Questions to (and Answers from) Frank!
Some letters have been be edited for length or clarity.
Thank you all for your fun, thoughtful comments and taking the time to write! -Frank Welker
Please read this page before sending in a question. Many questions have been asked over the years and Frank may have already answered your question. Newest letters are at the top of each section.
Hello Mr Welker,
I have recently been doing a bit of reading, on the internet, about the 1967 film, Doctor Dolittle. I was a little bit surprised to see your name turn up as the Pushmi-Pullyu. Although I was only six when the film came out, from what I can remember the Pushmi-Pullyu was mute. (Although it probably did have some vocalizations.) After a bit of further digging, I have found many (nearly 250) websites reporting that the Pushmi-Pullyu was an early, in many cases the first, uncredited role for yourself. I am well aware that the tendency of website makers to lift information wholesale from other websites without checking their facts, can cause inaccurate myths to propagate at an incredible rate. The film is not listed on your website, but if you are only listing credited jobs than that would be understandable.
So, with all due apologies if it turns out that I am wasting your time, I thought that I would use the "Ask Frank" function on your website to put this question to rest for once and for all. Having read through an extensive list of your credits, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for the immeasurable pleasure that you have given me over the years, without my ever realizing it.
Paul Adams (1/14/2011, 2:18 am)
Thank you for your question. Yes, Dr. Dolittle was to my recollection the first VO role in a motion picture that I did. Now as to whether or not I was the Pushmi-Pullyu, I can't honestly say. What I remember doing was sound effects for some of the animals and animal vocals for Rex Harrison when he talked with the animals. Now it has been a long time mind you, so even my recall may be a bit skewed. However, it was indeed an uncredited job that I did when you were six!!!
Frank Welker (1/16/2011, 9:01 pm)
Just wanted to share a memory. Around 2002, at the San Diego Comic-Con, a panel of a dozen or so voice over artists paused when your name was presented. Yes, your talent was praised, yet that was not what has remained with me all this time. Without a dissenting opinion it was the consensus of the panel that Frank Welker is the nicest person in the V.O. business. Examples were brought up of you passing along work that was yours, so another VO artist could pay their union dues. Frank, you would have blushed. You deserve to hear this stuff said behind your back ;)
Thank you for relating your experience from Comic-Con. I am afraid I don't deserve what you may have heard my peers saying, but it is extremely gratifying, and I appreciate it very much. You know in the VO biz we recommend each other for jobs all the time. I think we are not quite as desperate as our on camera counter parts. I know I would not be Nibbler in Futurama if it was not for my friend, Tress MacNeille, she literally hounded the producers until they gave me the part.
I'm blushing, but it feels good... thanks, Jay.
All the best,
Frank (10/10/2009, 10:10:45 PM)
Let me first say thank you so much for all the voices you've provided, I greatly appreciate the voices I hear from you on the many animation programs I watch or have watched over the years, and you have been in so many of them (Real Ghostbusters, Animaniacs, Futurama, Scooby Doo etc). I am a great fan of your work, and you are a fantastic inspiration, as I want to be become a voice actor as well in the near future, it is my dream. I will try to keep this short, but it's hard when you've done so many cool things and when there is so much butt-kissing that could be done. I'll get on with the questions:
I don't think there can ever be enough butt-kissing but go ahead with your questions!
I know IMDb are very accurate, but have you really done Bowser in several Mario games? It's just it says you're not credited, and if it's not credited it means other people could have done them instead of you.
Forgive me "B" but I am not really sure if I did Bowser in the game. I know I worked some Mario projects but don't know the specifics. Sorry. Sometimes these things tend to run together but that doesn't diminish their importance to me, it just illustrates the frailty of my pea brain and time!
With my voices I feel sometimes I give them too much character, as if they're a character with a name just waiting to be slapped on the voice. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? I know on the one hand it's great to give a character liveliness and soul, but on the other hand casting directors would be likely to say, 'It's good but change it a lot', which is harder to do for characters who to you, aren't just a voice.
I have always felt that one's instinct is the best guide. What you first feel is key...then you can hone and fiddle as you wish. But you are quite correct, when working for a director you will need to be able to step back and listen to what they want. If you can deliver what they are asking for and still keep your basic creation that is perfect. Don't be afraid to experiment, but be realistic enough to know you are there to do what the job requires.
I don't feel enough of my voices of what I would call 'Regular voices', I feel like they couldn't be used for your average Joe, is that a good thing since cartoons are so zany, particularly nowadays? I mean, you do animals and monsters, which is great!
Don't feel restricted in anyway. One of the great benefits of voice acting is your imagination and it should have no boundaries. There is no right or wrong...the only fences are professionally when you have to do a certain specific voice but never be afraid to offer up anything and everything. Ultimately, your audience (director/producer) will be the final judge...just give them a barrel full to chose from!
I know you must get asked this all the time but do you have any general tips for a UK based student who wants to go to the US to make it as a voice actor? Go to LA as soon as I finish university, try to do Radio, join a place like VoiceStarz.com and/or join an agency? Are those good ideas to start with?
No, I would do a tape in the UK and send it to the States and see what they think first. You can do everything you need to do at home. In fact, I am sure you could do radio and plays and get some acting under your belt. It is better to find out if you have what someone would be willing to pay for and hire you for professionally first. Send demo's to agencies and check voice over casting places here and there that will save you money and frustration. Be realistic, there are many many many (did I say many) many folks that want to do this and a great bunch already doing it. That doesn't mean you shouldn't follow your dream but keep your feet on the ground, it is a very hard biz to crack. That being said, if you are good nobody can stop you. I wish you good luck Beau!
Thanks a lot for your time and your services to the voice over industry. Keep up the incredible work, Beau Bridgland
All the best Beau!
Frank (4/8/2009, 8:00:34 AM)
I got another "A Totally Ridiculous 12 Days of Christmas" 45 on eBay. This one's B side is "Floppy the Christmas Bunny" instead of "Ronald Reagan's Night Before Christmas." I was really surprised! So, now I am wondering are there any others I should watch for? Thanks!
Whoops, I forgot we did that with the Bunny song ... but those are the only two 45's. Hope you had a great holiday.
Frank (1/2/2009, 08:48:59 PM)
I've been making a lot of progress with developing new voices and sounds, but I feel like I've currently hit a plateau. Judging by the types of questions you've received on your website, this question will be far more specific than most of your fan mail. I'd like to gain some new techniques for applying different sounds of texture to my voice. To let you know where I'm at, I'm able to mimic your Dr. Claw voice from Inspector Gadget, and from there I was able to add my voice box to get Yoda (Star Wars) and Grover (Sesame Street). Now, I know those two are virtually the same voices and both done by Frank Oz, but at least that gives you an idea of where I'm at. Among many others, I'm also able to do Chris Griffin (Family Guy) and Harvey Fierstein. I'm blown away, especially by your versatility of placement and texture. What are some techniques and suggestions you have for applying new textures, etc? And do you have voice-training DVDs or CDs?
Sounds like you are doing very well with some good textures. I would try variations of what you have heard and learned. High and low placements with accents etc. I addressed some questions that were from others on the "ASK FRANK" page that the wonderful Doreen created and I think a lot of your questions might be answered there, too. But I would again say that doing other people is a good start but you want to get into your own sound and characters as soon as you can. Accents, ages...young and old, different attitudes all these are all important. I don't have any CD's or training DVD's. You are on the right track Merrill!
Frank (7/30/2008, 10:01:19 PM)
I absolutely have enjoyed your animation throughout the years and so have my kids. My name is Patricia, and I am fifty-five years old. I live here, in Los Angeles, my surname is also Welker, so people always ask if we're related ... ha, ha ... I wish that I had your talent! Anyway, I am very curious about the history and origin of the name. Would you be so kind as to share your knowledge of the Welker name? I was adopted at birth and this information could be of great help. God bless you and keep up the great work. Look forward to seeing your next project!
Well, I see our name is growing. Wes Welker of the NFL is really getting it out there.
My dad's folks were from Canada, homesteaded there actually, then moved to the Kansas/Missouri area where he met my mother. They grew up in the same town and eventually married then moved west. His father had a brother who stayed more in that area and then went further east so my family kind of covered a lot of territory.
I really don't know too much other than that ... but I am sure I have some relatives out there. Thanks for taking the time to write, I hope this helps at least a little.
Frank Welker (5/28/2008, 7:27:44 AM)
I've heard you say that you've been doing animal sounds since you were a kid, but how does it work with people impersonations. Do you have to practice those or do they come natural?
Just about everything I had to work on. There are some noises and voices that did come very easy. I remember Gregory Peck was quite easy and fun to do and Walter Cronkite, and William F. Buckley were all easy. Most of my impressions are of older stars that I idolized as a kid growing up and now are gone. One of my favorites who is still very much with us is Jonathan Winters. I never would do him because he was so infectious and his voice and personality would take over. Being a comedian myself, I didn't want to steal from him so I stopped doing him and watching him altogether. It was a tough price to pay because I liked him so much. As it turned out, I ended up working with him on the Smurfs and other shows and we became friends. It was a thrill to be his straight man and just listen to him go ... a true comedy genius.
Thanks for the question, Trina,
Frank (4/17/2008, 8:13:55 PM)
I have been a fan for a long time but only in recent years became aware of the name behind the voices. I first became aware of you in The Pagemaster then in Futurama and then I found how many credits you do have. I have wanted to become a voice actor and consider you my biggest inspiration. I can do several impressions and animal noises, too. I have a few questions (below).
Thank you and I am a HUGE fan.
Doing impressions is a great way to start off your voice collection, but you will need to expand that into a broader repertoire. Being able to create your own unique voices is a must but having accents and impressions and noises at the ready will always be of great help to you. Good luck.
First off what do you think of this petition? http://www.petitiononline.com/fwam2007/petition.html
I haven't read the petition, but it is always nice to be mentioned in anything positive by the G1 Meg fans ... I am just trying to stay off the police blotters and post office walls!
Also, what is the extent of you singing abilities would you consider yourself to be a good singer because I haven't seen much where you sing and a lot of voice actors do sing. Do you speak any other languages and if so which ones? If you know someone well enough can you pretty much imitate their voice spot on?
I am going to tell you a secret ... I have always been know in the voice biz as very poor singer. I have always fed that belief with relish. The reason, when you sing a song for a show the singers would have to stay after the sessions and record and for little compensation. Further, some v.o. directors were very picky about the notes and parts and that drove me crazy. I have always been an ad libber and a slow learner when it comes to pitch. I loved singing the notes that came into my head and not the ones that were assigned to me. In high school we had a folk singing group and we did very well. I must admit that I did mostly the comedy and none of us on our own were very good singers ... but we had great harmony. Okay, that's the long of it. Now the short of it, no ... I was not a very good singer. But my reputation is somewhat worse than my ability to carry a tune.
Here's wishing you perfect pitch ... and good luck in your career.
Frank (9/12/2007, 9:01:52 PM)
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I just saw the Scooby ep with JC Chasez and couldn't believe my eyes when they unmasked the Scooby Gang imposters ("bit actors") and they looked like you, Grey, Mindy and Casey!
I forgot ... pretty cool of them to do that!!!
Frank (11/8/2008, 8:58:26 PM)
Are you the voices for Scooby Doo and Fred Jones in the new animated Scooby Doo movie "Scooby Doo and the Goblin King?"
I am not sure if that was the title when I did the project, but I believe that was it. If that is the new DVD feature from Warner's which features Lauren Bacall as the guest star ... then yes, indeed that is me both as Scooby and as Freddy Jones.
