Thursday, June 19, 2014

Blabber Mouse Blabs

Everyone interested in this blog, I trust, recognises who this is.



Yes, it’s Blabber Mouse, specifically from his first appearance in “Puss N’ Booty” (1959). But perhaps you don’t know who this is.



It is the voice of Blabber Mouse. And, no, it’s not Daws Butler.

This is a photo of Elliot Field, who was a disc jockey at KFWB radio in Los Angeles from 1958 to 1963. Elliot lent his voice to Blabber and other characters in the first four Snooper and Blabber cartoons (including “Puss N’ Booty”) and can be heard in the first Quick Draw McGraw cartoon as the narrator and Grumbleweed.

Joe Barbera was looking for new voices when the Hanna-Barbera studio was about to launch its second half hour show in syndication for Kellogg’s, the great Quick Draw McGraw Show. Perhaps it was because Don Messick was working on the wretched “Spunky and Tadpole” cartoons and the studio needed new people. Whatever the reason, Mr. Field, Hal Smith, Peter Leeds and Vance Colvig appeared on the Quick Draw show early in the season. Smith stayed, the rest disappeared. Colvig returned a couple of years later to play Chopper in the Yakky Doodle cartoons. Elliot returned as well to lend his voice on “The Flintstones,” most famously as Alvin Brickrock, a parody of Alfred Hitchcock. He had done the same spoofing voice of Hitchcock on his radio show.

Elliot went into radio in the Golden Days of the 1940s, first on CBS as a teenaged performer in Boston, then as a disc jockey in the hyper days of Top 40 radio, and finally in management. Soon after arriving in Los Angeles, he decided to look for outside work (today, that means lucrative commercial voice-overs) and acquired as his agent Miles Auer, who also represented Daws Butler, Don Messick and a pile of cartoon people. Unfortunately, because of the sorry state of the Hanna-Barbera library, almost all of Elliot’s screen credits for the studio were stripped from the films years ago and replaced with gang credits without his name.

Elliot is now 87 years old and, to the great fortune of everyone, has written his autobiography. The only thing wrong with it is it’s all too brief. It features succinct, crystal-clear memories of his youth, when he contracted polio, his career as a rock jock in the pre-Beatles era and his time in cartoons. It’s available for a teeny price on Amazon.com. Check it out here.

I make no money from this plug and mention it solely because I have a soft spot for cartoon voice actors and veteran radio people. One thing Elliot doesn’t mention is why he only appeared on five cartoons in the Quick Draw show. We’ll give you the answer. He had an operation in 1959 and was subsequently unavailable. I suspect at that point Joe Barbera handed the role of Blab to Daws, much like Red Coffey was apparently too busy touring to continuing voicing an insufferable duck when it was given its own show and the great Jimmy Weldon was hired. Timing is about as important as talent in landing work.

There are so few of the pre-1960 Hanna-Barbera cartoon voices around—Doug Young was still living in the Seattle area last I heard—so it’s great to see Elliot put his memories on paper. I hope the e-book is a success.

4 comments:

  1. So Elliott did the " Hitchcock " voice in the Flintstones. Thanks for the info. I never knew. As far as I know, the last three actors you mentioned are still with us. Elliott, Young, and Weldon. I too, have a soft spot in my heart for cartoon actors and veteran radio people. Great blog.

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  2. Anyone have any information on Julie Bennett?

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  3. I, too, hope that Mr Field's ebook succeeds.

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  4. Doz, I, too, hope for the best for Mr.Field's book,,,,Errol, Mr.,Field was on three "Flintstones"-besides the Hitchock one (Season 2) that you cite-Season 4's "Flintstone and the Lion" & Season 5's "Superstone". Anonymous, I only wish the same about Julie Bennett..SteveC

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