Keith Scott on Voices
September 5, 2022 posted by Keith Scott

Keith Scott’s “Cartoon Voices” Book

The cover of Volume 1
Click to Enlarge

Ever since I announced it would be my next project after my first book (The Moose That Roared, published in 2000), everyone has been asking me when it would be published. That day has come!

In fact, Cartoon Voices Of The Golden Age (1930-1970) was such a big project, I had to break it into two volumes. Part 1: The Pioneers of Animation Acting and Part 2: Studio Filmographies With Voice Credits. Bear Manor Media will release the two volumes officially on September 20th. It should also be listed on Amazon very soon.

After such a long wait I’m hoping it accurately answers a lot of your often asked questions. I’m also hoping it clears up a lot of bad facts that are out there… IMDb and Wikipedia still have many wrong names being bandied about in cyberspace, and people tend to accept the inaccurate stuff. And for some reason they are then very loath to change their opinion.

I’m hoping the book will bridge a long neglected gap in film history. It’s not only a history of how the movie cartoon industry grew, but also a mini-history of related aspects like the business itself, its workaday aspects and power plays, radio artists back in the day, recording sessions, and the careers of animation directors. A ton of theatrical cartoons get mentioned along the forty year span, and I tried to show a kind of catholic sympathy for a lot of the dross as well as praising the true high points of the medium.

Rear cover of Volume 1
(click to enlarge)

Many fans have strong loves and hates, but I’m a fan who has been part of the industry I write about… I’ve done cartoon voices from way back in 1972 and all the way up to this year… so I know why some cartoons were duds, I know about ideas that end up being compromised, I’ve seen creative interference – both good and awful – up close for decades. I have worked with many animation actors on hundreds of cartoons and I know what goes on. My own tastes are also pretty catholic and I can enjoy a lot of B-grade stuff that often gets rubbished. Unlike a lot of cartoon specialists I can love vintage Disney equally along with vintage Warner Bros. and the Fleischer films. But having said that, there is a mild critical tone in the narrative for those who want to seek it out.

Many times I had to catch myself and explain things to the reader that I had at first assumed were commonly known. What was difficult was the sheer amount of material I had to cover, connect and explain concisely, so as not to turn the thing into a multi-volume encyclopedia. There are so many overlapping stories of people who end up in more than one of the studio chapters. Not just the voice artists: the business always attracted nervously creative people among the cartoon artists and gag writers, people who often needed constant change to maintain their spark. There was also constant cross-pollinating of ideas, influences and rivalries that resulted in bruised feelings and accusations of creative theft.

Mel Blanc is highly prominent throughout much of the story. Even a master voice artist like Paul Frees told me that he regarded Mel as the undisputed king of cartoon voices. And that he was, a brilliant actor for the cartoon medium, which is one reason why Jack Warner snapped him up in 1941. And also a reason why the Warner Bros. chapter is the book’s longest. Aside from Mel Blanc, who is hugely important – even iconic to use that overused word – I wanted to cover the other important names of the 1930s and 40s like Pinto Colvig (aka Goofy), who also pops up in virtually every chapter. The book is not biographical except in certain instances where I had to place names like Billy Bletcher (the Big Bad Wolf) and Bill Thompson (Droopy) in context with the timeframe. Then it becomes easy to see why they got so much work. A lot of it went beyond their native talent. If they were proven to be reliable and efficient voice actors, well it’s the old saying: work begats more work.

Pinto Colvig

The lack of screen credit for some thirty years was the truly motivating reason for me to undertake the decades of research and to envision this book when it was just a vague concept. Throughout the writing of the book I was always aware I had to be super diligent in mentioning the few rare times screen credit actually occurred (aside from Mel of course, although he had seven anonymous years himself). I really had to go back in time and learn a lot of what made the business operate the way it did. With the actual voice artists I was very fortunate because I had a grounding of being a crazy lover of old films and American radio dramas for many years before I got into just the cartoon topic. Since childhood I was into old character actors, vintage movies and bit players because I somehow knew I was heading into a show biz life. So I knew many of the names of people who I eventually learned did cartoon acting. Slowly it all made sense, like a crazy jigsaw puzzle coming together. It’s all about connections in show business.

