ANIMATION SPIN
February 16, 2016 posted by

Joe Alaskey and Looney Tunes on Records

To salute veteran voice actor Joe Alaskey, who passed away February 3, here’s a look at a delightful recording in which he plays Daffy and Sam in a Looney Beatles parody.

bugs-sings-beathes600

BUGS AND FRIENDS SING THE BEATLES
Kid Rhino Records R2-71769 (Compact Disc / Stereo)

Released August 28, 1995. Executive Producers: Robin Frederick, Robert Emmer. Producers: Geoff Levin, Chris Many, Scott Matthews, Roger Clark. Writers: Charles Carney, Robin Frederick, Geoff Levin. Musicians: Geoff Levin, Chris Many, Jim Grinta, Ian Seeberg, Tony Morales, David Campbell, Dick Bright. Production: Bruce Chianese, Terry Reiff, Bino Espinoza, Paul Martin. Mastering: Bob Fisher. Liner Notes: Stephen K. Peeples, Robin Frederick. Art Direction: Coco Shinomiya. Design: Escott Associates. Illustration: Dirk Wunderlich. Running Time: 33 minutes.

Voices: Mendi Segal (Bugs Bunny); Joe Alaskey (Daffy Duck, Yosemite Sam); Jim Meskemen (Elmer Fudd); Jim Cummings (Taz); Joe Pizzulo, Gary Falcone, Geoff Levin, Angie Jarée, Terry Wood (Backup Vocals).

Songs: “She Loves You,” “The Fool On The Hill,” “Birthday,” “Hello Goodbye,” “With A Little Help From My Friends,” “It Won’t Be Long,” “Yesterday,” “Penny Lane,” “Help!” “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “The Long And Winding Road” by John Lennon, Paul McCartney.

Warner Bros. tribute to Joe Alaskey that appeared in Hollywood trade magazines Feb. 12th 2016 - art by Spike Brandt

Warner Bros. tribute to Joe Alaskey that appeared in Hollywood trade magazines Feb. 12th 2016 – art by Spike Brandt

In the ‘90s, Rhino Records was producing a proliferation of outstanding character-related recordings featuring Warner Bros., Hanna-Barbera, DC and many others. Warner, Cartoon Network and Rhino were partnering and the listeners were rewarded with lots of new material as well as some highly prized vintage collections (in particular, the H-B releases archived and produced by Earl Kress).

Daffy’s interpretation of “Yesterday” offers the self-styled balladeer giving the song his all, while various slapstick mishaps occur every time a lyric even hints at the possibility. Daffy croons and complains, as the nonplussed engineer patiently completes the session in a deadpan fashion worthy of Tom Bodett. Of course you-know-who’s behind Daffy’s ordeal—shades of Duck Amuck.

As Daffy, Joe Alaskey nails every nuance and pays off the gags with looney aplomb. On a 2012 episode of the internet radio program, Stu’s Show, Alaskey told Stu Shostak and the listeners a little bit about his approach to Daffy: “I’d put it in the imitation stage first, before you start living it and acting it. Listen carefully, see how he breathes and where to place the voice – that’s very important. For instance, with a voice, well like [starts doing the voice] Daffy Duck and a few others, you want to kind of cut off the nasal passages and just project from the mouth alone.”

“The Long and Winding Road” is a Road Runner cartoon in miniature, with stereo sound effects creating a vivid picture of the Coyote’s numerous schemes and their disastrous results. There is no dialogue, just the backup singers and the occasional “meep meep.”

Mel Blanc had passed away six years before this album was made, and though the cast does a superb job, even they would have given “a million box” to hear Beatles songs performed by the great man himself as Bugs and friends. (The liner notes state: “The producers would like to acknowledge the incredible talents of Mel Blanc.” The album is entertaining just the same, with hearts and voices in the right place.

GIVE A LITTLE LISTEN
“Yesterday” – Daffy Duck


The Muppets Sing the BeatlesTHE MUPPETS SING THE BEATLES
Sesame Street Records CTW-99036 (7” 45 RPM Single / Mono)

Executive Producer: Jon Stone. Musical Direction: Joe Raposo. Running Time: 5 minutes.

Pop and rock were a staple of Sesame Street from the very beginning of the series—can it be almost 50 years ago? Muppet tributes to the Fab Four and others date back to before the Street premiered, on such variety programs as The Ed Sullivan Show and of course extend to The Muppet Show and beyond.

Quite a few of the pop songs were original—usually involving writer/performer Christopher Cerf—but sometimes a classic tune would be featured. This 45 RPM single captures two video soundtracks on vinyl.

GIVE A LITTLE LISTEN

“Octopus Garden” and “Yellow Submarine”
Both sides of the single disc.

The Anything Muppets sing “We Belong Together” and “All Together Now”

6 Comments

  • Gad. I am shocked that Joe Asaskey passed away of Cancer. I remember him as both the voices of Daffy Duck,Plucky Duck and Sylvester in Tiny Toon Adventures as well as in Bah Humduck! (One of my favorite Christmas cartoons) He also did the voice of Grandpa Lou Pickles (taking over the role after the death of David Doyle) and starred in the Schlepfest sitcom Out of this World. He will be sorely missed

  • Talking about unfortunate…for a Mel Blanc successor, he was excellent.

  • It’s strange seeing Muppet productions highlighted on Cartoon Research, but I would love to see more (I have the book Sesame Street: A Celebration of 40 Years of Life on the Street, which has a page detailing on a Maurice Sendak’s short). It’ll be great to highlight some of the animations Henson made.

    And Alaskey’s right, he DOES nail Daffy’s mannerisms perfectly. All the more to miss him even more……

    • Mike Kazaleh did a fine post about Sesame Street animation not long ago…
      http://cartoonresearch.com/index.php/sesame-street-was-brought-to-you-today-by/

      One of my future posts will be about a Sesame Street album called “The Count Counts,” which was made up almost entirely of songs from the animated segments.

    • I was going to ask Jerry if you were going to talk about that album, which apparently, was adapted into an episode on the show a few years later (two behind the scene photos were included in the 40th anniversary book).

  • Joe was brilliant! One of the finest Daffys since Mel.

    I actually worked on this record. I voiced Porky singing Mother Nature’s Son, and Tweety singing Yellow Submarine. Or as he called it, Yewow Submawine. Unfortunately the powers that be thought there were too many tracks, so I/theygot the ax. But they were fun!!

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