Billy Bletcher

Last updated
Billy Bletcher
Short and Snappy (1921) - 1.jpg
Billy Bletcher (left) and Bobby Vernon in Short and Snappy (1921)
Born
William Bletcher

(1894-09-24)September 24, 1894
DiedJanuary 5, 1979(1979-01-05) (aged 84)
OccupationActor, voice actor
Years active19141971
Spouse(s)
Arlyn H. Roberts(m. 1915)
Children1

William Bletcher (September 24, 1894 January 5, 1979) [1] was an American actor and voice actor. He is mostly well known for his role as the voice of Pete in the Mickey Mouse short films from 1932 to 1954.

Pete (Disney) animal cartoon character, generally an antagonist of Mickey Mouse

Pete is an anthropomorphic cartoon character created in 1925 by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks. He is a character of The Walt Disney Company and often appears as a nemesis and the main antagonist in Mickey Mouse universe stories. He was originally an anthropomorphic bear but with the advent of Mickey Mouse in 1928, he was defined as a cat. Pete is the oldest continuing Disney character, having debuted three years before Mickey Mouse in the cartoon Alice Solves the Puzzle (1925).

Contents

Career

Bletcher appeared on-screen in films and later television from the 1910s to the 1970s, including appearances in several Our Gang and The Three Stooges comedies.

<i>Our Gang</i> film series

Our Gang is a series of American comedy short films about a group of poor neighborhood children and their adventures. Created by comedy producer Hal Roach, the series was produced from 1922 to 1944 and is noted for showing children behaving in a relatively natural way. Roach and original director Robert F. McGowan worked to film the unaffected, raw nuances apparent in regular children rather than have them imitate adult acting styles. The series broke new ground by portraying white and black boys and girls interacting as equals.

The Three Stooges American comedy team

The Three Stooges were an American vaudeville and comedy team active from 1922 until 1970, best known for their 190 short subject films by Columbia Pictures that have been regularly airing on television since 1958. Their hallmark was physical farce and slapstick. Six stooges appeared over the act's run : Moe Howard and Larry Fine were mainstays throughout the ensemble's nearly fifty-year run and the pivotal "third Stooge" was played by Shemp Howard, Curly Howard, Shemp Howard again, Joe Besser, and Curly Joe DeRita.

He was most active as a voice actor. His voice was a deep, strong and booming baritone. Bletcher provided the voices of various characters for Walt Disney Animation Studios (Black Pete, Short Ghost and the Big Bad Wolf in Three Little Pigs and its spin-offs). [2] He auditioned to play one of the dwarfs in Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937). However, Walt Disney disapproved for fear that people would recognize Bletcher from the studio's Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck short subjects. [2]

Walt Disney Animation Studios Walt Disney Company animation studio

Walt Disney Animation Studios (WDAS), also referred to as Disney Animation, headquartered at the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California, is an American animation studio that creates animated feature films, short films and television specials for The Walt Disney Company. Founded on October 16, 1923, it is a division of Walt Disney Studios. The studio has produced 57 feature films, from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) to Ralph Breaks the Internet (2018).

<i>Three Little Pigs</i> (film) 1933 short animated film directed by Burt Gillett

Three Little Pigs is an animated short film released on May 27, 1933 by United Artists, produced by Walt Disney and directed by Burt Gillett. Based on a fable of the same name, the Silly Symphony won the 1934 Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. The short cost $22,000 and grossed $250,000. In 1994, it was voted #11 of the 50 Greatest Cartoons of all time by members of the animation field. In 2007, Three Little Pigs was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

<i>Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs</i> (1937 film) 1937 American animated film produced by Walt Disney Productions

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is a 1937 American animated musical fantasy film produced by Walt Disney Productions and originally released by RKO Radio Pictures. Based on the German fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm, it is the first full-length cel animated feature film and the earliest Disney animated feature film. The story was adapted by storyboard artists Dorothy Ann Blank, Richard Creedon, Merrill De Maris, Otto Englander, Earl Hurd, Dick Rickard, Ted Sears and Webb Smith. David Hand was the supervising director, while William Cottrell, Wilfred Jackson, Larry Morey, Perce Pearce, and Ben Sharpsteen directed the film's individual sequences.

