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


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:


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

Daytime Emmy Nominations Announced


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.

Samantha Newark’s Plea for Nashville Flood Victims


The following message was sent out through the Samantha Newark Mailing List. Samantha, whom fans know as the voice of Jem from JEM! and the Holgrams, is also a Nashville resident.



I was fortunate, myself and my loved ones managed to escape damage at my house but I feel like I’m on an island and there is devastation all around me.

Two of the people that drowned were found right where I buy my groceries about 3 miles from my home. Hard to believe there were cars upside down floating in the intersection there on Sunday. They still have no power in that area.

The following is a letter that was forwarded to me from a friend in the music community. Here he shares the scope of this mega flood and also ways you can help your fellow neighbors in Nashville.

Since I hadn’t heard from many of my friends in LA since this happened I started to realize that the news coverage had been very sporadic so I’m doing my part to assist in a little way and get the word out to my fans.




I have been asked by friends, family and SongU.com members from around the world how they can help those in TN affected by the flood. I realize it’s hard to completely understand the magnitude of what happened here. I live here and I can’t comprehend it. This was a historical record rainfall for Nashville and middle TN. We had more rain than we’ve ever had since they began tracking rainfall. We topped the state’s record for rainfall in the entire month of May before sundown on May 2nd. We had about 40% of Seattle’s annual rainfall in less than 2 days. If this was snow, we would have had the equivalent of 13 feet of snow in less than 48 hours. This is not a once-in-a-while kind of flood. No, this one’s in the record books. It’s a once-every-hundred-or-two-hundred-years kind of flood.

The devastation is so widespread, it’s unbelievable. You would probably have to submerge my entire home state of NJ in water to cover as much area as this flood has covered in TN. While a few of these areas are flood prone, the majority are not and a large portion of the people affected do not have flood insurance. Just to give you a better picture of my little world, I could easily draw a one-hour radius from my house and barely scratch the surface of people affected. Across the road from our development, one of our daughter’s elementary school teachers lost everything in the flood. Just up the street at the Fieldstone Farms development, they were rescuing people in boats – one house in Fieldstone caught fire and blew up. Drive south for about 30 minutes, you would get to my friend Dale and Carol’s farm which is home to the annual Blackberry Jam Festival where Michael McDonald played a couple years ago. Their entire first floor of their house was submerged in water. It took a group of four of us about 3 hours just to clean the mud out of one bathroom in their house. Drive west about 40 minutes and you’ll get to Bellevue, an area I lived in when I first moved to Nashville. Entire neighborhoods are underwater. Our friend Gary and Robin’s house managed to escape with about a foot of water, but the rest of their cul-de-sac was submerged. Cars were floating upside down on the road in front of the nearby Belle Meade Kroger. Two people died when their car turned over. Two others drowned behind the Belle Meade Kroger. Head northeast about 40 minutes to Hermitage and you’d get to my friend Denise’s house. The water level is at the top of her garage — she needs a boat just to reach her house. Head north another 30-40 minutes to Goodlettsville and Hendersonville and you’ll find the houses of some of my students and faculty at the college where I teach that were destroyed due to the flood.

Somewhere in the center of all this is downtown Nashville. The Country Music Hall of Fame, the Schermerhorn Center, Broadway and Second Avenue all flooded. The Titans Stadium where my seven year old daughter, Mia, ran the Country Kids Marathon a week ago was flooded up to the level of the first row of seats in the stadium. Other historic landmarks that are synonymous with Nashville are badly flooded and damaged, including Opryland Hotel and the Grand Ole Opry. It is going to take a lot of time and resources for Nashville and all the areas affected by this catastrophic flood to recover. Here are some ways you can help:

Donate money. You can donate to the middle TN Red Cross online at http://www.middletennredcross.org. If you’re a texter, you can text REDCROSS to 90999 on your cell and a $10 donation will be sent to the middle TN Red Cross through your cell phone provider.

Donate stuff. People lost everything. While you can’t replace possessions with sentimental value, you can give someone a shirt to wear or sneakers for their kids or towels or rags so they can clean the mud out of their bathtub. If you’re on Facebook, check out the clothing drive for middle TN residents at: http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/event.php?eid=113883681985618&ref=ts or the cleaning supply drive at http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/event.php?eid=111188545589696.

