I was asked a question recently that has been occupying my thoughts: “What is it you like most about working in radio?” Radio is just as much show business as film or theater. The main difference is that radio is “theater of the mind,” which means it demands, perhaps more than any other medium, creativity. It is the job of any radio performer to spark the imagination of the listener using only vocal cues, music and sound effects. The art form of radio continues to be relevant in the 21st century through voice-over narration and animation. The Marvel Comic adventure “Guardians of the Galaxy” is the latest example. Here’s a look at two memorable actors who have made an impact with their voice:

mel blanc

Mel Blanc is responsible for creating the voice acting occupation as we know it. He’s done everything from sound effects on radio to voice characterizations on the Looney Tunes and The Flintstones. During World War 2, he provided the voice for Private Snafu in a series of training films, written by the future Dr. Seuss, Theodor Geisel. As a protege of Blanc’s has stated, “He {Blanc} didn’t just do voices. He played characters…{He was} one of the best actors to ever come out of Hollywood…It sounds weird because of what genre he worked in, but he was a brilliant actor.” (Bob Bergen, Voice Artist)

 

 

James Earl Jones created one of the most villainous roles in the history of cinema using only jejthe subtle inflections of his voice. Though he was already an established character actor at that point, his portrayal of Darth Vader has become his signature role. Among his great body of work, the only other part that brings as much recognition is another voice role, that of Mufasa in The Lion King. His deep, authoritative sound is a voice to be reckoned with, which is a far cry from the stuttering problem he has learned to overcome.

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