Friday, November 18, 2011

Elliot Field, Is That You?

Thanks to likely-no-longer-existing credits, there are still a few mysteries about who lent their voices to some of the early Hanna-Barbera cartoons.

Mark Evanier and the late Earl Kress thought they solved one awhile ago. It’s evident that Daws Butler is not voicing Blabber Mouse in the first four Snooper and Blabber cartoons put into production. They came to the conclusion the actor was Jerry Hausner, a long-time professional baby-cryer on radio and one of the members of the voice stable at UPA. We documented it here.

Some time after the post, author Tim Hollis sent me a note and a DVD. He knew Jerry Hausner quite well and said, to his ear, it wasn’t Hausner at all. Furthermore, his DVD interview included Hausner talking about his unpleasant experience at Hanna-Barbera and didn’t mention anything about Blabber or any cartoons from the 1950s.

So, I put all this aside and didn’t think anything of it until the other day when I was doing some research and put on the season five Flintstones episode Super Stone. And then I heard a voice that sounded awfully familiar.

Compare the narrator in the first part of this to the newscaster in the second part. Doesn’t it sound like the same guy?










The newscaster is Elliot Field. The narrator is from the Quick Draw McGraw cartoon Scary Prairie. The same narrator is heard intoning at the start of the Snooper and Blabber cartoon Desperate Diamond Dimwits which features the non-Daws version of Blabber.

Hanna-Barbera was, well, cheap. Rarely did they hire more than two voice actors for a short in the ‘50s unless they needed a woman or a specialty voice. So would they hire Daws Butler, Elliot Field and Jerry Hausner for a Snooper cartoon? You’d think not. So is the early Blab really the voice of Elliot Field and not Hausner?

Let’s compare again. Here’s the early Blabber compared with two Elliot Field clips from Flintstone and the Lion. The sound quality is different and so is the acting, but the clip of Blab is the longest I could find to make a comparison.



















What about Hausner? Let’s try again. Here’s the early Blab with Hausner from the UPA cartoon Pete Hothead (1954).










You can see how Field and Hausner could act in the same general vocal range, which makes discerning one from another fairly tough.

I’ve had better luck at unravelling who Elliot Field was. Better make that “is” because Elliot is still with us and enjoying life in Cathedral City, California.

Field was a disc jockey, making his career in that period when the Golden Days of Network Radio really were days. All the old night-time shows were gone and networks retreated into the daytime hours, mostly running soap operas or news. It was the start of the glorious and all-too brief period for creative rock and roll jocks, who combined character voices and comic routines with the latest hits, punctuated by easily remembered jingles. We picked up young Elliot Field’s career in May 1957. He had made himself a name in San Antonio in a short period of time after arriving from Manhattan and had just been transferred by the station’s owner—the one-of-a-kind Gordon McLendon—to a station in Houston. The following January 6th, he arrived in Los Angeles and debuted at KFWB, replacing Bill Ballance in the afternoon drive slot. He was one of the legendary “Good Guys”, a concept ripped off by stations all over North America. Field and the guys did the unusual in 1961—they went on strike. Even if you never lived anywhere near L.A., you’ll know the name of one of the other striking announcers. A chap named Gary Owens.

Field left Los Angeles for WJR Detroit in 1964 and we next find him seven years later as the general manager of a station in Palm Springs. Field settled into the community. He was elected to City Council and was mayor pro-tem for three terms starting in 1981. He set up an ad agency bearing his name which exists to this day.

His acting career? Field made his dramatic debut in the anthology series Accused in April 1959. That’s all I’ve been able to find about his turn as an actor, other than several internet sites which say he appeared on three Flintstones episodes. We’ve mentioned two; in the other he provided the Hitchcock-like voice of Alvin Brickrock in the show’s first season (for which the original titles are apparently lost).

But is that Elliot Field in those early Quick Draw and Snooper cartoons in 1959? And as the voice of Blabber? It would seem the answer to at least one of those questions is “yes.” Elliot, if you’re out there, drop me a note. At least one old cartoon dog (and ex disc jockey) would like to know if it’s you. And a bunch of readers, too, I’ll bet. Be a “Good Guy” one more time.