Participate in clean up crews. If you live within driving distance and have the time or skills and want to help cleanup and rebuild, go to Hands-On-Nashville at http://www.hon.org. They need volunteers immediately.

Donate food. Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle TN is continuing to provide a central distribution center for companies, groups, and individuals to help provide food for Middle Tennessee’s affected families. Check it out at: http://www.secondharvestmidtn.org/

Plan to visit. Nashville is a great city that has many businesses and jobs that depend on tourism. Come see us. Plan your next family summer vacation or next year’s business conference here. Check out the Nashville Chamber of Commerce for more information at http://www.nashvillechamber.com/Homepage.aspx

Spread the word. Others may not necessarily realize how bad we were hit because of the way the media industry and news organizations work. People are going to need assistance down here for a long time in order to rebuild their lives and restore our historical landmarks like the Grand Ole Opry, Opryland Hotel, Country Music Hall of Fame and historic Second Avenue.

For more information on how you can help visit: http://nashvillest.com/2010/05/03/so-nashville-is-flooded-how-can-i-help/comment-page-2/
I love Nashville. It’s a big name city that has a small town feel. Contrary to its sequined, cowboy hat and boots image, Nashville is an incredibly diverse city where the music industry, universities, and lifestyle brings together people from all walks of life, whether they’re writing a song or watching a TN Titans or UT football game. We have one other thing in common – we love our city. If you’ve seen some of the videos and pictures that have been posted, you can probably see why we are referred to as the “Volunteer State.” When the time calls for it, we simply roll up our sleeves and get down to it because there is work to be done.

And there is much work to be done. One of my friends who works at one of the major media outlets in the New York-Metropolitan area relayed to me that Nashville hasn’t been getting a lot of national coverage because our story lacks the “hook” of some of the other currently hot issues like the oil spill and the bomb in Times Square. I get that. I’m a longtime songwriter who certainly understands the power of a “hook”. Truthfully, even if we had our “15 minutes” of full-court press media coverage, it wouldn’t begin to touch how many months or years this recovery is going to take. And it could never cover how many lives have been affected. So spread the word and pass it on. From donations to positive energy and prayers, it is all welcome and needed. This is my city and these are my friends and neighbors.

Best wishes,

– Danny Arena

Related post: 4.26.2010 — Samantha Newark Performs for Free Comic Book Day

FreedomWorks Bullies GEICO To Axe Voice Over Actor


For Immediate Release:

GEICO voice over actor targeted by Tea Party members
after expressing opinion on FreedomWorks voicemail

Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) April 21, 2010 — Los Angeles actor, D.C. Douglas, says he was dropped from the upcoming GEICO “Shocking News” campaign after a group of Tea Party members harassed him and the insurance giant over a private voicemail the actor left for FreedomWorks. Matt Kibbe, President and CEO of FreedomWorks, posted Mr. Douglas’ cell phone number in a blog post on biggovernment.com, instructing readers to “Feel free to contact (him)… call his employer too. Let them know that you…are now in the market for car insurance.” The next day, GEICO held auditions to replace Mr. Douglas’ voice on the campaign.

Mr. Douglas’ message hardly warranted the mobilization of the Tea Party Movement. Upset by the recent gay and racial slurs slung by Tea Party members at Congressman Barney Frank and Representative John Lewis during the Health Care Reform Weekend, Mr. Douglas left his opinion of FreedomWorks’ staff and followers on their company voicemail and included his phone number.

“I called as a private citizen to make a complaint,” explains Mr. Douglas. “Racism and homophobia are my Achilles heel, but unfortunately my message included inappropriate words and I am sorry for that. However, telling their members to harass my employer to get me fired is an egregiously disproportionate response to my actions.”

Mr. Douglas believes his connection to GEICO, a company already on FreedomWorks’ boycott list for pulling their ads from Glenn Beck’s show, is the main reason he was targeted so forcefully. “Even though I left the message during the week of March 23, the harassing calls didn’t hit until April 14, the morning after I posted about my GEICO campaign on my Facebook page.”