Frank (7/22/2008, 8:32:04 AM)
As a kid, I was a die hard Scooby Doo viewer and I think this was a hereditary trait with my daughter. I'm not sure how it happened, but my daughter not only has watched every Scooby Doo movie but she can rattle off almost every scene and tell you who all of the characters are for each episode. She is five years old and I would put her up against any Scooby Doo trivia buff thats out there. I wish you guys would make more Scooby Doo movies because my wife and I plus our kid's babysitters have also watched every Scooby Doo movie at least 8-10 times because she insists on watching them over and over. Right now, her favorite is Scooby Doo and the Loch Ness Monster. They are forever saved on our DVR at home. I was wondering if you could send a autographed something (picture, stuffed animal, etc....) for my 5 yr old daugher? She would be so excited. Her name is Sarah. Also, next time in LA I would love to meet the cast of voices if possible with my daughter. I'm assuming thats where you make the movies. My sister lives there so we visit once a year.Thanks and keep the movies coming.
It appears that good taste runs in the family ... wink, wink ... no but seriously, I am thrilled we have been able to cover another generation and that Sarah is a fan and a trivia buff. We are still making the movies but we may have come to the end of the TV shows for a while. We just finished our last "Shaggy and Scooby Doo: Get A Clue."
It has been a blast doing these shows for so many years and it always surprises me to see the legs it has, it's like the bunny that keeps going and going and going. Sarah may already have this site inf not, you guys might enjoy this Scooby Doo Resource website: ScoobyAddicts.com
Thanks again for watching and Scooooby Doooooobieeee Doooooooo!
Frank (1/25/2008, 7:43:07 AM)
I've been a fan of yours since before I knew who you were! You've been in practically every cartoon I've ever watched among other things, The Real Ghostbusters being my all time favorite. I was looking through the Internet movie database and noticed that you were credited as Creature Voice in the 2002 live action Scooby Doo movie. That made me wonder why it is that you didn't do the voice of Scooby? I mean 2002 was said to be the year "What's New Scoody Doo" started, (in which you played Scooby) so why not in the movie?
Ever think of going into investigative journalism??? Very good deducing ... and here is the answer: Most of what you have seen in the IMDb is pretty accurate ... I did indeed to the creatures in the 2002 live action Scooby Doo movie. When I went in to do the creatures, I worked with the feature director who had no idea that I was the original Freddy or that I was the current Scooby he said hmmm ... and we went right to work on the creatures.
The animated world is like galaxies away from the film side. That being said, they did not seek out any help that I know of from the TV side and that Scooby was cast in Australia. I don't think the director was concerned with trying to get a spot on Scooby but more of an interpretation.
We are currently doing sweetening for the next season of "Scooby Doo Get a Clue" and there is rumor of perhaps another new season! We did just finish another direct to DVD ... so Scooby stays busy. Thanks again Matt ... and Anderson Copper has got nothing on you!
Frank (8/25/2007, 8:55:25 PM)
The following questions (dated 4/4/2007) are from Nicole Burns of Scooby Addicts:
1. What inspired you to become a voice actor?
I really started out doing mostly on-camera and then stand-up comedy. I never really set out to do just voice acting ... in fact, I didn't even know what VO performing was ... the first job I got was a commercial for "Friskies" dog food. The producer and his girlfriend saw me perform in a nightclub doing dog and cats. It turned out that she worked for CBS and she was casting a cartoon show, "Scooby Doo!" I went in to read for Scooby and ended up getting Freddy. I am still doing Freddy and that was in 1969. I know it doesn't quite work out mathematically since I have been telling everybody I'm thirty-six.
2. Do you do anything special to get into character?
I really like the visual, seeing the character or a drawing. Second best is reading a description, and third is having someone tell you. Physically, I try to let myself become the character. Pretty straightforward.
3. Do you have a favorite character that you have voiced?
It's almost like cheating, if I say I like one better than the other ... I really do like some more that others but there are many and I don't want to go on and on and bore you. I liked doing Bullwinkle on a series of commercials, Freddy and Scooby of course, Megatron because it was my own invention without any input from others and it has stood the test of time. Slimer, Fall-Apart Rabbit, Jabberjaw, Dynomutt ... see, I told you I would go on and on and bore you!
4. What are some of the rewards of being a voice actor? What are some of the challenges?
Rewards: You get play a hugely diverse range of characters ... unless you get voice type cast ... you work with fabulous and often very funny and talented people, and you don't take things too seriously because you bark, growl, and make noises for a living.
Challenges: Working with people that take a simple fun job and get in the way of the actors. Coming up with new voices when you are given the same kinds of roles over and over. Remembering all of the above.
5. According to an interview done (on the Scooby-Doo/Dynomutt Hour DVD) you originally wanted the part of Shaggy. How did you get the part of Fred? Did you expect the show to be such a huge success when you first started to voice him?
I went in to read for Scooby but they had pretty much cast the wonderful Don Messick. They were interested in casting young people to play young people ... a new concept at that time ... so, I read for both Shaggy and Freddy. I wanted Shaggy because he was the comedic [role], and Casey Casem wanted to get Freddy ... a little more on the serious side. We both ended up getting each other's character and I must say it worked out well. Don, and Casey were absolutely perfect for their characters. Freddy, well I like him, but he is not the most popular on the show. I remember seeing a survey on AOL. They asked who was your favorite Scooby Gang character? Scooby had thousands, Shaggy had hundreds, Daphne, and Velma were in the respectable low hundreds. Freddy came in around 50, and half of those votes were mine!!
6. Do you have a favorite Scooby-Doo episode?
Oh man, there were so many ... I haven't a clue. I know as the show progressed over the years I was doing more and more guest voices and that was always fun, especially villains. Something different.
7. You have done the voice of Fred for every series, except for A Pup Named Scooby-Doo. Why didn't you do the voice of Fred for that series?
I think the studio wanted to try a young version of Fred and felt the formula worked the first time so they got a younger version of me. Here is a strange twist, one of the actors on "PUP" was a young kid, Scott Menville, as it turns out we are working together as of this writing on the newest incarnation of Scooby but he is playing a young Shaggy for Casey Casem.
8. You started voicing Scooby-Doo in the movies from 2003 (starting with Scooby-Doo and the Legend of the Vampire) to present. Why did you voice him as opposed to Scott Innes?
That was a studio decision. I wouldn't audition for Don's part. After we lost Don, Scott was given the roles of both Scooby and Shaggy. I think Casey decided he would like to continue doing the shows and of course he was immediately given the job back. Scott did a very good Shaggy and Scooby but I think the studio wanted someone who lived in LA and was close by the studio. Scott has a very successful radio show and career in another state but I believe he still does a certain amount of Scooby related commercials and personal appearances.
9. Do you have any new projects coming up?
We just finished our second season of, "Curious George" and were nominated for an Emmy (yea!). I have a couple of other projects but can't disclose them at this time. Sounds like CIA huh?!
Thank you, I really appreciate your time!
You are more than welcome Nicole. Thanks for keeping up with, "Scooby and the Gang" ... hello to all our fans at your site!
Frank (5/1/2007, 7:24:09 PM PDT)
Frank, when you did the original 1969-70 Scooby Doo, did the "gang" all record in the studio at the same time? What was your favorite series or voice character that you have done? What has been your favorite studio to work with? (Hanna Barbara, Marvel, etc.)
Hi Bill. When we did the original show, yes we worked as an ensemble group aka "gang" and recorded in Studio A at Hanna Barbera studios.
I really can't say which is my favorite show since there is usually many accompanying things that make a show fun or memorable to do. I loved doing the "Smurfs" because the cast was so much fun to work with; Mike Bell, Paul Winchell, Hamilton Camp, Joannie Gerber, Johnny Winters ... just to name a few of the wonderfully warped individuals I had the pleasure of working with. Also, the director was one of the best I ever worked with...Gordon Hunt. I couldn't wait to get to the studio. Favorite studio, would be Hanna Barbera, I had a lot of history there and Bill and Joe were a big part of my life.
I have a lot of favorite characters, but since I created the voice of Megatron and it is such a controversial character ... lots of drama and rumors about it from "Sector 7" I would have to say, at least the original Megatron, along Slimer, Curious George, Fall-Apart Rabbit ... and really many more.
Frank (4/28/2007, 7:14:57 AM)
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I just watched the commercial for the Ghostbusters Video Game (the Wii version). Slimer was on the couch next to the player playing along with him. It sounded a bit like [you] in some areas of the voice (burp included) but I wasn't sure. Is that [you]?
Andre (6/12/2009, 11:35:06 AM)
Uh oh... I've been slimed. I did not do a commercial for the Video Game and we were not informed of any use... could possibly be Billy West who did one season of Slimer in the last version, but alas... to my knowledge, it wasn't me.
Frank (6/13/2009, 6:09:46 AM)
Dear Mr. Welker,
First of all, THANK YOU for making my childhood magical! I'm a HUGE fan of The Real Ghostbusters and I was wondering if you knew anything about Sony bringing season sets to DVD? The fans are dying to have them!! Thanks again, you mean more to the world than you know!
Webmaster of: Real Ghostbusters Online
Wow Colin, thank you. That is very nice of you to say that, I appreciate it.
"The Real Ghostbusters" was a blast to do. With Arsenio Hall, Dave Coulier, Maurice LaMarche and Lorenzo Music ... plus our director Marsha Goodman ... we really had so much fun. We were very bad during sessions and it took us twice as long to record because the joking never stopped ... I cried a lot "laughing" at Dave and Arsenio. To answer your question, I really don't know. I think it would be a terrific idea.
Again, thanks for the nice words Colin!
Frank (4/29/2007, 9:37:00 PM)
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It has come to my attention that you have provided the voice of Soundwave in other languages for the foreign releases of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Is this true?
Yes, Spanish, French and German. It didn't work for Japanese, but I tried!!!!! It was great doing Soundwave in these other voices. German was particularly difficult but did sound pretty cool, if I do say so myself.
Frank (7/19/2009, 9:26:26 PM)
Hello, I'm a huge fan of Frank's work. My concern comes from this story. Alledgedly, an employee at the USPS is monitoring and reporting on Mr. Welker's private mail. If he is not aware of this, its being reported on multiple sites. Keep up the excellent work Mr. Welker!
No, nothing in the mail ... just bills and magazines and lots of super market fliers. For the record, things of show biz nature go to my agent ...
Thanks for the heads up though.
Frank (11/3/2008, 9:13:11 PM)
I hope you voice Soundwave, Megatron and the Fallen. I heard on the boards you had a heart attack. I hope it's not true ... I hope you voice one of those characters.
I wish the rumors about me were a little more exciting like having an affair with Paris Hilton and falling off her yacht. Heart attack no, heartburn ... maybe.
Thank you for your interest and concern,
Frank (11/3/2008, 9:31:08 PM)
It is indeed a pleasure finally having the time to email you. You have been one of my favorite voice actors of all time! You, next to Mr Cullen, and Mr Burton, and the late, great Mr Latta have made my youth full of joy with your mutible voice overs! It would be an honor to meet you in person, please let me know if you are planning on attending Botcon this year?
Thank you for the kudos and the inclusion into a fine list of voice actors. As to Botcon, no plans as of yet.
Yes, I am a huge Transformers fan, and your Megatron and Soundwave are indeed the best done, bar none! If not, please contact them to show up! Mr. Cullen has been at the past two shows, and he is a great person to have met, I can only imagine meeting you as well! It would make my weekend complete! Please consider it!
I have been asked in the past to attend some cons but timing has not worked out. I do appreciate the interest and will hopefully one day make it. I know that Peter has a great time when he goes and we would love to do one together.
No, I don't really have a question, but hearing your work on Curious George still brings me joy as well.
Thank you for your time,
Curious George won an Emmy this year and we all are beaming!!!!!
Best Wishes Clyde,
Frank (8/9/2008, 7:57:54 AM)
Dear Mr. Welker,
I honestly don't have any questions for you.
That is the easiest kind to answer!
