Animators should understand the power of a character’s voice. When I taught animation, it was always fun to work with students choosing audio clips for lip sync assignments. There is so much possibility for inspiration. The voice IS the personality.
Back in the golden age of cartoons, animators had exposure to many great voices on the radio, and that’s where many character actors got their start. Here is one I decided to follow up on. Droopy Dog was inspired by a voice on a popular radio show. In an interview, Droopys creator, Tex Avery, said this to Joe Adamson:
Adamson: How was Droopy created?
AVERY: We built it on a voice. FIBBER McGEE AND MOLLY, the old radio show, had a funny little mush-mouth fellow, so we said “Hell, let’s put a dog to it.” It was the voice we thought so much of. It was a steal; there ain’t no doubt about it.
ADAMSON: Was it the same kind of character?
AVERY: No, on radio he was a human. He was a little meek guy, and it was Bill Thompson who did the voice. He couldn’t give us exactly the same voice for the show, for legal reasons, but he came close.Tex Avery: King of Cartoons 193
Thanks to the internet, I was easily able to find a sample of Bill Thompson’s voice for the character, named Wallace Wimpole. It’s fun to hear a recognizable cartoon voice in a different context.
Here is a publicity photo of Thompson as Wimpole.