A Yowp post-script: since this note went up, Elliot has e-mailed me. We haven’t discussed many specifics but he has acknowledged his work on five cartoons on the Quick Draw McGraw show.

11 comments:

  1. Excellent article here Yowp. I listened to those clips this morning. Since Elliott Field and Don Messick were the two selections for BOTH 1963's "Flintstone and the Lion" AND 1965-66's "Superstone", the end credits can make the two end title seem self same, if one only looks at the end credits, and if it HADN'T been for the two different seasons, as the Flintstone credits were done in smaller fonts [like the similiar transition in the 1953-55 WB cartoon credit lettering]. The other Elliot Field one was Alvin Brickrock as you noted, which would, with its early 60s "Screen Gems Chinese Fonts" [following the Dom Casual ones of the 50s], would NEVER be mistaken for the end credit sequence of either "Flintstone and the Lion" OR "Superstone". BTW Allan Melvin did the uncredited voice for the judge in "Superstone", using his natural voice [Brady Bunch fans know that as him being "Sam the Butcher".]

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  2. I spoke with Elliot today (he is my brother-in-law) and he said he did some Snooper and Blabber Mouse episodes with Daws. He said it was a long time ago and he didn't remember all the specifics. Also, I asked him about Accused and he said it was called Day in Court back then. As far as other TV work, I remember he did some Hawaii 5-0 work and he also did voices for some Disney movie or movies. I told him I would find out your name for him. He is too humble to google
    Himself

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  3. Hi, Napa. I plan to send Elliot a letter (if his home address on the internet is correct) after the holidays to ask him about his work in cartoons.
    He had a fine career at KPMC, as you know, and while I'm personally and professionally interested, it's out of the realm of this blog.

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  4. Address is correct. I am sure he'd love to answer some queries. I'll let him know to expect something .

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  5. Interesting info that certainly brings back memories. I had the privilege of working for Mr. Field as a house & garage cleaner when he lived in Palm Springs in 2001. I grew up listening to all of the original "top 40" tunes smiths, so it was a great treat for me to be able to talk & work with him. Sincerely, Garry Jones

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  6. One Cool D.j. i had the privilege of doing House & garage cleaning for him in palm Springs in 2001.

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  7. I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Fields back in 2007 when i was in middle school ...He's really nice. I Remember him telling me he did the voice of Alvin Brickrock and Quick Draw McGraw...He even gave me an autograph signing it Alvin Brickrock and Elliot Fields.

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  8. Elliot was my boss at KPSI in Palm Springs; I have fond memories of him. I was told that he had done cartoon voices and we even had a few "wild tags" that he recorded in cartoon voices that we could run once in a while after a commercial. I enjoyed working there.

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  9. I only know Elliott from his KFWB LA days, 1957-64, the most informative and fun years of my childhood. I remember him well then as a soft-spoken dj with a lot of dry humor to him, unique in those days as a voice of intelligence on rock n roll radio, which KFWB seemed to specialize in. Wonderful days for me. His smart voice was a very comfortable thread weaving through it. So pleased he is alive and i hope well.

    What's funny is his tenure in Palm Springs. I lived there briefly for a couple years in the late 60s-early 70s and until today had no idea he was GM of KPSI, which i never paid attentiion to, PS at the time being very much an old fogey's town and almost anti-rock n roll.

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  10. Thanks to y'all for the treasured memories. I'm slowly working on a memoir which I hope will
    Answer all questions. Re: your comments, most appreciated & remembered names to Go along.
    Now last of the swingin 7, ef.

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  11. I remember Elliot as one of the "7 Swinging Gentlemen" on KFWB. He was also the uncle of a friend of mine and when he was in the area he'd stop in front of our house and enjoy the view. I had the privilege of talking with him on several occasions. Definitely a gentleman! I'd like to buy a copy of his memoir when it comes out.

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