But I wanted to say that I've been a huge fan of yours for as long as I can remember. I know this may sound weird but I've always had a bit of an odd fascination for voice actors. I've been a big animation buff all my life and I've always had a good ear for identifying the voices behind the characters. You and the late Don Messick are the fist I could pick out of almost everything you were in the early 80's. I'm sure Mr. Messick would be proud of your current work as the new Scooby-Doo and Bandit in the lastest Johnny Quest cartoons.
Don and I worked together for many years and he always left me with my jaw hanging and ears and eyes burning with admiration. It was a great time in animation and working with the likes of Messick and others was truly a gift. Don left us too soon and I appreciate your thoughts about him and our mutual dog and show "Scooby Doo."
I had a crush on Optimus Prime when I was a little girl and I hated Megatron for always trying to destroy him. So that just goes to show how much life and realism you and Peter Cullen put into those characters. One of my other favorite 80's cartoons was Dungeon & Dragons, I couldn't even begin to count how many voices you did in that. Well Sir I just wanted to let you know that your talent is greatly appreciated now and always.
Thank you Brenda, I will tell Peter you had a crush on Optimus ... poor Megatron.
Frank (7/30/2008, 9:50:20 PM)
Dear Mr. Welker,
My name is Bret Gordon and I owe a great deal of thanks to you sir. Let me explain. Growing up, my favorite show was The Transformers and my favorite character has always been and always will be Soundwave. A few years back I got curious and looked up the voice actor that did my beloved Soundwave and up popped your name! And you did Megatron too!
As I read all your roles I was astounded by your career and through you I gained a new respect for voice actors. I discovered many great voices in the likes of Cree Summer, David Kaye and of course, Peter Cullen. Without you I would've never learned about these people and the wonderful jobs that you and they do in delivering entertainment to the masses.
As such, I am horribly appalled that they did not give you the roll of Megatron in the new Transformers movie. I can only hope that they will get some sense and cast you as Soundwave for the next one.
My questions for you Mr. Welker should you choose to answer them are: (Don't know if you would be allowed to answer this first one or not, if not then I understand) Have you been approached to voice Soundwave if he appears in the Transformers sequel? And will you be at Botcon this year? Being that this is the first one I might be able to attend, getting the opportunity to see you in person would seal the deal for me.
Again thank you Mr. Welker for your amazing performances throughout the years and the many great memories that you've given to me that I will in turn, pass down to my children. And thank you for taking the time out of your day to read this.
Bret M. Gordon
Thank you for your kind words. I am glad you have enjoyed my work and these shows over the years. Yes, you have discovered some great talent in the names you mention.
Now to your questions.
No, I have not been approached about doing Soundwave in the next "Transformers" movie and I doubt very much if I will. As to BotCon this year, I am not sure about that either ... you can see how much I know about these subjects ... not much help. I apologize but it is a little too early to have an answer for you. I will tell you this, if you do get a chance to go to BotCon look for Mark Evanier and any panels he might be doing. He is one of our writer-directors and always has a great group of fun and exquisite talent.
Frank (1/25/2008, 7:30:13 AM)
I have heard sound clips and seen the youtube video of you in the recording studio voicing Megatron for the video game. While it has some resemblance of the classic cartoon Megs, it's not the same. Was this intentional? Or are we all just getting a little older? Thanks for taking the time to read this. Here's to many more years of you entertaining the masses. Take care,
While I am not sure what you were looking at exactly, I didn't do any full on Megatron voice emulations in the press video. I was fooling around with Peter and just doing a hint of the old voice. Same is true in the interview with me alone. There is a tiny piece of video in my solo interview which I did do new/old Megs but [it's] too small a sample to be a good representation. If you really want to see or hear the "new/old" Megs, I have recorded several projects recently: "The Transformers the Game," "Transformers the Beginning" a Wal-Mart add on to the 2007 feature DVD release, and just finished doing a "Transformers" board game project for Hasbro.
Hope that answers your question. Though I am older, I pretty much am doing all the characters and the same things I did when I was 25/30. Freddy Jones, Megatron, Soundwave, Smurfs, etc. The voice hasn't changed much, but I will admit to going to bed earlier and being hooked on drugs ... "Advil and Alka-Seltzer."
Frank (10/20/2007, 6:14:41 AM)
I wanted to reach out to you and tell you how much I truly appreciate your work. You have been the biggest influence on me as a voice talent and I want to thank you for being such a tremendous inspiration for me. The first show I remembered hearing you in was Scooby Doo. I developed a fascination for animations and the voices behind them and I want you to know how much you contributed to my passion and desire for voice acting. My favorite shows as a child were The Real Ghostbusters, Dungeons and Dragons, Transformers, and GI Joe, and I was fascinated to learn how many major and minor characters you provided the voices for. Even as a child I would make games out of guessing which person voiced which character, and coming up with as many different voices as I could, always dreaming and aspiring to be a voice actress for animation someday.
Why am I telling you all of this? For the past 7 years I have been a voice actress for books on tape and I have been involved in over 30 productions playing both major and minor characters. You have greatly inspired me to pursue a career in the business, which is why I feel it necessary to share my successes with you. Although I love the books on tape my dream is and always has been to be the voices behind animation. Sadly, I live in upstate New York, so not eactly the voice acting mecca of the world. I am fortunate to have any opportunities at all, though sometimes my goals feel so far away... If I ever feel like I am losing sight of that goal, I just watch an episode of one of my childhood favorites, and I can feel that spark of passion for pursuing my dream returning to me. Yes, I am all grown up now, and I still watch cartoons, but with a new found respect and admiration, and I am proud of it! I hope they keep me young for many years to come!
It is nice to know that we voice folks have had a good influence on you and now you are one of us. I haven't done any voice work in New York and have been there only a couple of times on visits. I did once work there as a stand up comedian, I was the opening act for Diana Ross at Radio City Music Hall and it was one of the great moments of my show biz career. So you see, New York helped me in a direct way.
Yes, you are correct. When it comes to animation L.A. is the epicenter. Of course there is quite a bit of activity in Canada, too ... but the Mecca is Hollywood. On books on tape, one of the actors I work with on, "Scooby Doo Get a Clue," Jim Meskimen has been doing a lot of them and really enjoys the experience he gets from the readings. It sounds like hard work but very good for your acting and reading.
Okay, now that I have gushed about your influence on me as a voice actress, I must say that I was upset for you when I came across this article: http://www.chud.com/index.php?type=news&id=10708. I would like to state that I do NOT think your Megatron sounded "over the top silly" and couldn't translate to the big screen. In fact, my husband and I both agreed that Hugo Weaving was utilizing many of the vocal characteristics you created yourself! I was very happy to hear Peter Cullen's familiar voice as Optimus Prime, but the movie was definitely lacking that familiar Megatron rasp! And didn't you voice Bumblebee? They made him a mute in this movie! And don't even get me started on Soundwave. You've voiced so many Transformers I thought it a horrible injustice not to have you involved in the project! How can you have Peter without Frank?
Again thank you for the support. I was disappointed that I never got to meet with the director or producers of the feature, "Transformers," but I think there was a lot going on with the creative team. I know I had some diehard supporters but the final decision was Bay's and he just did not like the Megatron voice and felt it was wrong for this picture. Let's face it, it was his film with his name on it and he is justified to make that call. I accept that, if someone has a different interpretation and it is his film, that is just the way it goes. I still am amazed at how many fans wanted the traditional Megatron and are so vocal about the choice. It does keep me from selling my Megatron suit on EBay. Very nice.
In a world where it seems so many talented people never get the opportunity to shine I am truly happy to know you still do, and through it all you have never lost your professionalism, integrity, and kindness. You truly are deserving of all your successes. I am so happy to know you are still out there where I can hear you! I look forward to meeting you, shaking your hand, and with a little luck and much perseverance having the priveledge of working with you!
Thanks for being a tremendous inspiration to me always.
Lauren, there is a lot of great joy and disappointment in any business and ours is no different. I try to over look the disappointments and relish the positives. The older I get the more I appreciate doing what I enjoy and letting the uncomfortable and ridiculous slide ... there just isn't enough time to yell and scream unless you are playing a fire breathing dragon or Megatron, leader of the Decepticons!!!
Frank (9/12/2007, 8:56:13 PM)
Hi Mr. Welker,
I guess before I get to my questions I should say that my husband and I both watched "Transformers" when we were kids, and we both loved it, and now OUR kids love it, so it's pretty cool that I stumbled onto this site. You're totally awesome, not just for all the voices that you do but also for taking the time to reply to these messages from your fans. Thanks for being so gracious!
Anyway, thanks so much! And keep on truckin'.
Katie in Pueblo, CO
No, thank you for being a fan and supportive all these years. I do enjoy having a dialog with folks like you, so it is a pleasure.
1. When "Transformers" was being made, did you and all the other actors read your lines together in the same room, or did you each get recorded individually? And if you all did work together, what would you say is your fondest or funniest memory of you and your cast mates?
When we did, "Transformers" we recorded as a group. It really was a lot of fun because of the diverse and goofy personalities that populated the sessions. Back in those days a studio could keep you for eight hours and they often did. Now you have probably heard that actors are like children? It is absolutely true. We can become bored and naughty in short order and that's when the trouble begins. Mike Bell was a ring leader and instigator. We both loved to bother Peter Cullen and see who could make him laugh first. All the actors had great respect for one another but there were lots of gags and pranks. Mike Bell would say the most obscene and hysterical things while the director had his button down and was talking to us and he couldn't hear ... well, that would pretty much put everyone on the floor and of course we had no idea what the director just told us ... aw, those were the days!
2. What do you think about the way the live-action movie version of Megatron looks as compared to his cartoon version?
I haven't seen the feature so I can only go by what I saw on YouTube and clips from the game. It appears to be quite different and probably better for the movie, but I must admit I would have liked to seen a little more resemblance to the G1 Megs. I liked Primes new look, but as I said ... Megs could have been a little more traditional for my tastes.
3. On the "Transformers: The Movie" 20th anniversary DVD, Susan Blu made the remark that Chris Latta was made for the role of Starscream, but she never clarified what she meant by that. Was he a lot like Starscream, or did he just really like doing that voice, or what? Could you explain what she meant? It's driving me a little nuts.
Wow, I think that is something she would have to explain. I can say for myself that Chris was a very strong personality that put tremendous power into his characters. I don't know how he sustained them as well as he did, they were tough voices. It is too bad that he went so early.
Katie, thanks for the questions and sorry if I didn't quite keep you form going nuts ...
Say hello to Pueblo for me ... I was born just up the highway from you in Denver!
Best wishes from one nut to another!
Frank (9/10/2007, 6:31:30 PM)
First of all, let me say "wow"... when I discovered the name behind the voice of Megatron and read all the work you have done I was blown away!! Back in the 80s my brother and I were glued to the TV every day watching Megatron and Optimus Prime ... I remember losing interest in the show when they made Galvatron ... that voice went away!! I was ecstatic to hear about the new movie and much to my delight and surprise my boys started to watch my old shows that I taped from the 1980s series ... when they heard about the movie they couldn't wait!! I was so disappointed to not hear that familiar rasp, but am looking forward to getting the game! Now that I know you are the name behind the voice, I have to say "thank you" for so many wonderful memories, one, and two, for instilling confidence in a young girl growing up.
My questions are essentially this; if they approached you for a sequel would you consider it? Also, how does one break into this business? I have been told I have a nice voice, but I'm sure it takes more than that! I appreciate the work you have done and the answers!
Thank you for letting me know how we interrupted, yet assisted in your youth! It has been a lot of fun over the years doing these voices and it is always nice to hear that people are listening and enjoying. I understand about the rasp missing in the new, "Transformers Movie" Megatron but I understand they chose a more of a traditional sounding enhanced robotic voice. I'm sure that worked just fine, but I agree with you I like hearing something a little odd or strange or identifiable: raspy, scratchy, angry good ole Megatron. Of course I may be a little prejudice, in addition to "Leader of the Decepticons," I am also the leader of the The Frank Welker fan club ... right now we are up to six members and going strong!!! By the way, both Peter Cullen and I did our voices in the game.
