Archives for : Animation History Tidbits

Mel Blanc In Neptune’s Daughter

Can you believe it?  I’m actually making a second update this month.  Let this be the start of a new trend!  Despite popular belief, I do more than read comic books and watch animation.  I love watching and learning about old films.  I watched the box office flop Hail, Caesar! (great concept, actors, costumes, and sets, but the story execution was confusing) and learned about aqua musical star Esther Williams.  I rented her film Neptune’s Daughter and it wasn’t her best, but I did discover something fun related to animation.  The movie’s story is not that great: typical Shakespearean case of mistaken identities mixed with Hollywood glamor.  Williams starred in it along with comedian Red Skelton, Betty Garret, and Ricardo Montalbán played her romantic interest.  Older fans will recognize Montalbán from Paradise Island and if you’re born in this century you will know him as Señor Senior, Senior from Kim Possible.  Yes, dear Trekkies, I know he was also Khan.

The movie takes place in Argentina and is full of Hispanic stereotypes.  Skelton tries to pass himself off as an Argentine polo player and engages in this ridiculous scene:

It’s also the first cinematic presentation of the famous Christmas carol “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.”

Maybe it’s just conditioning, but this song doesn’t fit in a non-winter themed movie.

While watching Neptune’s Daughter, a character named Pancho had a familiar voice.  I turned to my TV and saw some white dude masquerading as someone of Hispanic origin and he sported a stereotypical Mexican accent.  I thought the actor was ripping off Mel Blanc, then I read the credits.  The actor was Blanc himself in one of his few screen appearances!

I’d post a clip, but I don’t know how to rip or edit videos.  Blanc used his Speedy Gonzales voice for his role as Pancho and even more interesting is that this was before Speedy existed.  The movie was released in 1949 and Speedy came along in 1953.  It goes to show that Blanc was practicing his vocal skills well before he strictly specialized in voice acting.

If you don’t want to watch Neptune’s Daughter, you’ll get the just of Blanc’s performance in this old Jack Benny clip.