However, how the firing of a voice over actor constitutes a Tea Party success remains a mystery, as Mr. Douglas points out. “It seems to me that they’re more about the politics of destruction than they are about affecting positive change for the country.”

“I do want to make one thing clear,” Mr. Douglas adds, “I don’t blame GEICO for protecting themselves. They have a business to run and can’t waste time getting caught up in FreedomWorks’ circus. And they’ve been very good to me in the past.”

Mr. Douglas consulted with several Los Angeles attorneys and has been advised that FreedomWorks’ actions were questionable. Though he’s not planning on spending money to sue the organization, he’s open to any attorneys taking on this case pro bono. “We can’t let these kinds of tactics become the norm in our country. If we do, then anybody can lose their job just for voicing an opinion.” And Mr. Douglas won’t be silenced; he has posted his personal take on the events on his blog: www.DCDouglasBlog.com.

Actor Rip Torn Arrested


NBC Connecticut reports:

Actor Elmore “Rip” Torn…was arrested Friday evening after drunkenly breaking into a Connecticut bank while carrying a loaded revolver, according to a statement from police.

Torn was charged with burglary in the 1st degree, criminal mischief in the 3rd degree, carrying a firearm while intoxicated, trespassing in the 1st degree and possession of a firearm without a permit, and is being held on a $100,000 bond.

Torn has voiced characters in the animated feature films Bee Movie, Hercules and the upcoming Imagi Animation Studios’ Cat Tale.

Source: Breaking News via Twitter

CBS Stingy with ‘Jack Benny Program’ Masters


The character Jack Benny portrayed on his classic TV program and long-running radio show was a lovable miser — an infamous cheapskate whose extreme frugality was a running gag on the series.

Who would ever have imagined that a half-century later CBS would reflect Benny’s TV persona by refusing to release masters of his classic program for the very same reason: they’re too danged cheap.

And that’s precisely what The New York Post is reporting:

CBS has shelved about 25 recently unearthed episodes of “The Jack Benny [Program]” — because it doesn’t want the hassle of paying for licensing, etc.

The International Jack Benny Fan Club, with the blessing of the Benny estate, approached CBS and offered to pay for the digital transfer and preservation of the rare episodes.

But, according to fan club president Laura Leff, CBS refused to let the episodes out of their vault — with a CBS exec citing unspecified “issues” thought to be potential musical copyrights, etc. and the costs associated with these elements.

Leff says she believes the roughly 25 “Benny Show” tapes are in the public domain, since they’re over 28 years old and weren’t copyrighted. “We just want [CBS] to realize they shouldn’t be locking away our cultural heritage,” Leff said.

The Jack Benny Program
aired between 1950-65, and the popular weekly radio show that it spun off from was on the air for nearly 20 years prior to that. Both the radio show and TV program featured a number of guest stars from radio and film, including actors who’ve voiced characters in animation such as Frank Nelson, Bea Benaderet, Barry Gordon, Alan Soule, legendary ventriloquist Edgar Bergen and the late cartoon voice acting legend Mel Blanc.

I’ve been a member of the International Jack Benny Fan Club for more than a decade, and I fully support the IJBFC and the Benny estate in their efforts to procure and preserve the heritage of a television classic like The Jack Benny Program.

For those on Facebook, you can show your support by joining the group “Tell Les Moonves to preserve The Jack Benny Program Masters”.

This story has garnered additional support through other media sources:

– BoingBoing.net: CBS uncovers rare Jack Benny treasures, puts them back and tosses away the key
– TheModerateVoice.com: Killing Comedic Heritage? CBS Reportedly Seals Some Classic Jack Benny Show Comedy Masters

Further details and updates are available via JackBenny.org.

Mandy Moore to Voice Rapunzel for Disney CGI Feature Film


Reuters reports that Mandy Moore has been cast as the voice of Rapunzel for Disney’s “Digital 3D-animated musical action-adventure” currently scheduled for a Holiday 2010 release.

Zachary Levi (star of the sitcom Chuck) was also announced as providing the voice of a “dashing bandit who finds himself on the road with the rebellious teen ‘hair apparent.'”

(This corrects previous reports that these two characters would be voiced by stage stars Kristin Chenoweth and Dan Fogler.)

