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Jerry Nelson the "Mel Blanc" of the muppets?

Discussion in 'Henson People' started by ferrell, Nov 29, 2007.

  1. ferrell

    ferrell New Member

    I've been watching a bunch of jim henson stuff,sesame street,the muppets,fraggle rock etc and it seems that jerry nelson has done more voices than any one else.richard hunt comes in second,the cool thing about jerry Nelson is that his characters sound different from one another although some are similar,so who else thinks that Jerry Nelson is the "mel blanc" of the muppets?
  2. MelissaY1

    MelissaY1 Well-Known Member

    Jerry Nelson is amazing....
  3. ChickyBoy37

    ChickyBoy37 Well-Known Member

    I thought so too. Jerry Nelson's Voice is heard more times then any other performer. but Jim Henson was kinda like that back in the 50's and 60's before Jerry actively voiced for the muppets.
  4. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    Hmm, yeah, Jerry Nelson does A LOT of Muppet voices, but I'm not sure if he's the "Mel Blanc" of Muppets... Mel Blanc was "A Man of a Thousand Voices", and after a while, Jerry's voices all start to sound a little similar, as does Jim's, Frank's, and even Kevin's.

    Now as for Steve Whitmire, that's a different story in my opinion...
  5. wwfpooh

    wwfpooh New Member

    Well, we all know Jim is the father of all Muppetdom, Frank is his right hand man, and Jerry the man of a thousand voices, whilst Steve is the young buck of the bunch.
  6. Fragglemuppet

    Fragglemuppet Well-Known Member

    Oh, I don't know... Certainly what you said about Jim being the father of all muppets and Frank being his right hand man is true, but more because it was them who started the muppets. Both of them were very good with voices, (I still marvel whenever I hear Miss Piggy!) And yes, even when Steve's 92, he'll still be "the young buck of the bunch," and even though I love him as we all do, he just doesn't seem to have the vocal flexibility of Jerry, if that makes sense.
    I was kind of surprised though when you said Richard was second, (I might have said Jim), but on second thought, it probably is Richard.

    So in short, they're all good, but I would definately agree that Jerry Nelson might just be called, "the muppetman of a thousand voices"! Heck, at one point while watching MTI, I actually felt sorry fer the guy, he was working so hard!
  7. Skye

    Skye Active Member

    This is a very cool comparison!

    Sometimes when I've been watching a Muppet-related thing, there would be a character who, even when I would listen and watch so hard, I still wouldn't be able to tell for the life of me who was performing the character. Later, when I would look it up, it always turned out to be Jerry who performed the character.

    Jerry has so many interesting and unique voices. He blows me away! As with many of the other Muppeteers, he does have some characters who sound similar, but I also think he is one the most versatile performers I've ever seen. He's so fun to listen to!
  8. CensoredAlso

    CensoredAlso Well-Known Member

    I can't remember where it was, but I distinctly recall an article that referred to Jerry as the "Mel Blanc" of the group. I'm not sure it was necessarily because all his voices were different. But the fact that he could be relied upon to do a variety of characters (particuarly since he didn't have a "main" character on the Muppet Show). :)

    I hesitate to ponder who had the most vocal flexibility. I think with many groups of that kind, the perfomers tend to get stuck with, or identified with one or two different character types, becaues they do them so well. As a result, they don't always get a chance to show that they can do anything else. I feel like we didn't get to hear too much of Steve's versatility in his early years with the Muppets. As he said in the Season 1 DVD when he was working on Wembley voice, "I don't know Jim, it sounds just like everything else I'm doing." But you can actually hear a couple different vocal types from him on Fraggle Rock (particularly with the Doozers).