The New York studios remain my biggest regret. Very little, in fact zero, paperwork on voices and recording dates seems to have survived for Paramount’s Famous Studio and the Terrytoons, although I am confident that partial records exist in musty archives somewhere. In early 2020 I had planned a visit to see if I could dredge up some stuff at NY’s famous show biz library (Billy Rose Collection, in Lincoln Center), but Covid hit with a large thud, and the pandemic put paid to any travel research I wanted to undertake for the last two and a half years. And don’t forget, I live far, far away in Australia. I’m not complaining, but the facts are that my work dried up dramatically, travel was unaffordable and also not allowed… all sorts of things concentrated my mind to finish up the book that I had, and damn the torpedoes! Otherwise it would still be only half finished and possibly published in another decade… no way. There’s always the chance of an expanded edition down the track, so I remain positive.

Bill Scott

I want to single out three who were of particular help – as well as a huge influence on my career: Bill Scott, who was a fund of often sarcastically hilarious scuttlebutt, Paul Frees, who was the most hilariously silly, and Daws Butler, the nicest man in the game. Mel Blanc, June Foray, William Conrad, these were also great people I got to meet and get to know over decades. I was able to correspond with some earlier artists like narrator Robert Bruce and bass singer Thurl Ravenscroft before they passed. But of course so many of the cartoon voices of the Golden Age died years and years ago, and I was never going to get to people like Colvig, Bletcher, Bill Thompson or Frank Graham, or Wally Maher. How I would love to have talked about their careers, even just in radio.

Is there still more research before this topic is covered? Will there be a follow-up book? Maybe the research will change with advances in the online world…search engines like and online library research is becoming do-able. This book is built fact by fact on hundreds of tiny pieces of information that form that giant jigsaw puzzle of connections, and some lost names might conceivably pop up to make the story even more complete. Don’t forget there are still those ten Voice mysteries listed in the back of the book that are calling out to be solved! I call on you young and energetic cartoon history researchers to feed me any results you find in this never-ending saga!

I hope you’ll consider purchasing the volumes… I think you’ll like it, and I think it will answer a lot of your questions.

(By the way, the giant set of filmographies is really the part of the project I wanted to complete as a tribute to my major research associate, Hames Ware, who died back in 2018. He was a highly important ally in my first ten years of research.)


  • Congratulations on completing what is beyond a doubt the most eagerly anticipated book in the history of cartoon research! CARTOON VOICES OF THE GOLDEN AGE will prove to be not only an invaluable resource, but also a foundation for an entirely new field of scholarship. No one else was game to attempt a book on cartoon voices as long as you were working on one. No one else could have amassed such a body of material, or provided an insider’s perspective. Now that your book is out, other books on the subject will follow, building further upon your work, and every single one of them will contain a citation for yours. The reign of Wiki-misinformation is over! Thanks for setting the record straight, and congratulations again. I can’t tell you how happy this makes me!

  • This looks to be a great read, but I think you made a mistake in having the same exact cover for both volumes (save for the print at the bottom). I think that will cause confusion and frustration down the road for people who will accidently buy the same book twice. At the very least, there should be different background colors. That nitpick aside, congratulations are in order, and I hope it is a success.

  • Keith, this is terrific news. I’m sure many readers of this site already have a firsthand knowledge of the painstaking effort you’ve brought to this subject over the years — but to have ALL that information in one place will be a true blessing. Congratulations on reaching this milestone, and all the very best as you launch the book!

    • Hi JB….you get honorable mention in the book for your fine help, and I hope you particularly enjoy the Disney chapter. Of course it goes without saying that your books were mighty inspirations.

