THE MAGIC BEHIND THE VOICES: A Who's Who of Cartoon Voice Actors

Tim Lawson, Author, Alisa Persons, Author . Univ. Press of Mississippi $60 (367p) ISBN 978-1-57806-695-7 ISBN 978-1-57806-696-4

Perhaps not surprisingly, cartoon voice actors are overshadowed by their visual embodiments. This book is an earnest attempt to bring the profession more respect by profiling 40 of the biggest names in the business. Lawson and Persons, a freelance writer and animator, respectively, are ever-sunny in their approach; they don't editorialize or provide an in-depth history of the trade. Rather, they simply illuminate an often-ignored corner of show business. Some of the industry's giants—Daws Butler (Yogi Bear, Huckleberry Hound); Mel Blanc (Bugs Bunny, Barney Rubble)—get their due, but the more intriguing profiles are those of lesser-known performers. The authors unearth Paul Frees, the flamboyant, eccentric, practical-joking voice for many Rocky and Bullwinkle characters, who routinely wore firearms to the studio. They introduce one-note actors, too, like Nicole (Jaffe) David, creator of Velma on Scooby Doo , who left the show in 1974 and is now John Travolta's agent. The book isn't just concerned with the past, though; there are profiles of Mike Judge (King of the Hill ), Dan Castellaneta (The Simpsons ) and John Kricfalusi (Ren and Stimpy ). Though not always scintillating, this gold mine of information for animation fans will serve as a solid reference work on the field. (Dec.)

Reviewed on: 10/25/2004
Release date: 12/01/2004
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 367 pages - 978-1-57806-696-4
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