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Voice Changes

Discussion in 'Henson People' started by D'Snowth, Oct 2, 2011.

  1. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    I'm not talking about when characters change performers and such, I'm actually talking about characters who have had the same performers from the first time we saw them to where they are today... with some, even though they've retained the same performers, sometimes their voices still change over the years, whether because the performers change it themselves, or because their own voices change with age.

    Which characters' voices do you think have changed the most over the years? Others not so much?

    I'm not so sure I'd include Big Bird on the list, considering his voice change was a conscious decision, since Caroll decided it would be best if Big Bird was a kid, rather than a bumpkin... now Oscar on the other hand, that isn't such a drastic change, but I do feel his voice has improved over the years, and as Caroll's gotten older, it seems to suit the character a bit better, not to mention his story about the cabdriver who inspired his voice, it's a much better mental visual seeing the cabdriver with Oscar's later voice, as opposed to his earlier voice.

    I think perhaps Gonzo has had the most drastic voice chane over the years, though to be fair, I know Dave wasn't entirely comfortable with doing voices (but then again, neither was Frank at first): listening to Gonzo from Season One of TMS and Season Five is quite a difference, just as listening to Gonzo from one of the earlier Muppet movies and one of the more current movies is a bit different as well.

    Frank's Grover's gone through some less drastic changes, same with Bert: both of their voices seem to have gotten a little higher over the years, then a little lower again in more recent years; Frank's current Grover doesn't seem quite as raspy anymore either.
  2. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    Actually, now that I think of it, Elmo's gone through voice changes as well: when Kevin first started performing him, Elmo had a somewhat raspy voice, as well as a bit of a more childlike speech pattern... the speech pattern didn't last long, but it seems like it took the raspiness more time to slowly phase out; meanwhile, it seems like within the last few years or so, Elmo isn't quite as high as he used to be, and I've noticed quite often anymore there's just a slight bit of raspiness again, particularly when he's talking low and quietly.
  3. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    I know that people's voices change when they grow up, but do voices actually change after they've fully grown up and past puberty, or could the performers just be having trouble doing the voices the same as they had in the past?

    Jim's Kermit voice has changed a bit. Until maybe the second or third season of Sesame Street, Kermit's voice sounded a bit dumber. Then he sounded a bit smarter, though something about the voice had changed again by the late-1980s. And Steve's Kermit seems to have sounded different in his first performance than in later performances (though it could be because there was a year-long gap between his first Kermit performance and when he regularly performed the character).

    I feel Oscar's voice during the 1970s sounded more like a stereotypical brooklyn voice than later on.
  4. MrBloogarFoobly

    MrBloogarFoobly Well-Known Member

    To answer your question, minormuppetz, people's voices typically drop in pitch as they age. It's not always because of damage/overuse.

    I think Whitmire's Kermit has experienced the most change in recent years. His Kermit is sounding hoarse and strained, as if he has been battling laryngitis (or chock it up to having a Frog in the throat.)
  5. meepmuppaphones

    meepmuppaphones Active Member

    Scooter sticks out here. First season of TMS, pretty high pitched voice. Jim Henson's Tribute, his voice has gotten pretty low.
  6. FletchySRF3088

    FletchySRF3088 Active Member

    Yeah I noticed that change with Scooter's voice too. Even if you compare the voice in the first season of The Muppet Show to the fifth season, there is quite a difference. I remember somebody on here once said "It's almost as if Richard had been aging him" and I think that sounds like the best explanation for it. I obviously don't know if it was intentional on Richard's part, but I like to think it was.
  7. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    Richard himself seemed to be aging pretty quickly as well... notice how how gray and thin his hair seemed by the 80s, and even more so by the 90s.

    Matter of fact, on the subject of Scooter's voice, his voice almost sounded like Richard's natural voice around the time of The Muppets Celebrate Jim Henson.
  8. SSLFan

    SSLFan Well-Known Member

    I loved raspy voiced Elmo. Seems like that was lost right after the "Tickle Me Elmo" doll was released. It really sounded like Elmo was a "monster child". Nowadays it sounds like "a child that just so happens to be a monster".
    heralde likes this.
  9. heralde

    heralde Well-Known Member

    Yes I think we talked about that on the RHLC awhile back after seeing the "Just One Person" footage of the Jim Henson memorial.
  10. Xerus

    Xerus Active Member

    When Fozzie first appeared, he had longer cheeks and a deeper voice. But in season 2, his appearence changed and had a much lighter sounding voice.

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