Thursday, April 14, 2011

Kimba Konnections: (1) From Atom to Astro... and Beyond? (2) The Proto-Pauley?

In order to supplement my reviews of Kimba the White Lion episodes, I've been diligently searching the 'net for interesting tidbits about the talented crew who gave vocal life to these wonderful characters (and, I should also remind you, did virtually all of the writing, as well). I've uncovered some real gems -- including a play written by Billie Lou Watt (yes, really!) -- and will be sharing them with you from time to time. Here are two good ones involving Billie Lou and Gilbert Mack.

Review of "E = MC Squared" by Leon Morse,
VARIETY, June 15, 1948

E = MC Squared, described as a "living newspaper on atomic energy" (doesn't that sound like something a Bill Walsh character would have created in a late-40s MICKEY MOUSE strip?) was an "experimental theater" production starring E.G. Marshall and a bunch of spear-carriers... with one B.L. Watt receiving third billing. Here's why:

"A charming atom"... was this an early appearance of what would become the voice of Astro Boy and, later, Kimba? It wouldn't surprise me. Billie Lou was very active in radio commercials as well as stage work during this period. Her stage career was considered promising enough that she received two write-ups in LOOK magazine (issues of 1/22/46 and 6/24/47). I don't have those, but perhaps I can get them from ebay or some other source and share them with you.

Also during the 1940s and 1950s, Gil Mack mixed extensive work on radio with stints recording for Little Golden Records. One of these gigs was a sound presentation of the classic Little Golden Book THE SAGGY BAGGY ELEPHANT (1947), the tale of the hapless pachyderm who is heckled for his looks before meeting other elephants that make him feel like he fits in. One of the main hecklers is a noisy parrot, voiced by guess who:

The voice is a little higher, but it's definitely a call-forward to Pauley Cracker.  And, yes, "Mitchell Miller" is indeed the famed "Sing-Along" guy.

This coming weekend: We take an ASTRO BOY BREAK before getting back to KIMBA.

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