Rapunzel will be directed by Byron Howard (co-director of Bolt) and Nathan Greno (Bolt writer and story artist) with music by Alan Menken who scored such Disney animated features as Beauty & The Beast, Hercules, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Pocohantas, and Enchanted.

In related news, Walt Disney Home Studios Entertainment has announced (via Video Business) that it is “expanding its high-end Blu-Ray Disc line, the Diamond Collection,” to include several of their animated classics: The Lion King, Bambi, Cinderella, The Little Mermaid, Peter Pan, Lady and the Tramp, The Jungle Book, 101 Dalmatians, Pinocchio, Fantasia, and Beauty and the Beast.

Disney will release two Diamond Collection titles each year, beginning on 10.06.2009 with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Fantasia and Beauty and the Beast are scheduled for release in 2010.

Video Business adds that “each title will be packed with fresh bonus features and will be available for a limited time at retail.” One of the features to be included on Snow White will be a ‘Backstage Disney’ featurette, exploring Hyperion Studios where the film was produced in 1937.

[Source: Toon Zone]

And The New Voice of Mickey Mouse Is…


The article first published here September 11, 2009 has been updated as new information has become available, and the article follows otherwise as it was originally posted. Please scroll down to read the most recent updates and additions.

Toon Zone is reporting that Hallmark Illustrator Bret Iwan has been allegedly identified as the new voice of Mickey Mouse, replacing the late Wayne Allwine who passed away of complications from diabetes on May 18th, 2009.

The news comes by way of Disney fan site LaughingPlace.com, which reported that the show program for Feld Entertainment’s production of Disney On Ice: Celebrations included a note that the show was produced “in memory of Wayne Allwine” and credited the show’s voice talents:

Among the voice artists listed is Bret Iwan who according to the Chapman Recording and Broadcasting website competed nationally to become the new voice of Mickey Mouse. His first sessions with Chapman Recording was a voice used in a learning toy and then a series of prompts for the Disney cruise Line.

I must point out that the show program does not specifically credit Bret Iwan as the voice of Mickey Mouse — it’s merely a list of the voice talents involved in the show. Furthermore, since LaughingPlace.com reported this on 9.05.2009, ChapmanRecording.com has removed mention of this from their website.

My own attempts to contact Feld Entertainment have not immediately been returned. I also contacted Chapman Recording and spoke with Neil Simpson who stated that the mention of Bret Iwan on their website was removed and had no comment as to the reason for doing so. He also could not confirm that Bret Iwan had indeed recorded any Mickey Mouse dialog for Disney at their studio.

However, I’ve located two artist blogs for Bret Iwan Illustration and Art Bungalow, both of which are maintained by a Bret Iwan.

Art Bungalow includes three renderings of Mickey Mouse published between April and August 2009, and an August 5th post mentions that the illustrator is moving to Los Angeles:

The house is on the market, I’ve told all of my management at Hallmark, and now I’m left waiting for my next move. I know I am moving to LA, and I know that it will be in the next 8 weeks, but where, and how are still to be answered. If only I had a higher vantage point and could see what was in store a little further down the road…maybe then I wouldn’t try to hard to take control. I think at this point, I’ve just about exhausted every contact, website, email, and phone number that I can get my hands on, which could lead to a potential job. For now, I’m working on being patient, and letting it all work out.

In an April 20th post, the blogger published photos from a trip to LA which included a visit to the Disney Character Voices recording studio.

And if Bret is genuinely the new voice for Mickey, this 12.04.2007 blog post from Hallmark’s “World of Kaleidoscope” will have significance in animation history — at this 2007 event, Bret sketched Mickey Mouse and imitated his voice for an audience of children visiting Hallmark’s studio (report includes photos).

Also, here’s a video of an August 2009 performance of Disney on Ice: Celebrations! — fast forward to around the 5:30 mark and you’ll hear a performance of Mickey Mouse which was recorded specifically for the show:

I will continue to follow this story and will provide updates as they become available.

UPDATE: 11.19.2009, 3:10 PM
ChapmanRecording.com has updated their site since my earlier post and the mention of Bret recording at their studio has been reinstated with a photo of Bret and the following caption:

Kansas City VO Talent Bret Iwan has been in recording tracks for Disney. Bret’s speciality is Mickey Mouse. The sessions were engineered by our own Evan Clark in Studio B. Listen for more of Bret’s work for Disney in the future.

