This week, Ira Sternberg spoke with voice actor Rob Paulsen, appearing at Unicon in Las Vegas, Oct. 1-3. In this 30-minute episode of Talk About Las Vegas, Paulsen talks about becoming a voice artist and discovering the joy it gives to people; why he’s in “the happy business”; his battle with throat cancer and what he learned from his doctors, including the admonition to not discount the power of joy; his realization that the desire to create is no different at 65 than it was at 15; why humor is boundless; and why it’s important to maintain a sense of proportion.
Early voice work on series such as the animated “G.I. Joe” brought Paulsen in contact with the world of professional voice actors at a time when the profession and the industry was just about to explode. Along with industry vets like Frank Welker, Tress MacNeille, Billy West, John DiMaggio, and LaMarche, Paulsen became a part of the “next generation” of great voice artists following in the tradition of Mel Blanc, June Foray, Arthur Q. Bryan, Hans Conried, Don Messick, and Bea Benadaret. “G.I. Joe” lead to an audition at Hanna-Barbara for a revival of the classic series, “Jonny Quest.” Paulsen landed the role of Hadji, Jonny’s Indian-born adopted brother, and he knew he had found a career.
He credits veteran television director Gordon Hunt for casting him and mentoring him at a key point in his career. That early success came right at the advent of the cable revolution and the millennial baby boom, and there was suddenly a demand for family-oriented programming that would enchant young viewers as well as their parents – parents who had their own connections and memories to animation from years of growing up watching cartoons on Saturday morning.
Disney, Warner Brothers, and Hanna-Barbara all started reviving old series and creating new ones, while networks like Nickelodeon and syndication outlets began demanding more original daytime programming. Paulsen and his colleagues have worked for all of them, using their talents to literally bring to life some of the most beloved original characters of a generation while simultaneously bringing back to life the classic characters of yesteryear.
Voice Lessons: https://tinyurl.com/9x9ba6v2