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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 Well-Known 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 Well-Known 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".
    CensoredAlso likes this.
  9. CensoredAlso

    CensoredAlso 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 Well-Known 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.
  11. antsamthompson9

    antsamthompson9 Well-Known Member

    Sorry for bumping this thread, but I just wanna point out something: As Joey got older, Murray's voice became less high-pitched. TBH, that's good. Cause, when I would show my mom early stuff with Murray, she thought he was a girl. Now it's pretty clear that he's a boy.
  12. Muppet Master

    Muppet Master Well-Known Member

    Janice went from being a valley girl from TMS Season 2 to GMC, then starting with MTM, I felt her voice started to get deeper, and more out of character to the point where her character was really not much a valleyy girl, David Rudman has been doing good though with the puppetry.
  13. Pig's Laundry

    Pig's Laundry Well-Known Member

    I've actually noticed that Big Bird's voice has changed a lot over the years as Caroll Spinney has aged, his voice is deeper now.
  14. BlakeConor14

    BlakeConor14 Well-Known Member

    I think that Matt Vogels Floyd has changed over the years
  15. Daffyfan4ever

    Daffyfan4ever Well-Known Member

    Well, Gonzo is definitely the biggest example there. As one of the few Muppets who's had the same performer from Day One, (Save for TGSCS which doesn't really count because that was sort of a proto-Gonzo there.) it's been pretty evident that Dave has really developed the voice over time. Just look at the Gonzo voice comparison section on You Tube.

    Yeah. I've seen some of the 90s episodes with Big Bird on You Tube and even then the voice was deeper than it was in the 70s and the 80s.

    I'm not sure I agree with that. I thought Richard's valley girl Janice has been pretty consistent. (Save for the Don Knotts episode before Richard had the voice established.) But oh well, everyone is entitled to their opinion.

    I was wondering about that since I knew Kevin's Elmo voice has changed over time, but I was never sure exactly what point his voice changed. I notice even in the early 90s, Kevin seemed to use the raspier Elmo type voice, so you may have hit the nail on the head by mentioning the time TME was released. I guess Kevin was going for a cuter monster sound that would work for the voicing the toy versions of Elmo.
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2016
  16. Muppet Master

    Muppet Master Well-Known Member

    Eric Jacobson's Fozzie has really changed, in VMX I thought it sounded closer to the original Frank Oz voice, but recently like around the new muppet show, it's changed and become it's own thing, it's also higher than before.
  17. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    That's been more and more obvious in recent years . . . in fact, it's almost painfully obvious when you listen to the redubbed line of "Well, Radar, the hurricane's all over. Now we can go back to my nest," for that Friends to the Rescue DVD. I think Oscar has gotten better with age, though - a deeper voice works better for his type of character anyway.

    David's Cookie Monster sounds closer to Frank's now than it did before.

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