On September 16th, I was contacted by a source close to Bret Iwan (who asked to remain anonymous) who verified that Bret is indeed the new voice of Mickey Mouse, and confirmed that it is Bret’s voice as Mickey for the Disney On Ice: Celebrations touring show. And surprisingly, Bret has actually been recording since before Wayne Allwine’s passing.

I was also informed that there is no truth to the rumor that there was a “national competition” to audition for the voice of Mickey. Bret has contacts he has known for a long while who work for Disney, and he was personally invited to audition.

My source adds that Bret considers this role an honor, and that he’s had a lifelong love of Disney and especially for Walt.

Recent updates on Bret’s personal blog, Art Bungalow, show photos from his move to Calfornia (11.07), a visit to the Disney Studio Lot (10.16), and a trip to the inaugural D23 Expo event Disney hosted in September (10.05).

Of the D23 event, Bret says:

Back in the beginning of September, my friends and I were able to attend the opening day of the first ever D23 Expo. I had no clue what to expect, but I was really looking forward to the Disney Legends Ceremony where Tony Anselmo and Bill Farmer were inducted. The whole event ended up being so much more that I thought, with an awesome exhibit from Disney Parks and Resorts, a very moving opening ceremony, and a ton of other exhibits. I was also able to reconnect with my friend from college, and official D23 artist, Tim Rogerson. Tim was responsible for the amazing Mickey Mouse artwork featured all over the expo. You can check out his website at www.tdrogerson.com.

Bret also has an official fan page on Facebook.

And in a related Nov. 5th article on Kombo.com (via Variety), Warren Spector, who is developing with Disney the highly-anticipated Epic Mickey video game, states that in the game you won’t hear Mickey speak:

Don’t misunderstand: There’s dialogue, but it appears as text bubbles – not audibly. And that’s a very deliberate move.

“I made the creative decision that characters wouldn’t talk in the Cartoon Wasteland,” says Spector. “It was entirely a creative decision because [he begins speaking in a high-pitched Mickey voice] as soon as I start doing this, I’ve lost most of my potential audience. [resumes natural voice] If I’m trying to re-introduce this character to an audience, there are certain connotations with that voice that I’m going to have a hard time overcoming. ”

While full voice is certainly possible on the Wii hardware, Spector says those system resources will be used for other game elements.

UPDATE: 12.11.2009, 12:05 AM

Also on Nov. 5th, DisFanReview.com states that “a source close to the game production has revealed” to the site that Bret Iwan and Russi Taylor began recording the respective voices of Mickey and Minnie Mouse for the video game Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep on Nov. 4th.

[Thanks to disneyboy20022 for posting this update to the forum at UltimateDisney.com.]

UPDATE: 12.20.2009

While there still is no official announcement from Disney, we at least now have confirmation directly from Bret Iwan that he is recording dialog for Disney-related projects.

From a Dec. 15th post on Bret’s blog, Art Bungalow:

Today I finally got the keys to my new apartment. It’s time to pull the boxes out of storage and set up shop. I’m starting to feel like I’ve settled in, and I’ve had a month full of recordings. Next week I’ll have my first session for the Kingdom Hearts game series. I’m looking forward to the chance to try out some new material.

Note: The timeframe Bret mentions on his blog contradicts the earlier report by DisFanReview.com that Bret had begun recording sessions for the Kingdom Hearts game in early November 2009.

UPDATE: 1.04.2009

I believe we finally have direct confirmation from Bret that he is now the voice of Mickey Mouse.

From a Dec. 30th post on his blog, Art Bungalow — although he doesn’t say it directly, this image Bret drew says it all.

Note the microphone and the strategic placement of the Mickey hat with Bret’s name embroidered on it.

I believe that’s as close to an actual acknowledgment or confirmation we’ll get from Disney or Bret, short of some future Disney live event he is involved with.

Following the image, Bret says:

I’m not usually one to reflect on the past year, but since 2009 has been one of the most significant years thus far in my life, I think I’ll give it a shot.