      • Now we can know when and where Ford Banes and Clarence Nash provided the voice of Mickey Mouse!

  • Keith, congratulations so much for your book. I’ll be looking for it,, either ina bookstore or in the library!


  • This is excellent Keith! I’ve been happily waiting for this, and I’ll be ordering both volumes soon! Wishing you many success with these books!

  • Great news we can use, Keith! I can only echo the appreciation expressed above. Was going to order them straight from Bear Manor, but I’m only seeing Volume 1 in hardcover and paperback listed at this time.

    • Update: Volume 2 is now available. Pre-ordered both now in hardback form… and saved $22 thanks to a 25%-off discount code that was automatically applied.

  • This is great! Clarity is a good thing!

  • Congratulations on completing this book! I really want to read this!

  • Bravo and congratulations, Keith. We are all indebted to you!

    • Ned, your marvelous help (along with that of Leith Adams) was instrumental in my research. You are given mention in the acknowledgments naturally!! Take care and cheers.

  • The most eagerly awaited new animation book since the Barrier book—at least by me.

  • A long-overdue study of those unforgettable cartoon voices, but tell me, do you include information on the voice actors used on the Puppetoons?

  • Shame about the lack of material available on the Terrytoons and Paramount voice apart from those we already know (Jack Mercer, Mae Questel, Dayton Allen, Roy Halee, etc.). Still, this is a tome I look forward to wholeheartedly.

    • There is a lot of information on people who did voices for Fleischer and Famous, with some surprises and a little historical to and fro stirred up about voices we do know and some we suspect, but no archival discoveries. But it is one of the longest chapters!

  • Will be preordering soon!

  • I will definitely be buying both volumes. Your first book The Moose That Roared was marvelous and hilarious. One question: Is Dallas McKennon included? He was a good friend and my mentor. He did a lot of voices for Disney and Walter Lantz and invented a lot of sound effects used in science fiction movies. I worked with him on the Gumby series (he was Gumby). His son Steve has volumes of information on him.

    • Gene, Dal McKennon certainly does get a mention in the Lantz chapter mostly. He was a most important artist from the 1950s & 60s. Cheers.

  • Congratulations!

  • I wish I had known about your book sooner! You may have helped me fill in lots of “gaps” of information about Jackson Beck, Mae Questel and Jack Mercer. I’m hoping that my two-two book project for BearManor Media books – interviews with Jackson Beck, Shamus Culhane, Dave Tendlar, Gordon Sheehan and “newbies” like Jon McClenahan – will be out soon!

    I am really looking forward to reading both books!

  • Can’t wait! My own attempt at such a book–CARTOON CHARACTER ACTORS: THE MEN & WOMEN BEHIND YOUR FAVORITE ANIMATED STARS–was nursed along by an editor at Crown for 6 months or so in 1988 but then shot down when Crown was taken over by Random House and that editor was let go. A couple of years of failing to interest any other publishers in it and I gave up. I got to meet and talk with June Foray and got letters from numerous classic voice actors agreeing to be interviewed (thanks to help from Andrea Romano) but nothing else ever came of mine YOU, sir, are the perfect person to do such a book! Congrats!

  • We who love animation often find that we often have many of the same books on each others’ shelves. But only a few such books are so very special that we return to them again and again. “The Moose That Roared” is one of them. I constantly refer to its treasure trove of dependable, meticulous information and impeccable writing. How wonderful that two more such books will now grace my library!

    • Many thanks for that generous plug, Greg, and your fine book on Disney records was a gigantic pleasure to me. Hope to catch up again when next I visit LA.

  • I never thought of Paul Frees as “hilariously silly.” Thank God!

    • Yeah, he was way more than that, which is why he was one of the best.

    • Neither did I!

  • Keith, this is wonderful news! I’m so happy to hear this is coming. Congratulations!!

