Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Arnold Stang 1918-2009

Entertainer Arnold Stang has died at the age of 91. His nebbish persona was a hit with movie and television audiences for decades. Even when you couldn't see him, you knew just what kind of body and face went with the voice. He began his voiceover career doing the voice of "Shorty" in Popeye cartoons, then also did "Herman the Mouse" for the same studio, and in the 1960's, Hanna-Barbera toplined him in "Top Cat", using a smoother variation of his voice to emulate Phil Silvers' Bilko routine. Here's a great example of Stang playing Shorty - the 1944 Popeye cartoon "Moving Aweigh" - please forgive the wrong main title card, music in the beginning, and the extremely annoying speed increase. This is one of the very first Famous Studios cartoons scored by Winston Sharples.

Arnold did have one interesting artifact in his career. He was teamed with a young European bodybuilder named Arnold Schwarzenegger for a 1970 film variously titled "Hercules in New York" and "Hercules Goes Bananas". Schwarzenegger's name was changed to Arnold Strong (to play off Arnold Stang) and his voice was dubbed since it was thought that people wouldn't understand his thick accent. Since I can't embed the whole movie here is a selection of clips.

1 comment:

Callie said...

Come to think of it, Top Cat does resemble Phil Silvers as Sgt. Ernest Bilko: voice, wild schemes, the whole nine yards.

Another 2009 death. Arnold Stang just followed by Oral Roberts and Roy E. Disney. :(