If they approached me about a sequel would I consider it? Yes, I would consider it. I always like to look at offers, interviews etc. but there is a lot that goes into my pea brain before I say yes or no. That includes whether I will go in for a meeting or not as well, but yes ... I always like to hear what folks have to say before they turn me down or I turn them down. It's a lot like dating!
About how to get into the "biz?" That's like sending a small child in for tooth surgery ... I really hate to do that ... but, on the other hand if you are really committed then you will need that resolve. It is very tough and just having a nice voice of course as you noted isn't enough. I found that from as early as I could remember I always wanted to be in the entertainment business, and that's the kind of drive you need. Back to the voice, if you have a great voice you will need to make a voice sample of several different commercials that you believe best illustrate your voice. Go to the SAG site or call for the top ten voice over agents, and you can do this online too, and submit you voice tape. They get lots of these submissions but it is there job to find good folks with good voices. If you get a bite your on your way, if not, well ten more agents! It is very hard but there is no reason not to try. I wish you the best of luck Paula.
Frank (8/25/2007, 8:37:44 PM)
My brother has seen the new Transformers movie, I'm hearing mostly good things about it from the people around me, and it made me review something I wrote about it a month ago in my MySpace blog when I first learned that Frank Welker, inexplicably, did not get the role of Megatron.
It's rather detailed and long, but after re-reading it, even with all the mostly positive early feedback from the movie, I stand by what I said even more firmly now.
I completely understand if you think it's too long to pass along to Mr. Welker (I'm assuming someone is vetting these emails for him). I guess, I just wanted to share my sense of regretful outrage with someone who might understand how I feel.
Thank you for your time reading this (and hopefully the blog post, as well). I hope you will consider it worthy of passing along to Mr. Welker's attention.
Your Blog: That was one beautiful piece of writing, how articulate you are ... your knowledge, your conviction and your loyalty - admirable and impressive all.
As both Peter Cullen and I will tell you we were blown away to find fans like you out there in the hinterlands. We never got any fan mail and were completely oblivious to what was going on with collectors and the like. We both loved working together and had a great deal of fun recording with the varied and talented cast. But once the series was over, we were pretty much on to other things and left the Cyber world behind.
Neither of us knew much about the stories and or story lines. As working actors we were hopping from one studio to the next and didn't have much time to even think about what we do. I will tell you, one of the reasons I enjoyed doing Megatron was everything you put in your blog. He was cold, calculating and evil ... it gave me a great break from all of the "fuzzy" warm creatures that I did on a regular basis, which were kind of my trademark, as actors it is usually a reward to try new and different areas of performance.
As to what happened in the casting of the feature, Transformers, I never met with Michael Bay or any of the producers or writers. Our schedules never seemed to align. My only representation was some recorded lines sent into Bay. As I understand, it was his decision to look elsewhere as he felt my voice didn't fit his new character and interpretation. Producers Don Murphy and Tom DeSanto lobbied hard on my behalf but Bay felt the voice was too cartoony. I addressed this very issue in an article in Chud: Cinematic Happenings Under Development (http://www.chud.com/index.php?type=news&id=10708). From what I heard, the voice was technically modified and enhanced considerably so it is appears Bay wanted a more technological approach. I really appreciate you not wanting to support the feature, but I would never ask that of any my fans. I feel this is just another incarnation of the, "Transformers" and you should see it, judge it on its own basis. Just as "Beast Wars" was another interpretation and the new television series due out this fall both had and will have a new Megatron and a new Optimus Prime. Once you have seen these and you feel strongly then let the producers, directors and toy companies know what you think and what you want, but you should give them all a chance. As you probably know Peter and I both are doing our voices in the "Transformer" game and all of the reviews with references to the voices have been favorable to say the least and the fans and players seem to really enjoy hearing the original voices.
Kitt, I appreciate your boycott but I don't want you to deny yourself the pleasure of hearing Optimus Prime. I understand he is brilliant in the feature. The way I look at it, this is Bay's interpretation of the Transformers. It is, after all, a Michael Bay Film and as such he should make this presentation his own. The film will do well and there will be a new group of fans that won't know what the G1 group was all about. That is just the way it goes. I will always have Megatron...like Freddy the voice is just part of me. I am grateful to loyal fans like you who understand the evil in Megatron and appreciate the acting and the unique quality of the voice that hopefully will continue to send chills down the spines of those who take the time to listen to "Megatron" Leader of the Decepticons!
Thank you again Kitt,
Frank Welker (8/21/2007, 7:30:39 AM)
Not since Mel Blanc has there been anyone with your talent to grace the audio speakers of TV and movies. Not that you were chopped liver before ...
Moving on ...
I'd heard that your least favorite voice on the Transformers was Galvatron (ironically is my favorite Decepticon) due to the high, maniacal pitch you had to use. Was this true, because it sounds like Megatron would be harder to voice in the manner you use the gravel-like whisper.
Anyway, keep up the outstanding work.
I'm blushing ... thank you for the kind words. To even be in the same sentence with Mel is an honor. What a genius and innovator ... so many of his characters are icons and part of our culture. Of course I do have my picture up at several post offices and police blots.
Well, I guess I did say that ... but I don't remember Galvatron all that well. I think I was disappointed because I didn't really create the voice from scratch it was supposed to be what Leonard Nimoy had done ... I think I was pushed into an range that was not of my choosing but I really don't remember. Since Megs was my origination, I wanted to concentrate on him and have him supreme leader of the Decepticons. You are correct Megatron was never easy and I almost always had a sore throat because there was constant action. I like being able to bring him down into a conversational range ... and as you say the gravel whisper is easy and hopefully effective!
Thanks for sticking up for Galvatron, and thanks for remembering the Decepticons!
Frank (8/20/2007, 9:26:33 PM)
I've been visiting different discussion groups about the Transformers, and rumor has it that you will be in the sequel, possibly voicing Soundwave, another hugely popular and anticipated character. Can you please provide your fans with any information about this rumor?
Wow, rumors are starting already? No, I haven't been offered any roles in any "Transformers" projects. Well, actually I did get an offer to play something a creature or guard or I am not sure what on the new TV version of, "Transformers." But since it is an all new group and is quite a departure from G1 and because Peter Cullen isn't in it I declined.
I think the next feature is still quite a ways off, maybe by the time they get around to making it ... both Hugo and I will "really" be too old to play Megatron!!!!!!
Best, Frank (7/20/2007, 9:38:59 PM)
Dear Mr. Frank Welker, a TRUE Legend in the business,
I am interested in doing voice work myself whether it's for cartoons or broadcast news. I've only done one promo v/o so far. I find myself often practicing an array of different voices in public. In a car, on the subway or just strolling down the street I'd practice impersonations of classic characters as well as new ones I create every so often. Most people cock an eyebrow at me and carry on, some laugh. Either way, I'm happy with it. Have you ever been caught perfecting your skills in public?
Yes, I do the very same ... all I can say is welcome to the world of the mildly insane. I make noises a lot and am totally unaware of it. Once in a "Transformers" session my buddy Mike Bell heard mumbling and bubbling and chirping and turned to me and said, "Don't you ever shut up????" Then I realized he was right in the middle of trying to record his lines ... he paid me back by putting old kibble in my drinking bowl.
> And what was it like to work with the late, great Chris Latta?
Chris was in that same group and was a handfull. He was very talented but hard to contain in a small room for a long period of time. There were about ten of us on average in a small room who started out as adults and by about the second hour were kids and we continued to regress ... I think actors in general like to do their job and move on to the next session. Chris was also a standup and had a
lot going on, he was fun to watch. I marveled at what came out of his vocal box. He had a lot of power and wonderful weird placements. The whole group was amazing, and you are right Chris was special. We lost him way too soon.
> I see on your website, you voiced "Wild Bill" in G.I. Joe.
Yip, that was me..and I enjoyed the ole boy.
> Did you not also voice "Torch" the Dreadnok along with Chris Latta ("Ripper?")
Yes, I think I did, but can't swear to it.
> Forever humbled by your talents,
Thank you for the kind words and good luck!
Frank (5/22/2007, 6:25:59 PM)
I'm 29 this year but have only just realised that you have been voicing some of my favorite cartoon characters. I heard about the "Transformers" live action movie and after checking out all the blogs and such I keep hearing your name pop up. I thought to myself who is this guy? So I hunted around a bit more ... and here I am.
I guess what I really want to say is- thanks for giving all those characters not only a voice but a personality too. Today my children (although quite young still) and I sit down together and watch cartoons. What else do you need to get away from it all and relax and to let your imagination run wild?
PS. Megatron's voice still send a chill up my spine!
Renmark, S.A, Australia
Hello down under ... yip, I have been at this a long time and trying to get it right but looks like I will have to keep trying so you may see me pop up here and there or up there or "down under" there ...
I am not in the feature, but my good buddy and arch enemy Peter Cullen (Optimus Prime) is and he will be fantastic. However, we are both in the new Activision "Transformers the Game" due out at the same time as the feature. It incorporates Peter and myself as our original characters and includes some of the live action actors and scenes as well. Pretty cool concept using both new and the tired and true. Megatron had a lot of lines so if you want to get your "Megs" fix with the G1 guys, I recommend the game ... and enjoy the movie!
Frank (5/22/2007, 6:04:36 PM)
Is it true? Is Hugo Weaving going to voice Megatron? NO FAIR! I think I'm going to cry!
Yes, it is true. Hugo Weaving will be voicing Megatron in the up coming feature. In additional "Transformer" news, Corey Burton will be doing the voice of Megatron in Cartoon Networks new series ... but, Peter Cullen and I will be doing our original characters respectively-for the "Transformers" action game for Activision. Oh, I almost forgot ... and I will be doing the voice of Megatron door to door on Halloween ... I love this business!!!
Frank (4/16/2007, 9:55:09 AM)
You are so funny, Frank! This clip of you on YouTube made me laugh so hard, I hurt myself!
Hey, thanks. Peter Cullen and I did 30 minutes of video for the "Transformer Game" promo folks and we were having so much fun, they hardly got a question in ... bits and pieces are getting out and there is a cut or two on YouTube and I think Activision's site may have the whole thing. Anyway, it was great getting together with my old friend and cartoon nemesis for some fun and fooling around.
Frank (4/16/2007, 10:06:40 AM)
Regarding Transformers the Movie 2 (2007), everyone says you're in it, even IMDb Pro: Transformers: Main Details » Frank Welker ... Megatron (voice). I'm so confused, are you or aren't you in it? I've also attached a few fan letters for you to answer when you have some free time. You're the best! Thanks!
Hey Dor ... As you can see by my responses [below], everything you've read at this point has been rumor and misinformation. As of this moment, to my knowledge, they have not cast Megatron and I am still very much in the running.
Frank (2/20/2007, 7:51:59 AM)
Hello, Mr. Welker!
You have done a great job voicing Megatron in the G1 Transformers series. I know that Peter Cullen is going to voice Optimus Prime in the new live-action movie. Are you going to participate in it? [snip] I would like to contact Peter Cullen. Do you know how?
Thanks, I really enjoyed doing that voice and playing a villain for a change. I know I have been asked a lot about the movie, but at the present time I have not been offered any roles. That doesn't mean it's final, they are still doing voice casting. Peter Cullen is a hard man to track down, you might try some of the "Transformer" sites and see if you can get a message to him.
Frank (2/20/2007, 7:51:59 AM)
Hello Mr. Welker,
I am a big fan of yours and your cool characters. I have a question. How did you do the voice for Skywarp in Transformers? Thank you!
It was quite a task coming up with different voices for all the characters that I was assigned. I was doing about 5 or 6 regularly for most sessions. But to answer your question, most of the time the drawings of the characters were the best input for creating sound. When I auditioned for Wally Burr a hundred years ago ... well, it seems like a hundred years but in reality it was only twenty or so ... I was very happy to see all the mock ups, (drawings) of the characters ... I just picked out the ones I wanted to audition for and was surprised at how many I got.