His booming voice can also be heard as "Dom Del Oro" the Yacqi Indian god in the 1939 Republic serial, Zorro's Fighting Legion . He also provided voice work for Ub Iwerks as the Pincushion man in the 1935 animated short Balloon Land , as well as Owl Jolson's disciplinarian violinist father in the 1936 Warner Bros. short subject based on the song I Love to Singa and the menacing spider in Bingo Crosbyana .

<i>Zorros Fighting Legion</i> 1939 film by John English, William Witney

Zorro's Fighting Legion is a 1939 Republic Pictures film serial consisting of twelve chapters starring Reed Hadley as Zorro and directed by William Witney and John English. The plot revolves around his alter-ego Don Diego's fight against the evil Don Del Oro.

Ub Iwerks American animator and special effects pioneer

Ub Iwerks, A.S.C. was an American animator, cartoonist, character designer, inventor, and special effects technician, who created Oswald the Lucky Rabbit and Mickey Mouse. The works Iwerks produced alongside Walt Disney went on to win numerous awards, including multiple Academy Awards.

<i>Balloon Land</i> 1935 film by Ub Iwerks

Balloon Land, also known as The Pincushion Man, is a 1935 animated short film produced by Ub Iwerks as part of the ComiColor Cartoons series. The cartoon is about a place called Balloon Land, whose residents are made entirely out of balloons. The villain in the cartoon is the Pincushion Man, a character who walks around Balloon Land popping the inhabitants with pins.

In 1939, Billy Bletcher and Pinto Colvig were hired to perform ADR work for the Munchkins in The Wizard of Oz . [2] In MGM films, he voiced Spike the Bulldog and on some occasions even Tom and Jerry, in Tom and Jerry , and in Warner Bros. many characters, most notably the Papa Bear of Chuck Jones' The Three Bears. He portrayed the villainous wolf in Little Red Riding Rabbit (1944).

Pinto Colvig actor

Vance DeBar Colvig, professionally Pinto Colvig, was an American vaudeville actor, voice actor, newspaper cartoonist and circus performer, whose schtick was playing the clarinet off-key while mugging. Colvig was the original Bozo the Clown, and the original voice of the Disney characters Pluto and Goofy. In 1993, he was posthumously made a Disney Legend for his contributions to Walt Disney Films, including Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Fun and Fancy Free.

Dubbing (filmmaking) post-production process used in filmmaking and video production

Dubbing, mixing or re-recording, is a post-production process used in filmmaking and video production in which additional or supplementary recordings are "mixed" with original production sound to create the finished soundtrack.

<i>The Wizard of Oz</i> (1939 film) 1939 movie based on the book by L. Frank Baum

The Wizard of Oz is a 1939 American musical fantasy film produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, currently distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. Widely considered to be one of the greatest films in cinema history, it is the best-known and most commercially successful adaptation of L. Frank Baum's 1900 children's book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Directed primarily by Victor Fleming, the film stars Judy Garland as Dorothy Gale alongside Ray Bolger, Jack Haley, Bert Lahr, Frank Morgan, Billie Burke and Margaret Hamilton with Charley Grapewin, Pat Walshe, Clara Blandick, Terry and Singer's Midgets as the Munchkins.

Bletcher did voice acting for the 1944 Private Snafu World War II training film "Gas", where Bletcher plays the villainous Gas Cloud. Bletcher also played The Captain in Captain and the Kids with MGM cartoons.

Private Snafu title character of a series

Private Snafu is the title character of a series of black-and-white American instructional adult cartoon shorts, ironic and humorous in tone, that were produced between 1943 and 1945 during World War II. The films were designed to instruct service personnel about security, proper sanitation habits, booby traps and other military subjects, and to improve troop morale. Primarily, they demonstrate the negative consequences of doing things wrong. The main character's name is a play on the military slang acronym SNAFU, "Situation Normal: All Fouled Up."

In 1950, he played several characters on The Lone Ranger radio program as well as appearing in episode 27 of the TV series.

In 1971, Bletcher played one of his final roles, Pappy Yokum in a television adaptation of Lil Abner . In 1978, he was originally hired to voice the Weed on The Plastic Man Comedy/Adventure Show , but had to drop out due to illness. [3]

Personal life and death

Bletcher married actress Arlyn H. Roberts in 1915; together they have a daughter, Barbra. [4] They remained married until Bletcher's death in 1979. [4]

Bletcher died at the age of 84 on January 5, 1979 in Los Angeles, California, he was survived by his wife Arlyn and their daughter Barbra. [4] Bletcher's wife Arlyn, passed away thirteen years later on July 3, 1992 at the age of 99.[ citation needed ]

Selected filmography

Related Research Articles

This page is a listing of the significant cast and crew for Hal Roach's Our Gang short subjects series, which ran in movie theatres from 1922 to 1944.