Last December 31st, as I rang in the New Year at Disneyland, I had no idea what lay ahead. After 5 years at Hallmark Cards, in Kansas City…I made the decision to leave the company and pursue the opportunity of a lifetime. Sometimes I find myself wishing I could take the credit, but in this case, there is no denying that God was the one with the plan. All I had to do was listen, and follow along when I received an email that changed my course. It didn’t take long to see that what was in store was definitely worth it. I left Kansas City with tears in my eyes as I said “see ya real soon” to the family of friends that gave me so much love and support ( more than they probably realize ).

My new career has given me the chance to meet some amazing people, and be a part of the magic that I have admired from a far for so long. It is truly and honor, and I will be the first to tell you…a huge responsibility.

UPDATE: 1.06.2009

Voice Chasers reports:

At the Mickey Mouse – Have a Laugh section of [Disney.com], users may have the chance to hear examples of Bret Iwan’s vocal characterization of Mickey.

Disney has created “Short Versions” of two of their classic shorts, Mickey and the Seal and Lonesome Ghosts, which sound like they’ve been dubbed over by the current cast, including Iwan.

Click here and then scroll down to view the redubbed shorts. For comparison, scroll yet further down to view the full versions of the unedited shorts Mickey and the Seal (1948) and Lonesome Ghosts (1937) with original performances by James MacDonald (Mickey, 1948), Pinto Colvig (Pluto, Goofy), Clarence Nash (Donald), Walt Disney (Mickey, 1937) and Billy Bletcher.

Update: 1.19.2010 — In a Jan. 16th post on his blog, Art Bungalow, Bret posts another “Mickey and Me” type photo and adds that he had an opportunity to be “on the set of [his] favorite show Brothers and Sisters,” and ended up scoring a background role in a scene, which he says was “another wild dream come true.”

According to Wikipedia, Season 4 of Brothers and Sisters is scheduled for a production run of 24 episodes, and episode 13 aired 1.17.2010. So I think it’s likely we may see Bret’s first-ever TV appearance on the show this season…if he makes the director’s cut, that is.

Update: 1.28.2010 — Thomas Smith, Social Media Director for Disney Parks, posted the following announcement Jan. 27th on the official Disney Parks blog:

Just a quick note to let you know about a new service at Walt Disney World Resort hotels – special voicemail greetings from Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse.

There are three different messages…and it’s hard not to smile when you get one. The specific message you’ll receive depends on your celebration.

Click here to hear the audio clips.

In the comments following the post, there is fan speculation that the first two clips were recorded by the late Wayne Allwine and that the third one is performed by Bret Iwan.

[Thanks to blackcauldron85 for posting this update to the forum at UltimateDisney.com.]

Additional sources: Wikipedia, IMDb, Disney Echo, Bullfrog117.com, Kombo.com.

A special thanks to “Ishtar” for sharing the results of his own research on the Toon Zone fourms.

SAG Closing on Video Game VO Deal


Variety reports:

In a sign it may be moving toward a videogames deal, the Screen Actors Guild has scheduled….Sept. 8 [member] caucuses in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco.

If the vidgame deal is concluded, it will be the sixth SAG contract that’s been wrapped up since April — including commercials, feature-primetime, TV animation, basic cable animation and basic cable live-action, the last of which was ratified Wednesday with 93.7% support.

The SAG contract covers performers for such publishing giants as Electronic Arts and about 70 other gaming companies. The SAG and AFTRA deals in 2005 gave members a 36% increase in the base rate of $556.20 per session for vidgame voiceover work.

Related post: 8.19.2009 — SAG VAs Deal With AMPTP

Lexus Has A New Luxury Voice


Maurice LaMarche (Futurama, Pinky & The Brain) announced via Facebook on August 19th that he is officially the new image voice for Lexus. Moe says the new ads should begin airing in early September.

My congrats to Moe on his success. It couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.

As I’ve mentioned here previously, I’m working on relocating photos from my old defunct Geocities page before Yahoo permanently drops Geocities in October. Here’s one such photo of me with Moe at the 2000 San Diego Comic-Con:

My first time meeting Maurice LaMarche at the 2000 San Diego Comic-Con.

My first time meeting Maurice LaMarche at the 2000 San Diego Comic-Con.