Frank (2/20/2007, 7:51:59 AM)
I'm really disappointed in the Transformer movie coming out in July. I grew up in the 80's hearing that harsh voice of Megatron. No other actor has ever put shivers in my spine from a cartoon than you. I told my wife the other day the movie won't be the same ... [snip] You and Peter were the best at your two parts!! - Invader (Proud member of the 501st Legion TR-7267 Star Garrison)
Thanks for the loyalty! Don't give up yet they haven't completely made up their minds and voices are the last thing cast. I did enjoy doing "Megs" but who knows what will happen. You can still voice your opinion on TF sites ... I guess that is how we got included in the first place from the insistence of the fans. I know both Peter and I were surprised how many people were out there pulling for us ... it worked for Peter and he will be a great addition to their project.
Frank (2/20/2007, 7:51:59 AM)
Hello, my name is Christopher Morales and like you I am a big fan of Mr Welker's work. I'm inquiring if I could get in touch with the man himself because I would like him to tutor me in the ways of "voice" acting as Daws Butler did for Nancy "Bart Simpson" Cartwright. Thank you and I hope to hear from you.
I have been asked to speak at classes and help folks with their voice careers and you know what ... I stink, really ... there are great people out there that do teaching and coaching for a living. Depending on what city you live in you could check around and then go for it!
Frank (2/20/2007, 7:51:59 AM)
Hey Frank, my name's Danny and I grew up loving the tough and eager character of Megatron. Your unique voice made that character along with Chris Latta as Starscream. I would love to get you to sign my Megatron Japanese reissue if you ever made it through Knoxville TN. Have you ever been asked to participate as a guest at our annual "Adventurecon" comic show? I would like to know if you're ever doing a show signing autographs anywhere near town. Could I please request a schedule of shows you might do if you are or ever decide to do any? Thanks!
Thanks for asking ... I have been invited, but as of yet have not attended any of the shows. I was hoping to get together with Peter one of these times and do one together. Currently, I have no plans to be on any tours but hopefully one day I can get that Japanese "reissue" signed for you!
Frank (2/20/2007, 7:51:59 AM PST)
I'm sure you're getting a lot of the Transformer letters expressing what fans feel. To say that the movie will not be what it should is an understatement if you are not the voice of Megatron. I have been looking forward to this movie for a long time and since I found out Peter Cullen will voice Prime I was overjoyed. I hope that things are set right and you bring Megatron to life. There is no other Megatron in all the eyes of fans. I'll wish for the best, and if you're not the voice, I still wish you all the best!
A big transformer fan, Shaun
Shaun, Shaun, Shaun,
You have made my day. I really do appreciate hearing from you (the fans) and it is gratifying to know that you are pulling for me. As I have mentioned in other letters, it is not over yet, as far as I know, Megatron is still being decided. I am very pleased that my pal Peter is set. He is such a great guy in addition to being a brilliant voice personality. That being said, I still wouldn't mind a little rumble with Peter and the Autobots!
Frank (2/20/2007, 7:51:59 AM)
Through the wonders of the Internet, I've learned that Mr. Welker is set to voice Megatron in the upcoming Transformers movie. If this is an actual fact, then please tell him congratulations from me. I cannot even try to imagine anyone who could possibly do a better job of voicing Megatron, Leader of the Decepticons than the "voice god" himself, Frank Welker. One more thing before I go. Recently, I have been thinking of getting myself a talent agent. I figured, 'If I'm going to make a career out of acting, there's no time like the present'. Wish me luck, and please ask Mr. Welker to wish me luck too.
Yours sincerely and respectfully,
Well, we might have the horses just a wee bit ahead of the wagon ... not your fault ... there are lots of rumors about me doing and not doing the "Transformers Movie." As of this date, 02/19/07, I have not been offered any roles. That doesn't mean that I won't be, it just means it is not decided ... as far as I know ... man am I being vague or profound ... I don't know which ... but I am confusing myself. Thank you for pulling for me, I appreciate that. As to the agent, if you are getting into the biz, yes that is a step you will need to take ... oh, and yes by all means ... good luck!
Frank (2/20/2007, 7:51:59 AM)
I was wondering if you wouldn't mind answering a few questions I have regarding the upcoming TF cartoon series. Do you know what the official title of the show will be? I've heard Transformers Heroes mentioned. Can you elaborate on the plot? Have you seen any concept art for the show?
The information I've been given so far was that the animation studio is Answer and Mook, that the character designs are being made by the team behind Teen Titans, that David Kaye will be voicing Optimus Prime and that the basic premise of the series is that the Transformers arrived on Earth in the future where robots are common place as humanity's servants. However the robots of Earth have a secret that may doom humanity and their unlikely Autobot saviors.
I have failed you. But my excuse is a good one ... I am not in the show! Further they haven't even offered me a visit to their studio or to sit in on a session ... of course I would make faces and rude noises at the cast since I am not one of them ... sour grapes, you say ... hmmm? Hope the show does well and turns out as you wish for all the fans. Wish I knew all the answers sorry ... I could tell you about "Curious George!"
Frank (2/20/2007, 7:51:59 AM)
Are you going to do any voices in the upcoming live-action TRANSFORMERS movie?
I am not really sure what's happening with the "Transformer" movie other than my talented friend Peter Cullen has been cast. Presently, I have not been offered any roles. They are doing a new series based on our old shows which neither Peter nor I were cast. I think Corey Burton is playing the new Megatron. He is a wonderful voice talent and a great guy, so it's nice to be replaced by folks you like at any rate.
Frank (12/8/2006, 9:49:54 PM)
[Would you] ask Frank how he & the Sound FX guys made the mechanical Sound of Soundwave from Transformers? What kind of sound tools/filters did they use and did he do anything to add to it or or did he talk "normal" while recording[?] Frank along with Don Messick, Mark Hamill & Mel Blanc are some of my favorite voice actors and [I] always wanted to be like them. Anyways, thank you for your time.
Thanks for your question. Actually the voice of Soundwave is a core voice I use for big nasty sounding dudes. It is the same voice I used as the Cave of Wonders in "Aladdin" and Dr. Claw in "Inspector Gadget." For Soundwave, they took that deep voice and did their studio magic, our great engineer Scott Brownlee would be the guy.
Your favorite list is a good one. I had the privilege of working with Don Messick for a lot of years. He was the epitome of professionalism.
Good luck Todd,
Frank (9/15/2006, 6:38:31 AM)
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First of all, I love your work. You truly are an inspiration.
Thank you Kenneth ... it is nice to know that folks out there enjoy my work.
> Secondly, I was interested in knowing whether you are in the upcoming Simpsons Movie?
A few years back Dan "C" did Santa's Little Helper in a rehearsal and unfortunately for me ... did it a little too good. The producers thought ... "Hmmm, Dan barks pretty good, and we are already paying him and he seems to like doing the dog thing ... why do we need to pay Welker who comes in here, spends less than an hour, eats all the doughnuts, refuses to come to rehearsals ... let's just give the damn dog to Dan!" Bingo ... I'm out. I did do lots of shows that needed sound effects and weird sounds, but Santa is without this little helper.
Oh, and no ... nothing in the movie.
> I noticed a Santa's Little Helper themed episode [this season] and you weren't credited at the end.
I wanted a raise ... most of what they asked me to do was wild and wacky, but it also almost always hurt my throat. So, I asked for a raise ... that is why you haven't seen me. They are really great people over there, but they have a rule about "top of the show" for guest performers and I fell under that consideration.
> What it's like for you to have done so many movies and shows, but not always get credited?
Well, when I first started out ... I didn't know to ask for credit, and I really didn't want it ... and then I realized it was important from a business standpoint. Sound editors look, listen and talk ... and my family was more than happy to wait until the end credits to see my name which appeared next to the roman numerals and film can companies. Then my head started growing and I wanted more ... especially when I was doing a lot of work and no one was offering. I saw it was important ... now it has become an important part of the contract.
> I notice a lot of your more subtle work -- particularly in the '80s-- didn't always get credited.
> I saw an episode of MacGyver recently, that I'm sure you did some of the animal sounds in.
Yes, I have done several MacGyvers. I believe I did one show called White Rhino? Anyway, I did the sounds for this White Rhino that was killed and mutilated for its horn. The show won an award and I was very proud of that ... it was a real trip trying to make this model they created come to life and be very sympathetic.
Wow, thank you for bringing that up ... great memories and nice to know someone beside myself and family [and Doreen] and a publicist I pay, know about the Mac shows.
> Thank you. And best of luck in your future projects :)
No, thank you for your thoughtful note!
Frank (7/6/2007, 10:44:46 PM)
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Just a quick thank you. You bring me, and many others, so much joy with the voice of Curious George. I'm a 51 yr. old pharmacist that can't start her day without a little dose of George. You truly bring him to life!
Well thank you. I'm glad to hear that ... we try very hard to make the shows enjoyable and not talk down to the little ones and keep it listenable for the adults. We are now in the fourth season about half way through recording and I hope it continues to bring you a smile. By the way, we also have a Christmas special this year with lots of music be sure to look for that in a few months!
Frank (5/1/2009, 9:31:27 PM)
Why were there two "Dr. Claw" voices on Inspector Gadget -- yours being the prominent one?
Thank you for your question. I think the reason you may have heard two different Claw voices was DIC, the company that produced our show, got a very good deal (offer) to take the show and produce it in Canada. The producers felt that it would be possible to replace everybody's voice except Don Adams who they would pick up in the states. For whatever reason they changed their minds and had me do Claw and Brain and the cat..I am glad they did. However, along the way a few episodes may have slipped through. I had to redo about 25 shows that were done by another actor. This meant I had to match his reading and timing which was not even close to what I was doing ... it was a tough job ... but as I said before, I am glad it came home to Hollywood.
Frank (4/13/2009, 7:20:38 PM )
You got to voice Garfield the Cat in "Garfield Gets Real." I also hear that you are currently in work of a new Garfield movie, "Garfield's Fun Fest." How is it like voicing the famous fat, tubby cat?
Your Biggest Fan,
Yes, I was fortunate to have worked with my good friend Lorenzo Music the original "Garfield" in "Garfield and Friends." Since I was an impersonator by trade, listening through all those sessions with Lorenzo, I came out doing his voice. Little did I know that we would lose the wonderful Lorenzo Music a few years later. I worked with him a lot and considered him a good friend. When I was originally approached to do the voice I was not prepared vocally or mentally, but after Bill Murray did the feature and it came back to me I was overjoyed with the idea and wanted to bring it back as close as I could to Lorenzo. Though it will never be exactly the same, one tends to add a personal footprint, that is what I have tried to do. It has been a treat doing Garfield, both for the new DVD's and series that we are currently doing.
Back in 1990, during Bugs Bunny's 50th birthday, Bugs needed a new voice after the death of Mel Blanc. Even though it went to Jeff Bergman, did you try out for the voice?
I really never did audition, I went in to read but found the process that WB was doing for the auditions flawed. That being said, I never was as good as Jeff or Greg Berson and others that were auditioning. Mr. Bergman does a great job as does Billy West. I think I have improved over the years, but Jeff needn't worry. He is heads and tails and ears over me!
On Wikipedia it says you did the voice of Daffy Duck in "Gremlins 2-The New Batch" (in the Looney Tunes segments), but on another website, it says that Jeff Bergman did the voice. Who did the voice, you or him?
That is a good question. Our director, the wonderfully weird Joe Dante, would ask us to throw in things here and there, so I could have ... but if Jeff is in the credits, then I would say it was him. I was really there to do Mohawk, and in the first go around I was Stripe the evil gremlin.
Best to you Austin!
