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

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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.


Jess Harnell’s Last Show at House of Blues

09.22.2010

Jess Harnell’s band Rock Sugar performed their last show as the house band at the House of Blues of Sunset Strip on Monday, Septmeber 20th.

The band and their passionate fans hope to get the contract renewed and are asking everyone to write to Malia Rummell at maliarummell(a)livenation.com showing support for the band.

This is; however, not the final concert for Rock Sugar as they have October 2010 concerts scheduled in New Mexico and future dates in development. You can find out more about the band through their official pages on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter (@rocksugarband) and ROCKSUGARBAND.COM.

Here are some recent videos featuring the band via YouTube, including two from their farewell performance at the House of Blues:

~ Ashley Trayder
Staff, Voice Actors in the News


Fans Q&A with Jess Harnell (audio)

08.26.2010

Jess Harnell fans were asked to submit questions for Jess via the Jess Harnell Fans Facebook Group and MySpace fan page. [Fan questions were selected by Voice Actors in the News staff contributor, Ashley Trayder, who is also the administrator of Jess’ fan pages on Facebook and MySpace.]

Instead of typing his replies, Jess took the time to record his answers for the fans. You can listen to the full audio through the Jess Harnell Fan Page on MySpace.

~Ashley Trayder
Voice Actors in the News Staff Contributor


Huggbees! You Must Buy Freakazoid Season 2 NOW!

04.23.2009

If I were asked to list my favorite animated comedies (a difficult task for me since it’s my favorite toon genre), Steven Speilberg Presents Freakazoid! is an easy choice for my top 5.

Served up by the best of what Warner Bros Animation had to offer at the time in terms of writing, voice acting, music, and production quality, Freakazoid! was full of zaniness and comedic absurdity and chock full of TV/movie spoofs and pop culture references. And I couldn’t get enough of it. Unfortunately, the series failed to catch on with a wider audience other than core fans of WB animated comedies, and it was canceled all too soon.

If for some reason you aren’t familiar with Freakazoid!, imagine the original Looney Tunes shorts as a superhero spoof and you’ll get the idea. And as an introduction to the show, here’s a clip from Warner Home Video’s YouTube Channel with a scene from Season 2 (“Dexter’s Date”).

And if you’re already a Freakazoid! fan and haven’t yet bought your copy of Season 2 on DVD (released on April 21st), what the freak are you waiting for?

And on that note, I must mention that unfortunately you won’t be able to find a copy at your local Wal-Mart. I tried buying it there the day of the release and was rather surprised that it wasn’t stocked. The 2nd volume of Tiny Toons Adventures (which released the same day) was there, but no sign of Freakazoid!.

I thought perhaps it was some sort of accidental oversight, so I asked an associate to do an inventory search on it, and on the screen in big, bold letters were the words “NOT IN STORES — online only.”

This is a very unfortunate loss for Warner Home Video because they’ve already pulled future titles due to poor sales of previous releases. The final season of Animaniacs being released on DVD is in jeopardy for this very reason.

So I encourage… nay, command my fellow Freakazoid fans out there to go forth and purchase this product (and the latest volume of Tiny Toons as well) — not just because it’s a great show that you’ll want to watch again and again, but because if sales don’t meet or exceed WHV’s expectations, other notable animated titles from the Time-Warner vaults may never be released.

Now, moving forward, Jim Hill Media’s Nancy Stadler has published an interview with Paul Rugg (voice of Freazazoid) to coincide with Tuesday’s DVD release.

The article is technically more of an overview of the TV series than it is an interview, but Paul does share some remembrances and insight into the show’s production:

“I have a real soft spot in my heart for Freakazoid!. We had so much freedom back then. We didn’t have to worry about any corporate interference. Our only concern was with making a really funny show. That was the only rule on Freakazoid!: ‘Is it funny?’ Because if something was funny, then it stayed in the show. The whole ethos of Freakazoid! was that this series wasn’t about the story, but – rather — about the telling. And how many silly things you could add in along the way.”

Paul is also featured on the DVD’s bonus materials, as is John P. McCann, who not only served as series writer but also provided the voice of Dexter’s dad, Douglas Douglas.

I just recently discovered Paul’s official blog — Froynlaven! — which he started in January 2009. And the night I found it in a Google search, I ended up staying awake until 4am reading his archived posts, and laughing so hard the entire time that my ribs hurt the next day. It’s quite possibly the most entertaining blog I’ve ever read.

