The Oregon Cartoon Institute To Celebrate Mel Blanc

The Oregon Cartoon Institute is pleased to announce it has received its first grants, from Miller Foundation and from Kinsman Foundation. Oregon Cartoon Institute was founded in 2007 by Anne Richardson, who publishes Oregon Movies, A to Z, and film archivist Dennis Nyback. Working together, Oregon Cartoon Institute and Oregon Jewish Museum are creating the first ever public celebration of Mel Blanc as an Oregonian.

The most respected voice artist in the history of animation, Melvin Jerome Blanc grew up in Portland, was educated in Portland, and received his first professional training and work opportunities here in Portland. He conducted two parallel careers here from 1927 to 1935: he was both a musician and a radio performer. He was eight years into a show business career when he moved to Los Angeles, ready to take on Hollywood.

The Mel Blanc Project, a public history/arts education project, is a partnership between Oregon Cartoon Institute, Oregon Jewish Museum, Ethos Music Center, Oregon Historical Society and PSU’s School of Fine and Performing Arts. Oregon Cartoon Institute is fiscally sponsored by Oregon Cultural Heritage Commission, a 501 (c) (3) non profit organization.

Oregon Jewish Museum’s Mel Blanc exhibit That’s Not All, Folks! opens on June 2. Oregon Cartoon Institute’s four part Mel Blanc Lecture Series begins June 8. Tickets are now on sale for the lecture series at Brown Paper Tickets Go to:

Guest speakers at the Mel Blanc Lecture Series include Gary Lacher, author of Theaters of Portland; Judy Margles, director of Oregon Jewish Museum; Craig Adams, early Portland radio historian; and Robyn Tenenbaum, producer of Live Wire. The first three lectures will be held at Ethos At IFCC, 5340 North Interstate. The final lecture will be held in Lincoln Hall,1620 SW Park Ave, where Mel Blanc himself attended high school.

Starting Tuesday, May 10, and continuing every Tuesday in May, at 7:00 PM, the Mel Blanc Project presents four “admission by donation” film programs at The Secret Society 116 NE Russell. The four evenings of 16mm films, curated by Dennis Nyback from his film archive (located at Marylhurst University), celebrate the life and times of Mel Blanc. Two of those programs, May 10 and May 24, will each feature a rare short film in which Mel Blanc himself appears.

Honky Tonk Prison, a ukulele band, will perform before the May 17 screening of Mel Blanc and the Jazz Age: Portland Jazz Baby, at the Secret Society. Dennis Nyback’s program of Jazz Age 16mm music shorts was inspired by the fact Mel Blanc received his first big break as an entertainer while singing and playing the ukulele with the Multnomah Hotel Orchestra.

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