Frank (6/22/2008, 6:19:17 AM)
I am a total fan of your work, especially Muppet Babies, Little Muppet Monsters and other Disney Productions. When you inherited Skeeter from Howie Mandel you made her sound more girlish, higher and cute. Your Kermit voice was also good, as well as Baby Beaker. I also liked the voices you gave Camilla the Chicken, Irma, Polly the Parrot and did you voice Officer Caruthers? Many people think its Greg Berg, but if you ask me it sounded an awful lot like your Fred Jones voice. Do you think Muppet Babies will come back to syndication? Also, in Whose Tale Is It Anyway did Janice have a valley girl voice or a different voice? Anyway the voice acting business is definitely your thing.
Thank you. Muppet Babies remains one of my very favorites ... again because of the director a wonderful crazy guy named Hank Saroyan and a very talented fun cast. It's get redundant me always saying this, but it just so happens that these casts are more often than not fun talented people.
Howie only worked one season with us and then was to busy so I took over the role of Skeeter. I really liked doing her and, of course, Kermit.
I don't know if it will ever come back but I would do it in a flat out second. One thing that I was very disappointed in was that the studio never backed our wonderful music. Hank and our musical genius staff put together very clever top notch stuff. We actually did an album and I say modestly that it was brilliant but there was no support for it and it died on the vine. I think if they released it even today it would do extremely well ... oh well, that is the way this biz goes. Thanks again for bringing up this great project it was a joy to do.
Frank (3/21/2008, 9:04:58 PM)
FRANK ACCIDENTALLY ANSWERED THIS LETTER TWICE, SO HERE'S ANOTHER REPLY!
I loved Muppet Babies and it sound like you really did your homework. Howie Mandell was such fun to work with and when he left I did take over Skeeter. It is interesting that we both came up with a voices that were very close. I use to do a little kid that sounded almost identical as Howie's, "Bobby" ala Skeeter. He made the most of that voice with, "Bobby's World" and I didn't fair so well with just ending up doing a Christmas record with mine.
Matt, I think I did do Officer Caruthers. I would love it if "Muppet Babies" came back. Sometimes shows make it back, like our "Scooby Doo" shows, but then others never do. Just a side note, we did an album of really great music that was written and produced by Hank Saroyan with the music department and fabulous work by Janis Liebhart. But for some reason the studio never got behind promoting this wonderful LP. I hope someday it makes it out into the light of day ... it really would stand the test of time and I know you and the Muppet aficionados would love it.
Thanks for watching and listening ...
Frank aka Kermit (6/22/2008, 6:34:51 AM)
1. On "Animaniacs" what was it like to work with Bernadette Peters? And why do you think she was given the part as Rita? Even though she was already big in terms of fame on Broadway and movies and stuff was she new to voiceover? By the way your role as Runt was funny. Never seen Rain Man with Dustin Hoffman, but I bet it was a riot!
Ms. Peters was very special. I didn't get to work with her very much because she was in New York most of the time and her lines were picked up separately. But when she was at a session it was extra special ... I think she really liked the voice world and we all enjoyed working with her. One thing, to me her singing was fabulous, I don't really understand why she is not more recognized for her incredible voice. She sings like an angel! What talent. Oh and you should see "Rainman" -- Dustin Hoffman is doing a great impression of me! ; )
2. I heard you were in was Sonic the Hedgehog, which is still popular after 15 years. Do you wish to voice the new Sonic games?
Forgive me, but my work on "Sonic" was pretty brief and I don't remember much about the show or the game.
3. I heard you grew up in Denver, so are you a big Rockies, Broncos, or Nuggets fan?
Rob from Texas
I am lousy sports fan, I only get behind my teams when they are winning. So now thanks to the "Rockies" I can't wait to tell everybody ... "Hey, I'm from Denver you know!" But if we start talking about the Broncos, I say I am from Colorado Springs. If we talk about the Nuggets, then I say I am from New Mexico!!
Frank (10/20/2007, 3:54:25 PM)
PS. I have my eye on the "Cowboys," I could end up being from Dallas! Take care Rob!
Thanks to one of your ever-alert fans, I just heard about "Garfield Gets Real" and that you are now the famous cat's voice! I'm really going to be looking forward to this, if it's true!!!
Your Loyal Webmistress, Doreen!
Yes, it is true. I do a bunch of characters in these shows and it is an honor to do Garfield! Lorenzo Music was my friend and I am staying very close to Lorenzo's cat and less of Bill Murray's. We have done two direct to DVDs with one more to go in series of three. The first is due out shortly with a limited matinee showing in theaters. Very good quality and great voices.
Frank (10/20/2007, 7:20:06 AM)
First of all I love all the stuff you have done over the years. I love watching the TV series of Curious George or as my mum calls him "The nosey little pest" I'll be honest in saying I didn't like the movie very much. I only went to see it because you were in it but I'm not a big Will Farrell fan. Now the TV series I love because I can irritate my friends by pointing out the characters you, Jim Cummings and Jeff Bennett are voicing. Although I do the same on every Disney movie & series I own (313 to be precise. made up of 93 DVDs and 220 VHS). Like everyone else I think Nibbler is so cute, just a shame you didn't get to do audio commentary on any of the episodes.
Yikes, that is a lot of barks, and oohs and ahhs, what a collection!!! Nibbler is a little doll until he eats or burps ... by the way in the new shows coming out, Nibbler will talk a lot more. That is me both as his speaking voice and noises, I based his speaking voice on a local TV anchorman here in LA LA land. The new Futurama shows are quite good and Nibbler has more to do so enjoy ... uh oh, more DVD's for your collection???
I was checking out all your filmography and it was so surprised to see how long you have been voicing characters plus many you were uncredited for. Have you won awards for you hard work? You definitely deserve a lifetime achievement award or maybe a Disney legend award (seriously) because i don't know any other voice actor in the business who is as talented as you, not that IM forgetting Mel Blanc & Daws Butler, but the best alive voice actor in the business and i wish you good luck in the future :) And who knows, maybe if I'm lucky i might be able to one day do animation one of the characters you voice.
Well, thank you...yes, I have been at it quite a while. I refuse to give up until I get it right!?! No, I have not won any awards in the business. Wait a minute, I did win a "Cleo" an advertising award for a 7-11 convenient store radio commercial a few years back, and an acting award in college but other than that ... nope, no awards. I really don't like the way the industry gives awards, the studio asks you personally what show you would like to be nominated for and you are supposed to pick. That is so absurd, shouldn't a dignified group of your peers and fans nominate you for work beyond the norm? Nope, they will fill in all the slots with whomever and it becomes promotion. I have refused to nominate myself. It really is not something I believe in nor do I participate in any award shows. I think it is particularly bad in animation. The people that vote aren't familiar with a lot of the guys in the trenches and vote for celebrities because they recognize the names. The one exception was my friend Rob Paulsen who actually won an Emmy. He deserved it for so many shows. I saw his award as a "life time award" he managed to achieve in 10 years of brilliant work. Hey, I should get an award for being against awards, except Robs!!!
A question I want to ask is about Sabor the leopard in Disney's Tarzan. Did you actually do the vocal effects on that? My friends thought they just irritated a leopard and recorded the sounds it made.
I don't think so, but I can't swear to it.
One thing my mum wants to know is how does the man in the yellow hat understand what George is saying or trying to explain most of the time? Or is that just one of cartoon's great mysteries?
It's a cartoon. But believe it or not, Jeff Bennett who does the "Man in the Yellow Hat" actually understands pretty much everything I am saying as the monkey ... but can't hardly understand a word I say in English.
Just a warning for the future I will be writing anotheremail soon asking lots more questions.
Uh oh, be nice! I will try and answer them Teresa.
Many thanks and good wishes for the future,
Thank you Teresa for your support, I hope one day you will be animating one of my voices and you win an award for it, that I would support!
Frank (10/17/2007, 6:21:14 PM)
Dear Mr. Welker,
My name is John Cuellar and I am a big fan of yours especially your long and great voice acting career. I was wondering if you could please answer a few questions for me for an interview because I am not sure that you will get this!
Thanks for writing ... I did get your questions and now I will try to answer them.
1. No Offense. But why do you choose to voice a lot characters who are inaudible or can't speak, such as animals or inanimate objects?
Very good question John, it is a little complicated but here goes ... TYPE CASTING! Okay, I lied it isn't that complicated. When I started, all I did was talk ... Freddy Jones on Scooby Doo, Jabberjaw, Hefty Smurf, Baby Kermit, Megatron, etc. etc. etc. Then, during sessions I would do a lot of animals, monsters and noises, I just happened to be one of the few actors who seemed interested in doing these things. It opened up a whole specialty area for me, which was great, because almost every show had a dog or cat or bird ... guess what, I was hired because I talked and did these weird noises. As time went on and the directors that really knew me and my range, of both talking and squawking, were replaced with the new group of directors (who happened to be my friends and contemporaries) they saw me mostly as an animal and noise specialist ... that spread I got pretty much type cast. Disney, for example never calls me in for talking parts. I guess it is a double edged sword, I work a lot but I don't always get to read for things I would enjoy doing.
Do you mind if we talk about an underrated program called, "Road Rovers?" I mean you, Jess Harnell (Hunter), Tress McNeille (Colleen), Kevin Michael Richardson (Exile), Jeff Bennett (Blitz); each one as great as the person besides them.
Another good subject. We all loved doing that show and none of us know why it was pulled. That would be one for the studio to answer, but we all really did have fun with it.
2. What was it like voicing the characters Shag and Muzzle?
Forgive me, but I don't recall now exactly what I did but they were fun.
3. Which show has the best cast you have ever worked with?
I think the, "Smurfs" was one of the all time brilliant, fun, goofy casts ever. Mike Bell, Don Messick, Paul Winchell, Bill Callaway, Danny Goldman, Hamilton Camp, Alan Oppenheimer, June Foray, Lucille Bliss, Jonathan Winters and many more guests and wonderful actors. The great director Gordon Hunt was like the icing on the cake. We should have paid the studio to come to work ... it was so much fun. Now the, "Smurfs" was a show where I got to do everything ... lots of talking and lots of noises!
You have done so many good roles in your career it is hard for me to choose, but I am glad you did them. Thank you so much! If roles were trophies, you would have an entire room full of golden ones. Please respond back to me as soon as possible. It was a pleasure meeting you and I wish you the best of luck with the rest of your career. Thanks!
Thank you John!
Frank Welker (9/18/2007, 8:33 PM)
I've been a fan of yours for a good few years now, ever since rediscovering Transformers, The Real Ghostbusters, Animaniacs, and various other shows you have graced with your copious talents. I could say that, like others, I'm been an unknowing Frank Welker fan since I were little!
Uh oh, I am beginning to feel old now...but thank you, I guess it has been a while since I've been at it.
So, I came up with some questions:
1) Some voice actors (like Jeff Bennett, Moe LaMarche and the late, great Daws Butler) often use impersonations of celebrities as the basis of their character voices. Do you often seek inspiration from real-life voices? I know you did Runt on "Animaniacs" as Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man, but are there any others?
Yes, I have often draw on well know voices for take offs or variants. My Dynomutt was a take off of Red Skeleton's Heathcliff. Bill Scott did a similar take off from that same character for his wonderful Bullwinkle from "Rocky and Bullwinkle." I actually got to work with Bill and did a lot of the characters from the show including the narrator. These were for the "Bullwinkle" restaurants ... I'm sorry, I'm blabbing. The answer is yes.
2) When it came to voicing Ray Stantz on "The Real Ghostbusters," how much did Dan Aykroyd's portrayal of the character in the original movie influence your performance? (If you saw the movie beforehand, that is?)
You know not much at all. I love Dan, but I was doing my own interpretation. The powers that be thought we sounded a lot a like and were very happy with the attitude. I didn't really have to do much with Ray at all. I thought it was peculiar the way he was drawn ... a little pudgy huh?
