Bob Bergen had a life goal of voicing Porky Pig, once going so far as to find out where Looney Tunes veteran Mel Blanc would be recording so that he could peek in and learn from the best. In the time since, he’s gotten good enough that he’s nabbed his dream job, and although he recently noted that the powers that be have made him audition for the role four times, he’s always earned it. Still, that doesn’t mean that voicing Porky Pig is always easy. In fact, at a Boomerang Comic-Con panel, Bob Bergen revealed what he feels is the hardest thing about playing the iconic Looney Tunes character, and it’s a really, really specific issue.
The hardest thing for me to do is actually, ‘That’s all folks.’ Porky Pig would come out of the drum and say, ‘That’s all folks.’ And then, in the early forties he would start spelling it out at the end of the cartoons. And he didn’t say it again until the eighties when he would go on talk shows. And so when I do it I always go, ‘Do you want Mel from the thirties or do you want what to me I consider the prime Porky time?’ I think for Daffy too it’s ’55, ’56… So, it’s a hard thing for me to say ‘That’s all folks’ because it never sounds like what Mel sounded like when he did it.
It’s sort of amazing to think that the hardest part of playing a character might be tossing out one of the character’s most famous lines. But apparently, because the line is iconic and because there really are multiple iterations of the voice to choose from, Bob Bergen finds it to be a major challenge. It actually makes sense the more you think about it too. If someone suddenly had to replace Homer Simpson–or as we’ve seen recently, Kermit The Frog — they would realize those voices have evolved over the years. You may not notice because the process has happened slowly, but when you watch back-to-back clips decades apart, you can tell little things like inflections are definitely not the same. So, which version is the real voice? The classic one or the most recent one? People who voice these iconic characters actually have to make a choice.
New Looney Tunes is currently airing on Boomerang, and while the show might not presently be at a peak of popularity, the beloved characters, including Porky Pig, remain as much a part of popular culture as ever. In fact, you can’t sign onto Facebook or Twitter without seeing the characters used in memes and references. So, contrary to what Porky Pig might tell you, what you’ve gotten so far is not all, folks, and it won’t be anytime for the foreseeable future.
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