Cartoon voice acting from the Golden Age of theatrical and TV animation (1930s to 1960s) was almost uniformly excellent. The actors were funny to listen to while exhibiting rigorous performance-oriented discipline. This first generation of voice actors created cartoon characters that had a warm, believable, and dare I say it, human quality.
It should be no surprise that these early voice actors were also skilled as live performers. Most Golden Age voice actors enjoyed extensive careers in film, TV and radio, quite often as character actors. The proof can be found in the following three-part series of YouTube videos created by Ray Mujica that shows rare clips of famous cartoon voice actors in live-action roles. The actors and actresses who are featured in this video series include:
- Mae Questel (Betty Boop, Olive Oyl)
- Billy Bletcher (Peg-Leg Pete, Spike the Bulldog)
- Janet Waldo (Judy Jetson)
- Alan Reed (Fred Flintstone)
- Arthur Q. Byran (Elmer Fudd)
- Bill Thompson (Droopy)
- George O’Hanlon (George Jetson)
- Hans Conried (Snidely Whiplash)
- Bea Benaderet (Betty Rubble)
- Arnold Stang (Top Cat)
It’s a delightful way to spend half an hour.
Part three isn’t embeddable for whatever reason, but HERE IT IS.
[UPDATE]: Reader Eric Graf points out that there are two other parts to this series: