Sunday, 5 July 2009

Another Cartoon Voice Mystery

There are instances of Hanna-Barbera voice actors whose characterisations have been lost to time; in some cases their names were replaced on ‘gang credits’ in syndication. But, on rare occasion, we run across a cartoon voice artist who is credited somewhere and are left wondering where they were heard.

The Los Angeles Times of October 23, 1959 has this short item in an entertainment section column:

The “kitten” that plagues Huckleberry Hound on TV becomes the “cat” that ha-[rest of word missing] Judy Holliday in “Bells Are Ringing” at MGM. She is Margie Liszt, who has a talent for switching voices, everything from kittens to police sirens. She will play an answering service client as well as the cat’s meow in the film.

There’s only one problem with the story: the description doesn’t quite match any Huck cartoons. Oh, there is a one featuring a kitten that plagued Huck. It’s Fireman Huck, released December 11, 1958. The difficulty is it’s fairly obvious the kitten’s voice belongs to one Don Messick.

So, we are left to wonder where the Times got its information.

Margie Liszt was an actress, musician and a great-granddaughter of composer Franz Liszt. Her first movie role was for Monogram and Margie couldn’t have been more typecast: she appeared in The Wagner-Liszt Story (yes, a film about Franz Liszt). She had a relatively short and atyptical career for the 1940s and ‘50s. She started in radio and made several appearances on Lux Radio Theatre. She was one of several actresses who briefly played Miss Duffy on Duffy’s Tavern after the departure of Shirley Booth; in fact, she and Duffy creator Ed Gardner were both from Astoria, Long Island and attended the same high school. She appeared in Vera Vague and Andy Clyde two-reelers and several of the Three Stooges shorts. And she made the rounds during early TV, showing up on I Love Lucy, December Bride, The Donna Reed Show and Rawhide amongst many places.

Liszt seems to have retired from show biz in the early 1960s. She died of cancer at age 83 on August 24, 1992.

But what about the cartoon?

It could very well be that a children’s record (by Golden or Colpix) was made of the cartoon and she was hired to lend her voice to that. Or perhaps she cut an audition track for the cartoon that Joe Barbera that was never used. Maybe the Times simply had it wrong, though that seems improbable. So, for now, Margie Liszt’s animation voice acting career will have to be surrounded in mystery.

1 comment:

  1. To finally after six years be the belated first to post an answer, I just saw on youtube a Three Stooges short, "The Tooth Will Out" (1951, so it has Shemp in case anybody confuses it with the 1943 "I Can hardly Wait" which also had dentistry), with Margie Liszt listed (no phonetic PUN intended) as one of the support (along with Vernon Dent, and uncredited, Dick Curtis and Emil Sitka.). The Stooges like HB Productions were with Columbia, so maybe Margie is heard as the kitten, but I still bet that it is Don Messick...SC