Part of the problem is a lot of people didn’t care about cartoons. Interviewers dismissed them as unworthy of their time. Well, some didn’t. Mike Barrier recorded many conversations with some of the lesser-known people in classic animation, people like Mike Maltese and Dick Bickenbach who played huge roles in the early Hanna-Barbera cartoons. Eventually, I hope, Mr. Barrier will get around to transcribing them and posting them on his site. But there’s no financial gain for him to do it, so we’ll have to wait until he gets the time and inclination for it to happen.
Someone else who did a couple of interviews, once upon a time, was an aspiring voice actor named Joe Bevilacqua. As a young man, Joe learned to use his voice from a master, Daws Butler. And he’s been using it ever since.
When we last left Joe on this blog, he was hosting a programme called ‘Cartoon Carnival’ on Shokus Internet Radio. It was a fairly eclectic, and somewhat freeform, mix of soundtracks of old cartoons, Joe’s voice work, interview snippets and other bits of audio Joe accumulated over the years.
Shokus has morphed from a streaming radio station into a two-hour live interview show on the web (with a next-to-no-cost archive of old chats).
Joe, meanwhile, succumbed to the workload of assembling and editing a weekly show, but he’s still busy on the internet and has a couple of projects that may be of interest. One to fans of The Flintstones. Alan Reed, the voice of Fred, is no longer with us, but Joe’s done his damndest to bring him back in a five-hour, six minute audio book called “Yabba Dabba Doo!: The Alan Reed Story.” From Joe’s site is gleaned this summary:
Narrated by Alan Reed Jr., Alan Reed Sr., Joe Bevilacqua, Joe Barbera, Tony Reed, Bill Marx.Fans of old radio shows should be delighted to hear that contained within the mound of audio (if audio came in mounds) is Bill Marx narrating letters Fred Allen wrote to Reed. People may not realise Alan’s Falstaff Openshaw character was an early resident of Allen’s famous Alley; Allen used the Falstaff character to comment on political and social affairs through rhyming verse. Allen gave ownership of Falstaff to Reed when he left the show. The Openshaw voice was the one Reed used for ‘Frederick’ Flintstone in “The Split Personality” (1960).
The autobiography of the voice of Fred Flintstone is brought to
life by veteran radio-theater producer Joe Bevilacqua and Alan Reed Jr. This is
an enhanced unabridged audiobook of the print book features rare interviews with Alan Reed himself, an interview with Joe Barbera, commentary by Joe Bevilacqua, and clips from Reed's radio, TV, and film career, including The Fred Allen Show, The Shadow, The Life of Riley, Life with Luigi, Duffy’s Tavern, The Postman Always Rings Twice, Viva Zapata, Breakfast at Tiffany's, and The Flintstones.
“What’s the URL?” you’re asking. Patience, dear reader.
Joe has also combed through those mounds of audio (if I may mix metaphors) to come up with Volume One of “The Best of Cartoon Carnival.” This features Joe’s personal interviews, some of whom are no longer around to talk today: Joe Barbera, Leonard Maltin, Bob Clampett, Stan Freberg, Daws Butler, Mel Blanc, Bill Marx, June Foray, Bill Scott, Hoyt Curtin, and Craig Marin. The almost three-hour compilation show also features narration from Doug Young (Doggie Daddy) and Janet Waldo (Judy Jetson), both happily still with us today.
Give ‘em the URL? Quiet, Joe. This is my blog.
Anyway, just a sampling of the other things Joe has put together.
► “Daws Butler Teaches You Dialects. Lessons from the Voice of Yogi Bear!”
Can you possibly learn from anyone better?
► “Rare Daws Butler: Comedy from the Voice of Yogi Bear!”
Where to start? Mr. Jinks reciting ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb’ in his own, like, you know, cooool hipster fashion? How about Daws teaching you how to get Bert Lahr upset (ie. voicing Snagglepuss)? There’s a lot packed into under an hour of audio.
As you can see, this is stuff by the wonderful Mr. Butler that you won’t find in the Neiman-Marcus catalogue, no matter how hard you look. It’s only on Joe’s site, lovingly crafted by Joe himself. And, without wishing to make this sound like an advertisement, I’ll bet it costs less than anything in the Neiman-Marcus catalogue. And is a lot more fun.
Oh, yes, that URL. Joe’s web site is HERE. And he has a blog as well.
Alan Reed’s gone and Daws Butler is gone. But, thanks to old cartoons and radio shows, and one Joe Bev, they really are still here.