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Ravenscroft in 1967
Thurl Arthur Ravenscroft
February 6, 1914
Norfolk, Nebraska, U.S.
|Died||May 22, 2005 91) (aged|
Fullerton, California, U.S.
|Resting place||Crystal Cathedral Memorial Gardens, Garden Grove, California|
|Alma mater||Otis College of Art and Design|
|Occupation||Actor, voice actor, singer|
(m. 1946;died 1999)
Thurl Arthur Ravenscroft ( // ; February 6, 1914 – May 22, 2005) was an American actor, voice actor and bass singer known as the booming voice behind Kellogg's Frosted Flakes animated spokesman Tony the Tiger for more than five decades. He was also the uncredited vocalist for the song "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" from the classic Christmas television special, Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
Ravenscroft did some voice-over work and singing for Disney in both the films and the attractions at Disneyland (which were later featured at Walt Disney World). The best known of these attractions are Haunted Mansion as a singing bust, Country Bear Jamboree, Mark Twain Riverboat, Pirates of the Caribbean, Disneyland Railroad, and Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room as "Fritz".
His voice acting career began in 1940 and lasted until his death in 2005 at age 91.
Ravenscroft left his native Norfolk, Nebraska, in 1933 for California, where he studied at Otis Art Institute. He achieved early success as part of a singing group called The Mellomen. The Mellomen can be heard on many popular recordings of the Big Band Era, including backup for Bing Crosby, Frankie Laine, Spike Jones, Jo Stafford, and Rosemary Clooney. Their earliest contribution to a Disney film was for Pinocchio (1940), to which they contributed the song "Honest John". This was deleted from the film, but can still be heard in the supplements on the 2009 DVD. Ravenscroft also voiced Monstro the Whale in Pinocchio. The Mellomen contributed to other Disney films, such as Alice in Wonderland and Lady and the Tramp . The group appeared on camera in a few episodes of the Disney anthology television series; in one instance recording a canine chorus for Lady and the Tramp and in another as a barbershop quartet that reminds Walt Disney of the name of the young newspaper reporter Gallegher.
Ravenscroft is also heard with the quartet on some of the Merrie Melodies and Looney Tunes with Mel Blanc at Warner Bros. as well as on radio "driving Jack Benny crazy" on The Jack Benny Program.
During World War II, Ravenscroft served as a civilian navigator contracted to the U.S. Air Transport Command, spending five years flying courier missions across the north and south Atlantic. Among the notables carried on board his flights were Winston Churchill and Bob Hope. As he told an interviewer: "I flew Winston Churchill to a conference in Algiers and flew Bob Hope to the troops a couple of times. So it was fun."
Ravenscroft sang bass on Rosemary Clooney's "This Ole House", which went to No. 1 in both the United States and Britain in 1954, as well as Stuart Hamblen's original version of that same song. He sang on the soundtrack for Ken Clark as "Stewpot" in South Pacific , one of the top-selling albums of the 1950s. Singing with the Johnny Mann Singers, his distinctive bass can also be heard as part of the chorus on 28 of their albums that were released during the 1960s and 1970s. He was also the bass singer on Bobby Vee's 1960 Liberty hit record "Devil or Angel". Andy Williams' recording of "The 12 Days of Christmas" features him as well. In the 1980s and 1990s, Ravenscroft was narrator for the annual Pageant of the Masters art show at the Laguna Beach, California, Festival of the Arts.
He sang the opening songs for the two Disney serials used on The Mickey Mouse Club, Boys of the Western Sea and The Hardy Boys: Mystery of the Applegate Treasure.
He sang the "Twitterpatter Song" and "Thumper's Song" on the Disneyland record Peter Cottontail and other Funny Bunnies.
On the Disneyland record All About Dragons, he both provided the narration and sang the songs "The Reluctant Dragon" and "The Loch Ness Monster".
His voice was heard during the Pirates of the Caribbean ride as well as the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland as Uncle Theodore, the lead vocalist of the singing busts in the cemetery near the end of the ride.He also played the Narrator in The Story and Song From the Haunted Mansion . Ravenscroft is also heard in the Enchanted Tiki Room as the voice of Fritz the Animatronics parrot, as well as the tree-like Tangaroa tiki god in the pre-show outside the attraction. He was also the voice of the Disneyland Railroad in the 1990s. Further roles include that of The First Mate on The Mark Twain Riverboat and of the American bison head named Buff at The Country Bear Jamboree.
One of Ravenscroft's best-known uncredited works is as the vocalist for the song "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch." His name was accidentally omitted from the credits, leading many to believe that the cartoon's narrator, Boris Karloff, sang the song, while others cited Tennessee Ernie Ford as the song's signature voice.
Ravenscroft also sang "No Dogs Allowed" in the Peanuts animated motion picture Snoopy, Come Home and I Was a Teenaged Brain Surgeon for Spike Jones.
For more than 50 years, he was the uncredited voice of Tony the Tiger for Kellogg's Frosted Flakes. His booming bass gave the cereal's tiger mascot a voice with the catchphrase "They're g-r-r-r-eat!!!!".