    Also, Richard Hunt clearly preferred playing loud, crazy, assertive characters. But that doesn't mean he was incapable of playing quieter characters (obviously Scooter isn't particularly loud and crazy. Same with Belmont from The Christmas Toy). When I first heard the the very sweet and calm "Let it Fly" song the Spider fly sings in Fraggle Rock, I didn't realize it was Richard until I looked it up.
  9. anytimepally

    anytimepally Active Member

    if I can't tell right away which muppeteer is performing a voice, I always assume it's Jerry
  10. wwfpooh

    wwfpooh New Member

    But for the most part, one can usually tell if one is doing a voice, considering that--as Steve noted--some of the characters sound the same.
  11. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    I don't know. I don't know if I'd call him the Mel Blanc of Muppets.... I'd call him the Paul Frees of Muppets (Blanc and Frees are my 2 favorite voice actors of all time, BTW). Here's my reasoning. Blanc did absloutely everyone's voices in the Looney Tune Cartoons. Absolutely everyone. Where as Frees was part of a voice acting quartet in Rocky and Bullwinkle (counting the Narrator). Now Frees only had one main character in R and B, but he played absolutely everyone in the background. I think Jerry is the same.

    Jerry only has a couple big Characters on the Muppet show, much more in Sesame Street, and his only true starring role was Gobo in Fraggle rock. But as for background characters.... It's hard to spot one that isn't Jerry. And that's better than being held back by a few major characters. You can really stretch your legs and play as many parts as possible when you do backgrounds.
  12. wwfpooh

    wwfpooh New Member

    The same "Ghost Host" and "Pirate Narrator" Paul Frees? If so, that's awesome. :D
  13. SSLFan

    SSLFan Well-Known Member

    What about Dave Golez?:concern: :confused:
  14. wwfpooh

    wwfpooh New Member

    He'd be the wackiest weirdo amongest them all. :)
  15. Super Scooter

    Super Scooter New Member

    Actually, some people have said Mel Blanc did one voice performed a thousand different ways. I personally think all Mel's voices sound very similar. What's impressive to me is that each one is pretty much their own character.
    Er, well, not quite, but close. There were a number of other voice actors who would perform on Looney Tunes as well. And, I do agree with you about Frees and Jerry Nelson. The roles that they play on their respective shows are very similar.
  16. wwfpooh

    wwfpooh New Member

    Frees and Nelson FTW for the now named "Most Recognizable Background Voice Actor/Performer" award! :D
  17. bugmenot

    bugmenot New Member

    It is well documented that Mel Blanc was a pain in the backside.

    Jerry Nelson on the other hand is a marvelous chap.
  18. CensoredAlso

    CensoredAlso Well-Known Member

    Agreed, sometimes it's not that a performer has a ton of voices, but that he/she can play a wide range of personalities. :)
  19. SarahOnBway

    SarahOnBway Member

    The whole "vocal flexibility" is an interesting topic. Personally, after listening intently to every Muppety thing I can lay my hands on, it is very easy for me to discern who's doing what voice. Definitely Jerry's got a great amount of vocal talent, but to the Muppet-trained ear, you can tell. My little sister all the time tells me, as we're listening to a random Muppet Show song or watching some minor character, "that sounds like Robin/Gobo" and I know that she can pick out Jerry's voice too, haha. But it's hard, once you know who does what voice to be able to listen to it without thinking about who does it... Does that make any sense? It did in my head.

    Personally, what I think Jerry, Richard and Steve have in SPADES is amazing singing talent, moreso than Jim, Frank, Dave, Bill (although Johnny Fiama's pretty awesome)... Jerry, Richard and Steve sing like singers, whereas everyone else (obviously I'm not including Louise Gold, I'm just talking about the main Muppeteers) are more actors who sing... idk.

    Everyone has a great amount of vocal variety--I know people who are amazed that Jim Henson did both Dr. Teeth and Rowlf (although I've never met anyone who couldn't tell that he played both Ernie and Kermit hehe), even though we all can hear it instinctively.

    BTW, hi everyone! I've been away for MONTHS! IDK if people really noticed, but Ryan did and that made me happy hehe :) Basically my comp broke and I borrowed one that was old and took FUHEVA to load the forum, so I just couldn't deal, but then THAT ONE broke (neither broke was my fault, btw) and now I've borrowed this lap top from a friend who went away for the weekend. So heyyyy, and I'll be around for two days and then gone until my mom gets me a laptop for Christmas (she spoiled the surprise, not me).
  20. CensoredAlso

    CensoredAlso Well-Known Member

    Welcome back, Sarah!

    You're right, some actors are very skilled as singers, while others may not be as trained but can still give a grand performance. :)

    The more projects you watch the easier it does become to tell who is who. My friends used to be shocked that I could pick the performers out, but now they're pretty good at it too.

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