(McCann has a great blog as well: Write Enough.)

And if you don’t do anything else today, you need to watch Paul’s video about “Confidence” — trust me, it’s that important.

And speaking of video, in recent months Paul also started a YouTube Channel [link: boxtops76] where he has been offering clips from his stint as the live-action comedic pseudo-educational host “Manny The Uncanny” on Disney’s One Saturday Morning.


Happy Birthday, Maurice LaMarche!

03.30.2009

Wishing a very happy birthday to voice actor and impressionist Maurice LaMarche, born today in 1958.

The Canadian-born actor spent his early years in entertainment as a stand-up comedian and got his “big break” in animation voice-overs as the voice of Chief Quimby on Inspector Gadget. He has since voiced many popular animated characters in The Real Ghostbusters, Tiny Toon Adventures, The Critic, Animaniacs, Pinky & The Brain, and Futurama.

If you’re a Facebook.com member, join the group “The Genius of Moe: Fans of Maurice LaMarche” to wish Maurice birthday greetings.

Previous news: Maurice LaMarche Declares 3.22.09 “International Talk Like William Shatner Day”

Also celebrating birthdays today: John Astin, Ian Zeiring, Juliet Landau, Megumi Hayashibara, Ayako Kawasumi, and Marlowe Gardiner-Heslin.


Celebrate ‘International Talk Like William Shatner Day’

03.21.2009

Originally posted March 21, 2009:

In honor of William Shatner’s birthday, voice actor and impressionist extraordinaire Maurice LaMarche (Futurama, Pinky and The Brain) has declared March 22nd, 2009 the first-ever “International Talk Like William Shatner Day.” To celebrate this event, Maurice has recorded a video tutorial explaining how to do a proper Shatner impression. Originally posted as an exclusive to Maurice’s officially-endorsed Facebook group The Genius of Moe: Fans of Maurice LaMarche, Moe has now made the video available via YouTube:

Update: 3.22.2010: Maurice has posted a video for the second annual “International Talk Like William Shatner Day,” performing with “premiere” Shatner impressionist Kevin Pollak:

[Caution: Adult language.]

You’re also invited to join the original “International Talk Like William Shatner Day” group on Facebook, for which Moe serves as a group admin.

And of course there would be no “International Talk Like William Shatner Day” without the man (or “The Shat”) himself.

And so, I’d like to wish a very happy birthday to actor William Shatner, born March 22nd, 1933, and famous the world over as Star Trek Captain James Tiberius Kirk… and also known for his trademark style of dramatic pause-acting.

In addition to his long career in film and television, Shatner has also been performing voice-overs since Star Trek: The Animated Series aired in 1973 (which also gave us Shatner’s infamous “sabotage” outtakes). He has gone on to lend his distinctive voice to many other animated projects: Futurama, Eek! The Cat, Osmosis Jones, Over The Hedge, Atomic Betty, and video games from the Star Trek franchise.

Shatner’s 1968 recording The Transformed Man is my favorite spoken-word/Shakespearean/pop music/disco album. Years ago, when I finally tracked down a copy at the now-defunct Warehouse Music, the cashier tried to prevent me from purchasing the album — informed me that it was “absolutely not for sale.” When I asked why, he said, “Because it’s the last copy we have. And if we sell it, we won’t have anything else to play to chase customers out of the store at closing time.”

And of course, here’s the obligatory link to Shatner’s official site: WilliamShatner.com.


Happy Birthday, Rob Paulsen!

03.11.2009

Wishing a very happy birthday to voice actor Rob Paulsen, known to animation fans as the voice of Pinky on Pinky and The Brain, Yakko Warner/Dr. Scratchensniff on Animaniacs!, Raphael in the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles TV series, and so many other cartoon characters that it’s difficult to keep up with them all.

Rob has recent roles as Mr. Vanderbosh on The Replacements, Carl Wheezer on Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, Peck the Rooster on Back at the Barnyard, and upcoming roles in Hoodwinked 2: Hood vs. Evil (coming to theaters in 2010) and The Haunted World of El Superbeasto (an adult animated comedy scheduled for release in 2009).

Drop by Rob’s official site — RobPaulsenFans.com — or his official Myspace page to send him a birthday note.