Various record companies, such as Abbott, Coral, Brunswick, and "X" (a division of RCA) also released singles by Ravenscroft, often in duets with little-known female vocalists, in an attempt to turn the bass-voiced veteran into a pop singer. These efforts were commercially unsuccessful, if often quite interesting. He was also teamed up with the Andrews Sisters (on the Dot Records album The Andrews Sisters Present) on the cover of Johnny Cymbal's "Mr. Bass Man". The Mellomen released some doo-wop records under the name Big John & the Buzzards, a name apparently given to them by the rock-and-roll-hating Mitch Miller.
A devoted Christian, he appeared on many religious television shows such as The Hour of Power . In 1970, he recorded an album called "Great Hymns in Story and Song", which featured him singing 10 hymns, each prefaced with the stories of how each hymn came to be, with the background vocals and instrumentals arranged and conducted by Ralph Carmichael.
He said his lifelong dream was to record the entire Bible on tape, but James Earl Jones "beat him out".[ citation needed ] On an episode of the TV variety series Donny & Marie featuring guest stars from the first Star Wars movie, Ravenscroft provided the voice for Darth Vader, voiced in the movie by Jones.[ citation needed ]
Ravenscroft married June Seamans in 1946 and they had two children. June died in 1999 from unknown causes. Ravenscroft semi-retired and did not work at any other studio, but continued to voice Tony the Tiger through 2004 (with limo transportation by Kellogg's) and was also interviewed that year by the Disney "Extinct Attractions Club" website. He died in his home on May 22, 2005 from prostate cancer. He was buried at the Memorial Gardens at the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California.
In the June 6, 2005 issue of the advertising industry journal Advertising Age , Kellogg's ran an advertisement commemorating Ravenscroft, the headline reading: "Behind every great character is an even greater man." After his death, Lee Marshall replaced him as the voice of Tony the Tiger in the Kellogg's commercials, but some commercials still recycle clips of Ravenscroft.[ citation needed ]
|1940||Pinocchio||Monstro the Whale||Voice|
|1940||Isle of Destiny||Sportsman Quartet Member|
|1941||Dumbo||Singer of "Look Out For Mr. Stork" and "Pink Elephants on Parade"||Voice|
|The Nifty Nineties||Singer||Voice|
|1942||Saludos Amigos||Singer of the main title theme||Voice|
|1951||Alice in Wonderland||Card Painter||Voice|
|1952||Jack and the Beanstalk||Singing voices of two villagers|
|1953||Peter Pan||Singer / Pirates||Voice|
|Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom||Singer|
|1954||Rose Marie||Medicine Man|
|1955||Daddy Long Legs||Daydream Sequence Song||Short, Voice|
|1955||Lady and the Tramp||Al the Alligator / Singing Pound Dogs||Voice|
|1956||Design for Dreaming||(singer)||Voice|
|1956||Hardy Boys||Theme Song||Voice|
|1958||Paul Bunyan||Paul Bunyan||Short, Voice|
|1961||One Hundred and One Dalmatians||Captain the Horse||Voice|
|1962||Gay Purr-ee||Hench Cat|
|1963||The Sword in the Stone||Sir Bart||Voice|
|1964||Mary Poppins||Andrew the dog / Banker / Pig / Animal Sounds||Voice|
|1965||The Man from Button Willow||Singer / Reverend / Saloon Man||Voice|
|1966||How the Grinch Stole Christmas||Singer of "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch"|
|1967||The Jungle Book||Colonel Hathi's crew|
|The War Wagon||Backup singer on main theme|
|1968/1977||Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day / The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh||Singer/Black Honeypot|
|1969||Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid||Singing Voice|
|The Trouble with Girls||Bass Singer||with the Bible Singers Quartet (The Mellomen)|
|1970||Horton Hears a Who!||Wickersham Brother|
|The Phantom Tollbooth||Lethargians|
|The Aristocats||Billy Bass - Russian Cat||Voice|
|1971||The Cat in the Hat||Thing One||Voice|
|Bedknobs and Broomsticks||Singing voice of Russian vendor / Various cartoon animal voices|
|1972||Snoopy, Come Home||Singer of "No Dogs Allowed"||Voice|
|Halloween Is Grinch Night||Singer / Monsters||Voice|
|Donny & Marie||Darth Vader / Narrator||Star Wars Segment|
|1978||The Small One||Potter|
|1979||Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July||Genie of the Ice Scepter||Voice|
|1980||The Return of the King||Goblins/Chorus||Voice, Uncredited|
|1987||The Brave Little Toaster||Kirby||Voice|
|1990||Disney Sing Along Songs: Disneyland Fun – It's a Small World||Singer of "Grim Grinning Ghosts"|
|1996||Superior Duck||The Narrator|
|1997||The Brave Little Toaster to the Rescue||Kirby||Voice; Final films|
|1998||The Brave Little Toaster Goes to Mars|
|late 1970s-early 1980s||Toys R Us||Geoffrey the Giraffe|
|1953–2005||Kellogg's Frosted Flakes||Tony the Tiger|
Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room is an attraction located in Disneyland at the Disneyland Resort, in Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World, and in Tokyo Disneyland at Tokyo Disney Resort. Opened on June 23, 1963 at the Disneyland Resort, the attraction is a pseudo-Polynesian musical animatronic show drawing from American tiki culture.