Billy Gilbert 1894–1971 American comedian and actor

William "Billy" Gilbert was an American comedian and actor known for his comic sneeze routines. He appeared in over 200 feature films, short subjects and television shows starting in 1929.

Edward Brophy American actor and comedian

Edward Santree Brophy was an American character actor and comedian. Small of build, balding, and raucous-voiced, he frequently portrayed dumb cops and gangsters, both serious and comic.

Charles Middleton (actor) American actor

Charles B. Middleton was an American stage and film actor. During a film career that began at age 46 and lasted almost 30 years, he appeared in nearly 200 films as well as numerous plays. He is perhaps best remembered for his role as the villainous emperor Ming the Merciless in the three Flash Gordon serials made between 1936 and 1940.

Luis Alberni actor

Luis Alberni was a Spanish-born American character actor of stage and films.

Monte Blue actor

Monte Blue was a movie actor who began his career as a romantic leading man in the silent film era, and later progressed to character roles.

Raymond Walburn actor

Raymond Walburn was an American character actor of stage and screen who appeared in dozens of Hollywood movie comedies and an occasional dramatic role during the 1930s and 1940s.

Paul Hurst (actor) American actor and film director

Paul Causey Hurst was an American actor and director.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer cartoon studio

The Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer cartoon studio was the in-house division of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) film studio in Hollywood, responsible for producing animated shorts to accompany MGM feature films in Loew's Theaters. Active from 1937 until 1957, the cartoon studio created some popular cartoon characters, including Tom and Jerry and Droopy.

<i>The Bodyguard</i> (1944 film) Tom and Jerry cartoon

The Bodyguard is a 1944 American one-reel Technicolor animated cartoon and is the 15th Tom and Jerry short. It was directed by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, produced by Fred Quimby and animated by Ken Muse, Ray Patterson, Irven Spence and Pete Burness. The cartoon features Spike the bulldog in his second role, though this is the first time he speaks. It was released to theatres on July 22, 1944 by Metro-Goldwyn Mayer.

Spike and Tyke are fictional characters from the Tom and Jerry animated film series, created by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera. Spike is portrayed as an American bulldog, who is generally friendly and amiable, and a loving father to his son Tyke in several episodes. However, Spike's character also has a very stern, and fierce side, for occasions such as when he is defending his son Tyke.

Wheeler Oakman American silent film actor

Wheeler Vivian Oakman was an American film actor.

Harry Woods (actor) American actor

Harry Woods was an American film actor.

Addison Richards actor

Addison Whittaker Richards, Jr. was an American actor of film and television. Richards appeared in more than three hundred films between 1933 and his death.

Bud Jamison actor

Bud Jamison was an American film actor. He appeared in 450 films between 1915 and 1944.

Joe Rickson was an American actor of the silent era. He appeared in 90 films between 1913 and 1945. He was born in Clearcreek, Montana and died in Los Angeles, California.

Warren Hymer actor

Warren Hymer was an American actor.

Ralf Harolde American actor

Ralf Harolde was an American character actor, who often played gangsters. Between 1920 and 1963, he appeared in 99 films, including Jimmy the Gent, Night Nurse, Baby Take a Bow, A Tale of Two Cities, Our Relations, and Murder, My Sweet.

The year 1979 in animation involved some events.

Tom Turk and Daffy is a 1944 American animated short film in the Looney Tunes series directed by Chuck Jones and starring Daffy Duck, Porky Pig and a turkey named Tom Turk. The voices of Daffy and Porky were done by Mel Blanc, while Tom Turk was voiced by Billy Bletcher.

References

  1. "Billy Bletcher". Behind The Voice Actors. 1979-01-05. Retrieved 2017-02-21.
  2. 1 2 3 "Interview with Billy Bletcher, by Michael Barrier and Milton Gray". Funnyworld. 1978. Retrieved 2017-02-21.
  3. "Today's Video Link" by Mark Evanier. Retrieved 2017-11-22.
  4. 1 2 3 Katchmer, George A. (2002). A Biographical Dictionary of Silent Western Actors and Actresses. Cary. ISBN   9780786486946.