Meeting Mel Blanc (mini-version)

11 Jul

In one of my earliest posts I teased with a tagline that I’d do the next one on “meeting Mel Blanc”.  If I had given it proper thought, I would not have made such a promise until after I’d devoted time to actually writing the piece, and for anyone disappointed by the long wait, I apologize.

But seeing as how yesterday was the anniversary of the Great Man’s passing in 1989, it seemed only reasonable and fitting to acknowledge the genuine connection he tried to make with fans he encountered.  It’ll have to be a sample, though.  If I wait till I remember everything, we’ll be looking at another anniversary of the day.

I got to spend a couple of hours with Mel Blanc during a reception after one of his college lectures, and can attest that he really did make himself accessible to the fans.  I’m sure there wasn’t one question he hadn’t heard a million times already, but he always answered graciously.

Mel kept two different sizes of publicity photos with him for people who’d ask for an autograph.  One was envelope-sized which fit in his coat pocket, and there was an 8 x 10 version he carried in his briefcase.  They were “padded”, like a memo pad, so he could sign one, peel it off, and hand it to the adoring fan.  At one point he said, “People are always asking me ‘Doncha get tired of people always asking for autographs?’ and I say ‘Hell no. If they ever stop asking that means I’m washed up!”

I’m reasonably sure they never stopped asking. 

…and yes, I snagged one of the larger photos.  It occupies a prominent place near my work area with the personalized version of Mel’s standard autograph:  “Eh, What’s Up, Rowell?”


— over and out (for now) —


One Response to “Meeting Mel Blanc (mini-version)”

  1. Warren July 29, 2008 at 9:22 am #

    I had the pleasure of meeting Mel briefly in 1974 on one of his college tours. I was a radio news director at the time, so I brought along a cassette recorder to interview him. I don’t remember a lot about the interview (now lost to the ages) but I remember how much fun he was, how easy-going and gracious. I was one of a dozen journalists present and he seemed to love the attention. He did some of his voices for us, but luckily, he seemed to be just as happy to just be himself and answer any questions we had. I haven’t interviewed too many “legends” but Mel certainly gave freely of himself, which only confirmed that label. When he passed, the WB characters he brought to life were seen gathered ’round his mic “Speechless,” which is exactly how we all felt.

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