The Proof That Mel Blanc–the Voice Behind Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck & Porky Pig–Was a Genius

Bugs Bun­ny is a tal­ent­ed mim­ic.

His effort­less imper­son­ations of the celebri­ties of his day are not always politic (see Al Jol­son) but  there’s no deny­ing that his impres­sions of Lib­er­ace, Edgar G. Robin­son, Bing Cros­by, and Hol­ly­wood Bowl con­duc­tor Leopold Stokows­ki intro­duced these per­son­ages to sub­se­quent gen­er­a­tions.

Clear­ly he was not work­ing alone. In the 1981 inter­view with David Let­ter­man below, Mel Blanc, who voiced Bugs, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Foghorn Leghorn and many oth­er ani­mat­ed favorites demon­strat­ed his ver­sa­til­i­ty.

Blanc shaped the char­ac­ters from the get go, invent­ing voic­es for char­ac­ter sketch­es and sto­ry­boards, though it was clear to him that tough nut Bugs should have an equal­ly tough  accent — either Brook­lyn or the Bronx. (Rather than split hairs, he invent­ed a hybrid.)

Hank Azaria, who is as cen­tral to The Simp­sons’ mythol­o­gy as Blanc is to Warn­er Broth­ers, mar­vels (up top) at Blanc’s abil­i­ty to mim­ic one char­ac­ter imi­tat­ing anoth­er, as Bugs and Daffy Duck do above.

Region­al­ism steered many of Blanc’s most mem­o­rable cre­ations, from Foghorn Leghon’s Texas drawl to French lover­boy, Pepe Le Pew.

Nice Mau­rice Cheva­lier, Bugs…

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The Strange Day When Bugs Bun­ny Saved the Life of Mel Blanc

A Look Inside Mel Blanc’s Throat as He Per­forms the Voic­es of Bugs Bun­ny and Oth­er Car­toon Leg­ends

Kill the Wab­bit!: How the 1957 Bugs Bun­ny Car­toon, “What’s Opera, Doc?,” Inspired Today’s Opera Singers to First Get Into Opera

Ayun Hal­l­i­day is an author, illus­tra­tor, the­ater mak­er and Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine.  Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

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