It is not possible to speak at any length about the animated cartoon industry without mentioning Mel Blanc. He provided voices in over 3,000 cartoons for over 400 different characters, including over 100 characters for Looney Tunes, as well as a number of voices for Hanna-Barbara, such as Barney Rubble, Dino the Dinosaur, and Cosmo Spacely. He is perhaps most famous for giving life to Bugs Bunny. What you may not know is that Bugs Bunny once saved Mel Blanc’s life.
As Blanc was driving home one day in 1961, his Aston Martin collided with another vehicle. Blanc was badly injured and slipped into a coma. For two weeks his doctors and family members attempted to get a response from him, but to no avail.
After two weeks of trying all normal medical procedures, one of Blanc’s neurologists decided to try something new. He spoke to Blanc and asked, “Bugs Bunny, how are you doing today?”
There was a pause while those in the room looked questioningly at the doctor. Then, to everyone’s astonished, the comatose patient responded in a very familiar voice: “Myeeeeh. What’s up, Doc?”
The doctor then asked Tweety if he was there too.
“I tawt I taw a puddy tat,” came the reply, again in the voice of the character.
It took seven more months in a body cast for Blanc to recover, but eventually, he was back on his feet and in full health. Later, when Blanc’s doctor tried to explain how he revived his patient. “It seemed like Bugs Bunny was trying to save his life,” was all he could say.
Another neurologist suggested that Blanc was such a hard-working professional that his characters lived, protected from the brain injury, deep in his unconscious mind. The doctor’s question must have sounded like a director’s cue.
Essentially, “Mr. Blanc, you’re on.”
Watch the incredible talent of Mel Blanc in this 1981 interview with David Letterman.