Return Home

The Man of 1,000 Voices

Back to Episode

Mel Blanc was known as "the man of 1,000 voices," but the actual number may have been closer to 1,500. Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, Tweety, Barney Rubble -- all Mel. His characters made him one of the most beloved men in America, and they may have also saved his life. 

Producer Sean Cole heads to the Blanc family house outside LA to ask Mel's son Noel Blanc about the night when Mel nearly died in a car crash on Dead Man's Curve, and the moment two weeks later when Bugs Bunny emerged from Mel's coma before Mel did. Neurosurgeon Louis Conway, who attended to Mel at the time, and NYU brain scientist Orrin Devinsky help Sean and Noel weigh what it might mean to be rescued by a figment of your own imagination, and whether one self can win out over another in a moment of crisis.

"Dead's Man Curve," which Jan and Dean immortalized in song, is just north of UCLA's Drake Stadium on Sunset Boulevard. According to Mel Blanc's autobiography "That's Not All Folks," age-old plans to straighten the curve were finally approved after his accident.

View Larger Map

Comments [4]

Warren from Seattle

I was puzzled, but ultimately figured that the ignorance over who Mel Blanc was, in the intro, was really just a fake setup to showcase the voices through various recordings.
Enjoyable piece, thanks.

Nov. 07 2016 12:41 AM
Don wolfe from Portland OR

Without disparaging Mel Blanc's genius or creative range, I must point out that Woody Wooidpecker's trademark call was made by Grace Lantz, the wife of Woody's creator Walter Lantz.

Nov. 06 2016 06:37 PM
Peter from Cherry hill, nj

I turned off the show after Jad professed ignorance over who Mel Blanc was. SMH millennials.

Nov. 06 2016 02:48 PM
Eli Wolfe from Columbus, OH

We're driving in the car now, I didn't realize this was a repeat episode (maybe it's not?) but when listening to the part about Mel Blanc's accident and subsequential coma, there was a theory thrown out as to why he'd answer to Bugs, stating it was possibly a "cue" so to speak. I was wondering if anymore theories were thrown around, but possibly not aired. Prior to the theory being laid out, when just the question was posed, the first thing to pop in my head was -- well, Bugs wasn't the one who got into the car wreck. Do you think there's any merit to the idea that if One holds a voice (or in this case voices) within that are entangled, yet also (in their own way) a separate identity -- that in the case of a comatose patient, the mind could separate 'which' voice was in the wreck?

Oct. 25 2014 05:06 PM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.