Some time last year, I saw this photo from ComicCon on i-am-bored:
I’ve come for your SOOOUL!
The first thing I thought was, “Hey, it’s Gameboy, from Captain N: the Game Master. Then I probably started talking like Mother Brain for a while. I think. How am I supposed to remember what happened a year ago? Anyway, that’s not Gameboy, it’s Beemo from Adventure Time, as the ever-so-friendly and helpful denizens of the i-am-bored comments section pointed out several times. I’d never heard of Beemo or Adventure Time, so I just moved on, and clicked on something else. I’m not sure what. Probably this:
Then early this summer, I was flipping through the channels and saw a spider that sounded like Bobcat Goldthwait. The spider was lamenting that he and his wife always fight, and as he poured his heart out to the food trapped in his web, he farted out a steady stream of white webbing goo. It was Adventure Time, and it was odd enough to keep me from changing the channel. The next episode, “Another Way,” sealed the deal, and I haven’t missed an episode since.
Adventure Time is about Finn the Human and Jake the Dog and their adventures in the Land of Ooo, which –according to the show’s creator Pendleton Ward–is actually a post-apocalyptic Earth in the distant future. And most of the inhabitants are candy people. Basically, the show is like Calvin and Hobbes playing Dungeons and Dragons on a Candyland board.
After that setup, and the fact that a new episode aired last night at 7:30 on Cartoon Network, you’d probably think I’m going to spend the rest of the post talking about Adventure Time. But you’d be wrong, because I’m wily and unpredictable.
I’ll start off with this image I saw on my Facebook feed a few weeks ago:
The caption was “Why I can’t watch this show.” Yes, John DiMaggio voices both characters, and they sound similar, but not exactly the same. And even if they did, what’s wrong with sounding like Bender? That picture on the right is awesome.
Lorenzo Music made a pretty good living for himself by doing the same voice all the time. He was the voice of Garfield from 1982 until his death in 2001. And wether he was playing a Gummi Bear, a crash test dummy, or Ralph the All Purpose Animal, his voice was unmistakable. He was Peter Venkman on The Real Ghostbusters until Bill Murray complained that his cartoon self sounded like Garfield and they replaced him with Dave Coulier’s lazy Carl Spackler impression. Oddly enough, after Music died (at which point everyone drove their Chevys to the levy) Bill Murray became the voice of Garfield.
He’s the exception, though. Most voice actors do several different voices. Like Jim Cummings. If you don’t know who Jim Cummings is, he’s this guy:
Jim Cummings does a lot of other voices for Disney, including the current voices of Winnie the Pooh (taking over from Sterling Halloway) and Tigger (originally Paul Winchell). I’m really only mentioning him here because he narrates a commercial at Target for classic Dr. Seuss stories on Blu Ray, and he says “Blu Ray” all weird, like “For the first time on Blu RAY” with the accent on “Ray”. That’s not right, Jim Cummings. You get paid to say words. Say them correctly.
Then there’s Frank Welker. He’s worked with John DiMaggio on Futurama as Nibbler, with Lorenzo Music on Ghostbusters as Ray Stanz, and with Jim Cummings in Aladdin as Abu the Monkey. He’s also Fred from Scooby Doo, Baby Kermit, Megatron and Soundwave. That’s right. Baby Kermit and freaking Megatron are the same guy. Not to mention just about every animal you’ve ever heard in every movie. Which is why Frank Welker is number 1 on the list of top 100 credited actors at the box office since 1980. His 95+ feature films have grossed over 6 billion dollars.
What I would like to know is, if Frank Welker can do characters as varied as Dr. Claw to Hefty Smurf, why does the dolphin from SeaQuest sound exactly like the robot from Space Camp?