3) I liked your role of Dr. Viper on the 1993 series SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron. I wonder if it must have been painful for you to keep up that voice for extended periods? Are there any techniques you use when doing difficult or painful voices/sounds?
I don't remember that voice much, but I have always tried to make my villains unique. Like Megatron he always blew my voice out by the end of the sessions but it was worth it to make him unusual sounding. It is very important for me to get a good night's sleep and drink lots of water ... that helps. I just finished another game as Megatron and I had lots of lines, right now my throat is very sore and I am hoarse ... such is the price of infamy.
4) Do you ever use your vocal abilities for fun in everyday life? For example, do you ever order lunch at the Drive-Thru in Megatron's voice, or regale your bank manager with dog noises?
Yes, I bug my golf buddies incessantly. I love doing Cary Grant and it is very entertaining for the first 10 minutes but after nine holes (two hours) my buddies want to drop me in a lake with a bag of cement golf clubs! Dave Coulier and I play together once in a while and we completely regress to fifth graders ... we have been barred from some courses because of loud play!
5) What, in your professional opinion, would be a better pick for a given role: the VA who has the perfect voice for that character but doesn't have the sharpest acting skills, or the VA who maybe doesn't have the exact required voice but could do a better acting job?
Wow, that is a great question ... well, all of your questions are great. I think probably the better actor would win out. I have heard some great voices and then listened to them struggle to make sense of the copy and get across what is in the script. That happens with celebrity voices who are wonderful in their own medium but haven't quite got the idea of the voice acting world. There is a lot of latitude with readings and usually it is not a problem ... but yes, the acting first.
Thanks in advance for your time, Frank. England loves you!
John, you are most welcome and please give all my friends across the pond a warm hello from the colonies. Someday I hope to visit and pay my respects.
Frank Welker (10/10/2007, 7:23:38 PM)
Dear Mr. Welker,
My all-time favorite film is "The Little Engine That Could," which you did five different voices for. The song you sang as Rollo the Clown was simply beautiful. I've been wondering - even though they were just a few of your many characters - how enjoyable of an experience was it to work with your voice-acting friend Peter Cullen and other names as the characters that brought the tale to life?
I remember that project well and it was pure delight. Mike Young Productions produced it and I remember Mike was so happy with the voices [that] he tried to get me nominated for an award ... needless to say, I was very grateful ... but fortunately, I saved a lot of time by not writing an acceptance speech.
It was such a cute show and I really enjoyed playing the different parts ... the singing was a challenge but I'm glad you liked it. I had forgotten that Peter was in it, but anything we do together is a treat. He really is a good guy and as I have said many times before, my goal is to make him laugh ... he roars when he laughs and that is music to my ears!
Frank (8/20/2007, 9:11:02 PM)
I was wondering how you swapped between Ralph and Plotz. Did you say all of one characters lines then recorded the others? Or did you do one then quickly fit the other in? I would love to know! Because when I'm doing impressions (which I'm told I'm pretty good) I keep changing so quickly I get tongue twisted!
When we have multiple characters, it does become a challenge to keep from "twisting our tongues" but that is one of the fun things about recording several characters at the same time it really mixes things up. Jeff Bennett is particularly good at it, Billy West too. I pride myself in trying to keep up but sometimes I just have to bite my tongue (pun) and start over. With more experience you should have no trouble at all. The more you do your voices and characters the easier it will become and soon it will be second nature.
Best wishes, and keep up the good work!
Frank (8/6/2007, 4:28:47 PM)
A friend of mine in Sweden and I were talking about various dog roles you've provided the voices for and decided that Buttons is our favorite. My reason is that he's very loyal and her's is that "he is very heroic, yet he hasn't fortune on his side." Anyway, my question is: Do you have a favorite dog that you've done the voice for? Have a nice day, Frank!
Sweden??? That is amazing I am excited to know someone in another state!
As to dogs, I guess it is a cop out, but I would have to say I like each dog for different reasons. I liked Dynomutt for his sheer silliness and working with the wild and wacky Gary Owens-The Blue Falcon, how can you top that! I liked Santa's little helper, and Runt because both were sympathetic characters. Buttons was a heroic character who always seemed to get the wrong end of the stick, but he was indeed always loyal to Mindy (played by Nancy Cartwright). Of course I love doing Scooby, but since I didn't create the voice it is not the same, Scooby Doo truly belongs to the genius of Don Messick.
I enjoyed doing real dog sounds for "Homeward Bound," trying to make the effects as real as possible was an enjoyable challenge.
I always hope my "bark is better than my trite!"
Frank (7/23/2007, 8:01:02 AM)
I'm a theater major interested in doing voice-over. You, along with Rob Paulsen, Tress MacNeille, Maurice LaMarche, Jim Cummings and Billy West, were in every one of my childhood cartoon shows. Thank you! Dr. Claw is my personal favorite. As an actor, I'm in complete shock at your gift to do animals.
1. How did you learn to do dogs and cats and birds and monkeys...?
Thank you for the animal compliment. I guess I have always been able to mimic just about everything I hear. Birds, dogs, cats, and people ... accents, nonsense languages etc. I think that was just dumb luck, something I was born with. It has paid off doing the animals as almost every show has a pet!
2. What was it like to do Dr. Claw on Robot Chicken?
That was a lot of fun. Those guys are such goofballs, they love satire, and they are very funny. Also, they made it plain they were disappointed that the "Real" Megatron wasn't in the feature ... their words not mine! Of course, I promptly put them on my "A" Christmas card list!
3. What was it like to work with Bernadette Peters?
I liked her a lot. Playing her dog pal was a natural. I remember how much I enjoyed her singing ... what a great voice. I have always felt she should have had been a bigger star, she is a great talent ... oh, the whole time I worked with her, I never did I ever see her cough up a furball!
Good luck, Josh ...
Frank (7/22/2007, 2:42:00 PM)
Hi Frank: Can you tell me how did Hanna-Barbera make those laser beam sounds FX back in the 1960s. Thank you.
Dr. Larry D. Gray Sr.
I haven't a clue ... but I love the question!
Frank (7/22/2007, 2:42:00 PM)
Originally I thought Billy West did Nibbler's "animal noises" and you only did Nibbler's voice when he spoke in English (as Lord Nibbler), but after discussing it with some fellow fans, I now think you've always been Nibbler ALL THE TIME. I know you're credited as Nibbler for the upcoming Futurama thingy, but I'd really like you to tell me what the skinny is regarding old episodes. Thanks a million! Have a very Happy Thanksgiving, Frank!
Yes, I did both vocals and the Nibbler noises on the original shows. I also went in to do some of the new shows and I think I did four. You never know in this business why or for what reasons decisions are made but if Billy is doing Nibbler now I am sure he is doing a fabulous job. He does nearly every voice in the show as it is ... he is wonderful along with Maurice and the rest of that silly bunch. It has been some time since I have heard from them so it could be I am out ... I honestly don't know. Hope that answers the question.
Frank (12/8/2006, 9:56:27 PM)
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Would love to be on Frank's mailing list. He is awesome! I have been a big fan since I was very small. I especially like some of his film parts including his role in How To Frame A Figg.
Keep up the good work, Frank!
Hey, David ...
I am sure Doreen would love to put you on the list, thanks for the interest. By the way, I just finished doing an interview with Stephen Cox who is writing a book about Don Knotts and was interested in our times on "Figg." We will let you know when the book comes out but keep you ears and eyes open in case you see if first.
All the best,
Frank (3/21/2008, 8:50:14 PM)
Just wanted to say that I love your voice acting. It was a shame that you were not picked to reprise your role as "Megatron" for the live-action "Transformers" movie. If I was the casting director I would have asked you. I have a few questions for you as you would probably know. May God shine upon you with peace and everything in the future bestowed upon you with nothing but good fortune.
Hey, thanks Tim. Mike Bay the director made the decision and he just didn't feel my original Megs voice fit the new model and his interpretation. I never really did a proper test or had a face to face meeting with him but that is spilled milk or all spark as the case may be. Okay, now to your questions.
For starters, thank you for reprising your role as Fred Jones on "Scooby-Doo." There would be no Fred Jones without you voicing him. Are their any plans of producing more "Scooby-Doo" direct-to-DVD? If so, do you know if any characters from the original "Scooby-Doo" will make an appearance?
Well, they asked so I said yes ... I am easy that way. It sure is fun doing goofy ol' Fred after all these years. It is a little scary that we still sound pretty much the same ... he is close to my own voice. I don't know what they have in store, but I know there will be more DVD releases and the series continues on in its new form, "Shaggy and Scooby-Doo Get a Clue!" as well.
Who can ever forget you voicing Orbity for the Jetsons? I bet it was great working with legendary actresses Penny Singleton and Janet Waldo; Daws Butler and several others.
Yes in deed, I couldn't agree with you more. All the folks you listed were a pleasure to work with and super stars all!
I [also enjoyed watching you] in other films [and TV shows]. Like the time you guest-starred on "Matt Houston," [when you were] a regular on "The Don Knotts Show," [and when you appeared] in "The Trouble with Girls" and "The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes." I could go on and on. I just wanted to say how magnificent you are. I think you are a terrific actor. Just my opinion, but if I was looking to cast someone in a western, you would be it. I think you would be terrific in a western.
Well, now I am blushing ... but don't stop. Seriously, I appreciate your very nice comments ... and you are very observant, not too many people know that I did on camera performances in those movies and shows. By the way, I did do a western ... my first film. It was called, "Dirty Little Billy" and I played a young punk buffalo hunter, which also happened to be my credit. It was fun, and if I was asked again ... I might just put my boots and hat on and jump on a horse!
Frank Welker (10/15/2007, 10:09:13 AM)
Hi Frank, I just want to let you know that I'm a big fan of yours!
1. You have worked on a lot of live action movies. What are your favorite ones?
I am assuming you mean voice work. I did several on camera roles, but in voice over ... probably, "Aladdin." It was a great working on a film where I had a lot to do. Not only the monkey, Abu, but the tiger Rajah, and the speaking voice for the Cave of Wonders. All good fun. I think it is too hard to just say one but the little monkey does hop right up there. I have fondness for "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and "Species," as well.
2. It's so cool how you do creature voices. For example: Trolls, Gremlins and other animals. They sound so real! How do you come up with those voices?
That is one of the difficult things you want to achieve ... making them believable and scary. I love working to picture and creating sound to what I see, I get lost in the action and really have no concept of self ... it is a trippy kind of thing and it is almost like flying. Really fun ... until the director or sound editor has to put in their two cents. That brings me right back to Earth. But the answer is, it just comes out based on what I see. For cartoons, I do much better if I can look at a photo or drawing ... written descriptions aren't nearly as helpful. In Gremlins, we watched the screen and just did a bunch of crazy stuff. Joe Dante (the director) was such great fun, he liked everything we did ... he would just say, "Do more, do more!" That is heaven!
3. How was it playing the voice of Jimmy's dog and Paultra in the 2003 Jimmy Neutron's Nicktoon Blasts at Universal?
Jimmy's dog was pretty straight forward. Early on we
tried doing a lot more noises with the the voice but as time went on the effects became less and less ... then eventually, I pretty much ended up just barking. That show has had a great run, very good cast and Debbi Derriberry (Jimmy Neutron) is brilliant!
4. Did you also do the voice of Scream in the 1999 Amazing Adventures Of Spider-Man Ride at Universal?
You know, I am not sure ... but I wouldn't put it past
me to do something like that!!!!
Thanks for the questions,
Frank Welker (10/14/2007, 5:33:50 PM)
Hello, I'm a 27-year old guy from Sweden. I´m not the Swedish friend Doreen talked about, but I am however a big fan of you and your work which I think you deserve more recognition for. I also have two questions:
1. I know you do the voice of the Footstool in the 1991 Disney feature "Beauty and the Beast." However, you are also credited for doing "special vocal effects" for this movie and I am curious as to what kind of vocal effects you did?
