Mel Blanc truly embodied his characters
When the voice actor felt empty, Bugs filled in the Blanc.
Image: The Everett Collection. LOONEY TUNES and all related characters and elements are ™ of & © WBEI
In 1976, Mel Blanc was in the middle of a popular college tour. By that point, the demand for new characters had subsided, as had the demand for new adventures of his established roles. Sure, Bugs Bunny appeared in a few animated specials, but they were infrequent. A lot of the Looney Tunes output in the late Seventies amounted to rereleases of already-recorded material. So, Mel Blanc was free to give plenty of interviews regarding his job.
"I love my characters," Blanc told the Greensboro Daily News, adding that coworkers often took pictures as his appearance changed as he switched from one to the next.
While lots of voice actors are also skilled impressionists, Blanc never recycled someone else's schtick for his 400+ voices. "I don't copy anybody," he said. "I like to create whatever voice I do."
Blanc knew the power of his characters and their unique ability to brighten a day and bring a smile. "This is a thing that I like to do—I like to spread it around." He spent as much time as he could at hospitals bringing joy to folks who needed it.
This was a direct result of the time Blanc himself spent in a hospital, recuperating from a terrible auto accident. Nothing seemed to work in attempts to wake Blanc up from a 21-day coma. Nothing, that is, except for Bugs Bunny.
"The surgeon came in, finally, and said, 'Bugs Bunny, how are you?'," Blanc recalled. "I really did say, 'Just fine, doc, how are you?'" Bugs Bunny brought Mel Blanc back to life, just as Blanc had brought laughter to millions of fans."
"I realized then how people love the characters," said Blanc. In all, he was sent more than 20,000 fan letters wishing him a speedy recovery."