While I was traveling to New York and Canada last week, I had the opportunity to catch up on several new books – including a trio of biographies about three of my favorite classic cartoon voice actors, Paul Frees, Walter Tetley and Jack Mercer.
All three are published by small independent publisher Ben Ohmart of BearManor Media out of Albany Georgia. Ohmart has devoted himself to publishing books based on his favorite performers from old time radio, movies and classic television. His book on Daws Butler (written with Joe Bevilaquca) is highly recommended. The BearManor books are less indepth biography, and more a celebration of the professional careers of each subject; enthusiastic compilations of available facts and rare photos with great anecdotes and quotes.
Welcome Foolish Mortals… The Life and Voices of Paul Frees (by Ohmart, with a foreword by June Foray and an afterward by Keith Scott) was fascinating. I never knew much about the man behind the voices (Ludwig Von Drake, Boris Badanov, the Haunted Mansion, The Beary Family, Super President, etc.), and this career survey by Ohmart does a lot to explain who he was and his eccentricities. I come away with even more admiration for Free’s talents and insight into his offbeat, off-mike character.