had a gift for mimicry, but there’s that spirit behind it. It wasn’t so much that he could do different voices, but that he could enthusiastically do different personalities.”

The LA Times obit adds:

In 1968, McKennon and his wife, Betty, whom he had married in Portland in 1942, decided to move their family of eight children back to Oregon. They settled in Cannon Beach, and he commuted to Los Angeles for acting and voice jobs.

McKennon’s wife of 66 years survives him, as do his children: daughters Dalene Lackaff of Woolwich, Maine, Barbara Porter and Linda Strozyk, both of Raymond, Wash., Gayle McKennon of Hyannis, Mass., Tamara Rock of South Bend, Wash., and Wendy McKennon of North Bend, Ore; and sons Jerald McKennon of Tualatin, Ore., and Steven McKennon of Newberg, Ore. He is also survived by 21 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren.

Dal’s hometown newspaper, The La Grande Observer reports that a memorial service is scheduled for August 1st at the Community Presbyterian Church in Cannon Beach, OR.

I never had the opportunity to meet Dal, but my fellow voice actor fan “LindaL3” did, whom I stumbled upon via the internet back in 2000 due to our mutual admiration for voice actor Will Ryan. Linda attended a July 2000 event which as I recall was hosted by ASIFA-Hollywood and emcee’d by Will. [Linda, if you’re still out there, I haven’t heard from you in years!] And I hope she doesn’t mind my taking the liberty of sharing the e-mail she sent afterwards:

I am on top of the world right now! I just got back from the Dal McKennon event and it was fantastic. Dal is a few weeks from being 81, but he is energetic and an amazing speaker. He kept us all laughing and on the edge of our respective seats with his stories of early Hollywood and how he got his start with the help of Jimmy Stewart (who got him his first agent).

Dal looks a bit like a wild man with an unruly white beard, but his energy is that of an old friend or a favorite uncle. He had plenty of stories and sang a few songs, did many of his voices and gave a few pointers to some of the voice artists in the audience.

Will Ryan was the moderator and did his best to gently guide Dal along, however he did it in an unobtrusive way and obviously did his homework. There wasn’t much time for Will to perform although he did pull out his
[ukulele] at one point to accompany Dal.

Linda also mailed me some photos from the event, which unfortunately I can’t find right now. Whenever I come across them, I’ll get them added to this article.

Update: 7.31.2009 — I found the photos. I apologize for the low-res quality, but I haven’t had a working scanner in ages and these are photos of photos I took with my digital camera:

Dal McKennon and Will Ryan at a July 2000 event. (Photo donated by Linda.)

Dal McKennon and Will Ryan at a July 2000 event. (Photo donated by Linda.)

Dal McKennon at a July 2000 event. (Photo donated by Linda.)

Dal McKennon at a July 2000 event. (Photo donated by Linda.)

Dal McKennon and Will Ryan ham for the camera at a July 2000 event. (Photo donated by Linda.)

Dal McKennon and Will Ryan ham for the camera at a July 2000 event. (Photo donated by Linda.)

Will Ryan and Dal McKennon performing at an event in July 2000. (Photo donated by Linda.)

Will Ryan and Dal McKennon performing at an event in July 2000. (Photo donated by Linda.)

Dal’s daughter, Gayle, is also planning to launch a memorial website in Dal’s honor. I hope to have more details on this here soon.

For more on Dal’s life and career, please see the following links:

– Mark Evanier: NewsFromME.com.
LA Times: Detailed obituary with photo.
Examiner.com tribute article by Jeff Baham.
ToonZone.net
GoldenAgeCartoons.com
VoiceChasers.com
– PodcastDirectory.com: November 2008 audio interview.
– The Walter Lantz Cartune Encyclopedia: Dal McKennon Interview.
– Wikipedia.org: Dallas McKennon.
– CartoonBrew.com: Obit by Jerry Beck (includes video link)
– StartedByAMouse.com: Dinner With Dallas McKennon by Steve Burns.
Have Banjo Will Travel: blog entry by Jim Coston, who once worked with Dal on a riverboat cruise in Dal’s home state of Oregon.
– YouTube video of the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad ride with Dal’s voice-over: