Friday, July 20, 2012

Unsung of the Screen: Mel Blanc (Post Five, Pt. 1)

Even a near death experience couldn't hold Mr. Blanc down. On January 24, 1961 he was in a near-fatal accident on Sunset Boulevard. He was hit head on and suffered fractures in the legs and pelvis and a triple skull fracture that left him in a coma for three weeks.

In Mel's autobiography, he states that he received over 15,000 get well cards from fans, some addressed to "Bugs Bunny, Hollywood, USA". His wife and son would also inform him of how he came out of his coma. A very clever doctor would talk to Mel as though he were his cartoon characters. One day the doctor asked "How are you doing today Bugs Bunny?" and Mel answered him in Bugs' voice. 

Mr. Blanc would later reveal that during his recovery, his son Noel provided Warner Brothers voice tracks for his father. Daws Butler would also provide the voice of Barney Rubble for a few episodes, then producers would set up recording equipment in his hospital room, and he and his Flintstones co-stars recorded in his room. 

Mel returned home on March 17 to the cheers of over 150 neighbors. Later in the year, he would also return to The Jack Benny Show in a wheelchair and crutches as well to film their Christmas episode of the year.

Part Two of this Post to come tomorrow morning.

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