For the love of voice acting #001, Why Voices Matter

I provide two pieces of disclosure as a preface:

First, I have largely neglected the voice acting aspect of my interests, and I seek to remedy that.

Second, I am not a voice actor, nor am I trained in any field (radio, acting, et. al.) that carries any authority or special insight into the field. As such, I will be crudely creating a lexicon of very likely improper terms that will address how I feel towards the craft of voice acting. This perspective is entirely as a fan, and with luck I will learn and self-correct as time goes on.

Now, here I blunder through my thoughts on what I perceive to be an underappreciated art form. Without being too effusive about it, I will start simply by considering Charlie Adler.

Somehow, he pulls off the backwards cap look.

Mr. Adler (if I may be so formal) delivers a range of emotions with unparallel comedic timing. His ability to master those voices has had me in awe since I first began recognizing him from one role to the next. It was this recognition, among others, that sparked my interest in voice actors. It reminded me that there was a common thread that ran through the cartoons that brought me much enjoyment, like a tapestry of sound unifying my childhood. If that sounds sappy, you probably don’t look back as fondly on cartoons as I do.

But I digress. Mr. Adler’s voice saw me through a significant portion of my childhood, from Buster Bunny all the way to an iteration of Dr Doom more recently, as my kids themselves are able to pick his voice out from familiarity with his work on Cow and Chicken. His voice is recognizable, and that is very much a good thing. A good voice actor can easily leverage their considerable talent to bring the whole production to life, and this is what Mr Adler does.

He seems to reach into the zeitgeist of Americana and cartoon culture to deliver the bellows and wisecracks that tap into our collective psyche. But before I start sounding like some obscure pop-culture James Lipton, let me qualify all of this; Mr. Adler does all of this simply by talking.

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“Man, voice, force of nature; Charlie Addler is all of these things…”

We see no facial expressions as we may have with someone like Robin Williams, an equally frenetic comedic genius. We only get Mr. Adler’s voice, and through that, we are given all of the cues and tones that accompany cartoon faces and gestures.

Think of Ed Bighead, or Tex Hex, or I.R. Baboon. You may not like all of his characters, but if you like cartoons even a fraction as much as I do, you are likely to have enjoyed Mr. Adler’s work. I challenge you to think hard about it, look up his breadth of work, and consider what joy he has given you. Then think about how much of a blast it was for him to vociferate into a microphone for your entertainment. Mr. Adler surely loves what he does, and for good reason; he is damn good at it.


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