  • Congratulations Keith on the fruits of your labours being published on a subject that has always been a part of my life as a child raised on Cartoons and now as an adult full time professional voice actor entering into this world of my heroes and mentors, including yourself, and contributing to the next generation of Moose’s or whatever the script wants us to play as we talk to ourselves in small rooms. You rock like a Rock God of Voice Talents.

  • Hope they’ll be on Amazon soon, available to international customers. Looking for these from so long and can’t buy them on the Bearmanor site. Thanks for these books, asked you about them in the past so much if you remember because I know you are the one that could make this research a definitive one 🙂

  • Congratulations on your new book, Keith!

  • Congrats!

  • Wow! What an enormous pleasure! Finally the perfect volumes to gift to the wonderful people on my gift list who “have everything”. I’m especially pleased that I can purchase both volumes: one for each giftee’s birthday and the other for their Christmas gift, lol.

    Thank you for all the work that you’ve done, the historical research, organization and Clarity you have brought to these monumental works.

    With the publishing of these volumes as reference materials, now perhaps we can utilize them as resources for Wikipedia editors to update their incorrect information.
    Meanwhile, COMICON: TAKE NOTE!

  • Glad for a new animation book!

  • Keith Scott just did a highly entertaining interview with me for The Cartoonerific Podcast about these books. Its scheduled for air on October 6th evening.

  • It’s now available AS OF 10/3/22!. I ordered both of MY volumes!!


  • Hey..JUSt got it on Kindle and read it..though 1959’s WB short THE MOUSE PLACED KITTTEN has just the male roles…(aren’t Lucille Bliss or June Foray in that one, the either one for Ma mouse and the latter for the mistress?)

    I wonder who”Meathead” dog wasmtoo and the “Country Mouse”

    • Hmmm, there’s always mistakes that get into a book even after multiple checks. June Foray is the female voices in this cartoon!!! She will be in the revised volume!

    • Oops…darn, there are always glitches in books, no matter how many times an author double checks stuff. Yes, it’s June Foray doing all the female voices in this cartoon. She WILL be in a revised edition, maybe two years from now…

  • Many thanks for this treasure trove of vocal talent history. Almost every voice I was curious about for the longest time was id’d. Particularly the Louis Armstrong and Fats Waller impersonator in so many of the jazz shorts.

    A great strategy to bring the Censored 11 and the like to home media would be to produce a series of featurettes on the Black vocal talents in those shorts and their lives and careers. This would give them long due recognition. There’s bound to be several interesting stories to be told.

  • I purchased the both volumes on my iPad last week.

  • I noticed in the book Red Coffey is credited as both the voice of Yakky Duck and his prototype at MGM. Actually, Jimmy Weldon (ventriloquist known for Webster Webfoot) voiced Yakky.

    • Thanks, David. Yes, I noticed that too, and I knew it anyway. And Mark Evanier pointed it out, as well. How things like this happen, when I double and triple-checked the text, is beyond me, but it seems books can never be completely mistake-free. The manuscript has been corrected already and it will be set right for a revised edition of the book sometime in the future.

      • And you mention (I have your book since publication date) THREE LITTLE BOPS as the only non-Blanc credit ion a WB cartoon (Stan Freberg) yet Jack Benny and some of his gang,including Blanc, are truly cast first in credits in THE MOUSE THAT JACK BUILT. Also DRAFTY ISN’T IT with Daws Butler. So it’s Blanc as the sped up Elmo (also non-sped as drunk) in A HICK, A SLICK, AND A CHICK and the goose (male!) who lays a golden egg (GOLDEN YEGGS) then blames Daffy to get out of it, and not Freberg as I off and on thought (for the WB’s,.)(

        Stephen J.Carras
        one of the earliest proud owners (kindle) of the boos!! Yeah, Red Coffee is only the MGM/proto-Yakky HB duck, and not Yakky himself (does Mel really do the DUCK voice in WB’s FOXY DUCK???)

  • Well, I bought Volume One recently and it just arrived! It looks terrific and I can’t wait to read it!

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