Wednesday, March 1, 2017

'Superfun' Demo Reel (1967) | Starring Mel Blanc, with Bob Crane

After spending many years as a radio personality, Bob Crane became known for his ability to impersonate voices, and KNX christened him their "Man of a Thousand Voices." Whether it was a race car driver, his radio engineer (who sounded a lot like Disney's Ludwig Von Drake), a sentimental and romantic Russian, former President Lyndon B. Johnson, all of the voices heard on the radio in The Twilight Zone episode "Static," or any number of characters, Bob proved he could impersonate anyone.

One interesting bit of trivia discovered while researching Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography concerned his German accent on Hogan's Heroes. To put it bluntly, it's horrible! I had often wondered, as did my coauthors, if Bob had been such a talented voice impersonator during his radio days, why did he seem to have such difficulty with a German accent on Hogan's Heroes

According to Hogan's Heroes directors, Bob didn't have difficulty with it at all. In fact, he was directed to do the accent poorly because the show's producers thought it would make the episode funnier. Just as an accomplished musician might be instructed to play the instrument badly (fans will recall that musician Werner Klemperer performed the violin terribly in a few episodes of Hogan's Heroes), Bob was told to do it wrong. So he did.

There's no question that master voice impersonator—and the official Man of a Thousand Voices—Mel Blanc respected Bob's work in radio and as a voice artist. Mel was a guest on Bob's KNX radio program, and in one instance, he—as Porky Pig—introduced Bob. And as short as this clip is, I have to say, I just love it.


But he didn't stop there. Mel Blanc hired Bob to help him with a new project—Superfun.

Superfun was an "audio cartoon service" for radio stations. Starring and produced by Mel Blanc, its goal was to provide humor to listeners in the same way that comic strips provided humor to newspaper readers. This demo reel, recorded in 1967, also stars Bob Crane as the salesman who promotes Superfun to the fictitious radio station WIMP.



Superfun was well-received by radio stations and listeners across the country when it started airing during the late 1960s. Billboard Magazine published an article on February 11, 1967, which details Superfun, its creator, and some of the stations that played it. (Double click on the image for easier reading.)



As a kid, I loved Mel Blanc's Warner Brothers' cartoons because they always made me laugh. Later, as an adult and an artist, I grew to appreciate the artwork and the voice talent that accompanied the drawings. And Bob Crane's connection to Mel Blanc, as well as Bob's own voice talents,  are discoveries about Bob that will always bring me great joy.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for your comment and feedback! All comments are moderated and will be posted shortly upon approval.

Thank you for understanding. Have a nice day!

For more about Bob Crane, visit http://www.vote4bobcrane.org

For more about Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography, which was published on September 17, 2015, visit http://www.vote4bobcrane.org/book.html