Monday, May 25, 2009

Good Bye to Lois and Mickey!

Over the past week we’ve lost two significant voices…

JOAN ALEXANDER was the radio voice of LOIS LANE in the SUPERMAN radio show, and carried that role (with co-star Bud Collyer) into the Max Fleischer SUPERMAN theatrical cartoons of the early 1940s.

And, maybe just as important to me as a child of the sixties, continued the role (again with Bud Clark/Superman Collyer) for the 1966-1969 Superman animated series produced by Filmation!

Can’t speak for the radio program, but both animation performances are yours to enjoy on DVD in the 2009 release Max Fleischer’s Superman 1941-1942 and the 2007 release The New Adventures of Superman. You can read my long review of the Filmation Superman DVD set HERE.

Ms. Alexander passed on May 21, 2009 at the age of 92.

WAYNE ALLWINE, since 1983, was the third (…and in my opinion BEST) voice of MICKEY MOUSE, following Mickey’s original voice Walt Disney himself, and studio veteran Jimmy McDonald.

Many of Wayne Allwine’s best performances as Mickey are, alas, not presently available on DVD as they occurred on the animated TV series MICKEY MOUSEWORKS and DISNEY’S HOUSE OF MOUSE of the last decade or so.

The primary reason I prefer Allwine’s Mickey to that of longtime voice McDonald, and even that of Mr. Disney is that Allwine could best carry funny and more sophisticated dialogue – as seen in the television shows – and that is the way I would write Mickey, if I’d ever gotten the opportunity during my tenure as a freelance Disney comic book scripter with Gemstone Publications.

One sterling example of this that IS on DVD in the modern theatrical short “Runaway Brain” (1995), found on

Check out Allwine’s facility for comedy that neither of his predecessors could approach.

Allwine is also represented on this set by the featurettes “Mickey’s Christmas Carol” (His first “official” performance!) and “The Prince and the Pauper”. These are very well done – but it is when Allwine portrays Mickey as HIMSELF, rather than a character out of literature, that Wayne Allwine really makes Mickey Mouse his own!

In one of those simply wonderful things about the way life works, Wayne Allwine was married to Russi Taylor… who is the voice of Minnie Mouse! They met WHILE performing as Mickey and Minnie and (as if in character) the result must have been inevitable!

Wayne Allwine and Russi Taylor appear in a documentary feature on the same DVD set, titled “The Voice Behind the Mouse”, that runs for nearly 24 minutes.

They clearly love each other, as they are seen naturally (not “made-for-the-camera”) holding hands for the majority of the piece. They look at and speak to each other with the kind of genuine affection that you just KNOW Mickey and Minnie would have… if the Powers-That-Be would allow.

Over the course of the feature they discuss their own experiences and go into the Mickey-voicing careers of Jimmy McDonald and Walt Disney at length.

One unfortunately prophetic quote from Mr. Allwine on his speaking for Mickey: “I’m THREE… There’s gonna be a FOUR!”

I’m just sorry that day has come so soon!

Wayne Allwine passed on May 18, 2009 at the all too soon age of 62.

Can’t say how long it’ll remain online, but here’s "Runaway Brain". Enjoy the performances of Wayne Allwine, Russi Taylor, Jim Cummings as Pete/Julius/Monster, Bill Farmer as Pluto, and Kelsey Grammer as Dr. Frankenollie.

Oh, if only there were a few more like THIS!

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