Frosted Flakes or Frosties is a breakfast cereal, produced by the Kellogg Company and consisting of sugar-coated corn flakes. It was introduced in the United States in 1952, as Sugar Frosted Flakes. The word "sugar" was dropped from the name in 1983.
Tony the Tiger is the advertising cartoon mascot for Kellogg's Frosted Flakes breakfast cereal, appearing on its packaging and advertising. Tony has also been the mascot for related cereals such as Tony's Cinnamon Krunchers and Tiger Power. Since Tony's debut in 1952, the character has spanned several generations and become a breakfast cereal icon.
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Remember... Dreams Come True was a fireworks display at Disneyland commemorating the 50th anniversary of the park. Described by director Steve Davison as an "E ticket in the sky", the show featured fireworks, lower level pyrotechnics, isopar flame effects, projection mapping, lasers, searchlights, and lighting set to the soundtracks of some of Disneyland's most famous rides and shows. It was created as a homage to Disneyland and Disney parks worldwide, its lands and attractions, and its continuing legacy.
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"You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" is a Christmas song that was originally written and composed for the 1966 cartoon special Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
The Enchanted Tiki Room was an attraction located in the Magic Kingdom theme park at the Walt Disney World Resort. It was an updated version of Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room, which was previously known in the Florida park as Tropical Serenade, that featured the bird characters Iago and Zazu from the respective Walt Disney Animation Studios franchises Aladdin and The Lion King. The ride ran for almost thirteen years from April 1998 until January 2011, when a small fire damaged the attraction, leading Disney to bring back the original Enchanted Tiki Room to Florida.
Halloween Is Grinch Night is a 1977 Halloween television special and is the prequel to How the Grinch Stole Christmas! It premiered on ABC on October 29, 1977. The original voice actor for the Grinch, Boris Karloff, by then deceased, was replaced by Hans Conried, though Thurl Ravenscroft, who sang on the original special, again provided singing vocals. The songs were written by Sesame Street composer Joe Raposo.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas! is a 1966 television special directed and co-produced by Chuck Jones. It is based on the eponymous children's book by Dr. Seuss, the story of the Grinch trying to take away Christmas from the townsfolk of Whoville below his mountain hideaway. Originally telecast in the United States on CBS on December 18, 1966, it went on to become a perennial holiday special. The special also features the voice of Boris Karloff as the Grinch and the narrator.
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"That's What Friends Are For " is a song in the Walt Disney film The Jungle Book from 1967. It was sung by a quartet of "mop top" vultures who are making friends with Mowgli, the main character of the film. The song was written by Disney staff songwriters, Robert and Richard Sherman, and sung primarily by J. Pat O'Malley, Lord Tim Hudson, Digby Wolfe, and Chad Stuart. Bruce Reitherman and Thurl Ravenscroft both made cameo appearances in the song singing as Mowgli and Shere Khan the tiger, respectively, in different parts. In the soundtrack album, The Mellomen member Bill Lee replaced the unavailable Sanders.
"The Tiki, Tiki, Tiki Room" is the official song for Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room, an attraction at the Disneyland theme park. It was written in 1963 by Disney staff songwriters, The Sherman Brothers: Robert B. and Richard M. Sherman, and recorded by The Mellomen. The song's was the first written for an Audio-Animatronic attraction. A studio-recorded soundtrack of the Enchanted Tiki Room was released in 1968 by Disneyland Records as the A side of the album The Enchanted Tiki Room (ST-3966), whose B side included music from the Disney Jungle Cruise attraction.
Fulton Burley was an Irish-Canadian performer, most widely known for his work in Disneyland. Born in Toronto, Ontario, and raised in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, Fulton came to the United States in 1943 after a telephone audition landed him the singing lead in Billy Rose's Diamond Horseshoe Revue on Broadway. He later marveled at his "Irish" luck saying, "The peculiar thing is I was at the Golden Horseshoe for 25 years, and I had started [my professional career] at the Diamond Horseshoe."
The Ron Hicklin Singers were a group of Los Angeles studio singers contracted and organized by Ron Hicklin. They are mostly known as the real singers behind the background vocals on The Partridge Family recordings.
The Mellomen were a popular singing quartet active from the late 1940s through the mid-1970s. The group was founded by Thurl Ravenscroft and Max Smith in 1948. They recorded under a variety of names, including Big John and the Buzzards, the Crackerjacks, the Lee Brothers, and the Ravenscroft Quartet. They were sometimes credited as the Mellowmen, the Mello Men, or the Mellow Men. They sang backup to some of the best-known artists of the day, including Rosemary Clooney, Bing Crosby, Doris Day, Arlo Guthrie, Frankie Laine, Peggy Lee, Elvis Presley, and Jo Stafford.
Bill Lee was an American playback singer who provided a voice or singing voice in many films, for actors in musicals and for many Disney characters. He was born in Johnson, Nebraska, and died on November 15, 1980 of a brain tumor in Los Angeles, California.
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