2. I've read on a German website that for the German dub of the 1992 Disney feature "Aladdin," you were sent the German script and then recorded Abu´s lines in German. Did you do that for Sweden and other countries too? Was it hard to do? Thank you in advance and keep up the good work!
(1) Gosh, I am not sure ... I vaguely remember some cats and horses and such? I will usually help out the guys when it comes to sounds effects especially if I work for them a lot, as I do Disney.
(2) What the studio did, and this was kind of amazing, they brought in dialect coaches from all the different countries and I would just try and mimic their words and inflections. It was very hard, and the most difficult was Mandarin. I remember we did the same thing for the move "Gremlins" that was interesting indeed. As to Swedish, I am not sure but probably did.
Now I have a question for you. The golfer Jasper Parnevik, I understand his dad was quite an impressionist and comedian. Is that true? I love Jasper, and I hope one day he finds a Nanny for me too!
Best wishes Dave!
Frank (8/20/2007, 10:00:52 PM)
As for Beauty and the Beast, there is a scene with some wolves attacking Belle and I was thinking that maybe you did the wolves sounds? As for the question to me, the answer is yes. Jesper Parnevik's father is impressionist and comedian Bo Parnevik. He is probably one of the most famous impressionists in Sweden of all time and also a good comedian. He is semi-retired now, however he still does things now and then. Actually, this year he celebrates some kind of anniversary as a performer and because of that he's currently doing an anniversary show with his most famous impressions. And just like his son , Bo Parnevik is also very interested in golf, altough I don't think he has played golf professionally like his son.
Thank you for the info on Bo Parnevik. A big part of my life has been associated with impressions. It was a big part of my stand up act here in the ole US of A. As to the movie, I had forgotten but you are absolutely correct ... I did indeed do the wolves!
Frank (8/23/2007, 9:56:09 PM)
Hello, Mr. Welker. I heard your voice as Abu in Aladdin and some other characters in disney movies and series like Curious George, Jackie Chan Adventures, and I heard your voice as Darkseid and Megatron and Krulos on Youtube. How long did it take you perfect those voices and when did you get interested in acting? Did you play any sports or do any activities while growing up?
Hey Omeed. Yes, I did the voices of Abu, Rajah the tiger, and the Cave of Wonders in the feature "Aladdin" for Disney. As to perfecting the voices you mentioned, they were pretty spontaneous. Megatron was pure invention and I was trying to come up with something different than what everybody else was doing I wanted it to stand out. It worked and it seems to be a memorable voice. I think with time you can get more subtle with your characters but you still are tied to what the director and the script call for. Darkseid was another one that was fun to do, but was more typical villain type.
I was very active in sports and was co-captain of my high school football team. I also was in track, and wrestling but football was my sport. I was really bad at baseball and was put in the outfield. Once when I went to catch a high, very high, fly ball..I ran under it to catch it, looked up and it hit me right smack in the middle of my forehead. It was shortly after that I began barking like a dog and wanted to call Hollywood my home.
Frank (4/29/2007, 9:24:19 PM PDT)
I've got a question for you ... how come that Chris dude is "allowed to" sound so much like you (Bunjee, etc.) in that new Disney movie, Lilo and Stitch? I know he's the writer/director, but I think YOU should have been Stitch!!! Are you in it? Thanks, Frank! Take it easy!
You are not the only one. I have been getting a lot of people inquiring about my new movie. I guess it is a back handed compliment. I have always tried to never do anyone else's voice or characters in any way shape or form unless the actor who created the voice is no longer available. I think Chris must have grown up watching "Slimer," the "Shmoo" and "Bunjee" and doesn't realize I'm still making my living doing voices.
The "Stitch" voice has been one of my core voices for as far back as I can remember. I am glad Chris does do the dialog in his own voice.
They are doing a sequel, maybe they will give me a part in the feature ... or a chance to audition?!?
Frank (07/07/2002, 6:40:54 PM)
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Have you ever done any theme park attractions like Universal Studios or the new Island of Adventures at Universal Studios in Orlando? If so what character(s) did you play?
Yes, I have done many voices at theme parks but not sure about the parks you mentioned. I did some dino roars for Universal a long time ago and many voices for Disney over the years. I did a moose head singing (LA) and half of comedy duo "Ham n Eggs" for Epcot...and a submersible talking machine for Epcot. It has been a while and they may no longer be active.
Frank Welker (4/4/2009 7:35:06 AM)
Hi Mr. Welker,
I'm a big fan of yours. I was wondering if you did the voice for a radio show that dates to around 1984 ... it was called "The October Country" and I believe it was a radio show that did stories from Ray Bradbury's novel. Were you one of the voices for that? I have a really run down copy of it that my dad made from a real to real tape but I've been wanting a crisper version of it for a long time now. I was pretty sure it was your voice, on many of the characters in that show, but I was curious.
Thank you again for all of your hard work!
Yes, I did do one of those radio shows and that was about the time period. We all dressed up in tuxedos for the recording and did it in front of an audience. It was a wonderful experience working with Ray and the talented cast. I remember, Lynn Redgrave and Gary Owens, June Foray among the other great folks along with an old time sound effects man.
Hope you find a good copy of the show.
Frank (11/3/2008, 9:18:11 PM)
Everytime I see a John Mc Cain ad, I laugh because I just know [you] could probably do a kick-ass impersonation of him, based on what I've heard. I was wondering if [you] would consider doing "Almost Sold Out 2," with a few recent impersonations, and post it on your website? (Or sell it if [you don't] want to do it for free.)
I appreciate your confidence in me ... I have been fooling around with these voices, driving my friends crazy, but have not put enough work or time into them to chance public scrutiny. As to another album ... maybe down line. I have been noodling around a few ideas but, again, nothing solid. I have been keeping busy doing my voice work commitments, but I always look fondly on my days of stand-up and may once again give it a shot. I'll have to check with Doreen about what we can put on the site.
You take care Trina!
Frank (10/3/2008, 8:20:20 PM)
Hi Mr. Welker,
I have loved your work since I was a young child. I grew up with Scooby-Doo, Transformers, Inspector Gadget, and the Real Ghostbusters to name just a few. I am constantly amazed by the number of voices you can create and all the wonderful impressions of animals you create, my favorites being Freddy and Megatron, complete polar opposites in character. I used to try my hardest to do the best scratchy voiced Decepticon Leader a 7 year old could while playing with my friends. I've since grown and have started a family. I have had the greatest joy introducing my son to some of the cartoons you are involved with, his favorite being Curious George. My question is, did your children enjoy listening to your work? We're they ever disbeliveing that it was actually you doing those sounds/voices?
Also, do you ever get the chance to respond to fan mail? I sent a letter with a photo to hopefully get autographed a while back and I just figured you're schedule was pretty much crammed full of work and didn't allow for things of that nature.
Thanks again for sharing your wonderful talent with the world, and giving two generations of little boys voices to mimic.
Thanks for watching all those years and introducing your son to the world of animation!
As to fan mail, sometimes I get it and some times I don't. Also, I am way behind in getting to a lot I have in boxes waiting for response. I didn't use to respond because I was having a tough time getting the studios to give me cells or photos for all you nice people ... that continues. But now I see that some creative folks have included their own art work with self addressed envelopes and postage. When I do see these I try to get them back. I apologize if yours has not made it through the haze. All I can do is ask you to send again to CESD (my agency) and hope they will send it on. That is the best way. Again thanks for the loyalty for all these years!!!
Frank (7/22/2008, 8:33:17 PM)
Fantastic site! I just saw an old Love American Style episode LOVE AND THE OPERA SINGER. Is there any way you could ask Frank if he did the opera singing in that episode? There was no mention of it in the credits and I really think he did perform them. A truly amazing talent, it's surprising how many people aren't familiar with him. Thanks again for your fantastic site.
Yes, Doreen put together a very nice site and is busy with other voice folks' sites you should check out. She is indefatigable.
As to your question, yes that was me in Love American Style the "Opera Singer." I don't believe I did any of the singing, especially if it was good! I ended up doing another episode for them, as well. Not too many people are familiar with my on camera acting career. Most of my professional life has been spent as a stand up comedian and voice over actor. This business affords one a lot of opportunity to expand (or in my case, sneak) into other areas. Even less people know that I actually co-wrote and co-produced a television series for CBS starring Brad Garrett, "First Impressions."
06/13/2008 7:46:11 AM
Lois sent another SMCC article ... in this one you're in costume! :)
You look incredibly adorable as The Cowardly Lion!
Uh oh, my history is catching up with me ...
Frank (8/19/2007, 8:27:33 PM)
I see your name in closing credits all the time. You’re incredibly talented.
You and your "Laugh Trax" co-horts supplied us with some of the funniest television of the early '80s. Is there any chance that the program would be available on DVD? (Or, don’t tell the cops, any "other" way to get our hands on it?)
You’re the best, and I say that in four different voices,
Were your ears burning? Jim Staahl called me just the other day and asked me the same question. We are trying to track down our producer and see if it is possible. I will Let Doreen know and she can post it on the website if we get it going. Just to let you know, in retrospect, that was some of the most fun and enjoyable times I have had in the "biz" thanks to a great cast and production crew.
Thanks for the interest! (I say that in four different languages ... and dog.)
Frank (8/19/2007, 9:16:01 PM)
Hey Frank, I would just like to know if you are going to make any appearances at any conventions around the East Coast, preferably New York. We were not able to see you at this years Botcon 2007 in Rhode Island but hopefully somewhere soon.
Currently I have no plans for appearances on the East Coast, not that I am opposed to traveling out that a way, mind you, it's just no plans or invites at this time. Comic Con is about to take place out here on the West Coast, but I won't be able to attend here either. I guess I am just a social pariah ... I need to get out more!! I may be doing the next Bot Con, but no plans are in concrete. Thank you for your interest!
Frank (7/20/2007, 9:28:44 PM PDT)
When your voice used is on the Internet on a website, or in a game like Roller Monkey on PBS's Curious George site, do they use sounds that you previously recorded for the show, or do you do come in for a special recording session???
They use material from the shows or films. There has been a bone of contention about this, between the agents, producers, and SAG on these kinds of things for some time, one of those gray areas! Hope that answers your question.
Frank (7/6/2007, 10:04:03 PM PDT)
I have a question. The monitor of Rob Paulsen's website, who is a close associate to Corey Burton, said that Frank is in semi-retirement. Is this true by any chance?
In the words of Mark Twain, "the rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated." Well, the rumors of my retirement semi or otherwise are slightly exaggerated. The fact is I am just spoiled. I have made myself not available on Thursdays or Fridays and work just as much Monday thru Wednesday. I do lose a few jobs here and there, but most people are very understanding. Also, I try to avoid working with certain people that I know will cause me pain and aggravation ... man, I am spoiled!
Frank (4/29/2007, 9:48:10 PM PDT)
PS. I have it on good authority that Corey Burton will not work before 11:00 a.m. He's not spoiled though, he's just smart!
Sorry to bother you but I had a question I thought you might be able to help me with. I just recently bought a Transformers Soundwave and wanted to send it to Frank Welker to have him autograph it. Is it best to send it to the address listed on your site (great site by the way)? I just would hate to send it and not ever get it back. Thanks for your help!
Hi Brian. Please do not send anything you value in the mail. It happens a lot that these things disappear and or get damaged and I would not want that to happen to you. There is a good chance that I will be doing some botcoms and public appearances in the future and I would be more than happy to sign for you.
Frank (4/29/2007, 9:53:07 PM)
Hey Frank, how are you? I'm curious about something. Is The Totally Ridiculous 12 Days of Christmas available on a CD? Nora and I managed to get enough petition votes to get Dr. Demento to play it several years ago and we recorded it off the radio, but I've never seen it for sale anywhere!?
No, I don't believe it is ... it was on sale eons ago at Tower Records. It was only made on tapes and LP's ... man, that was a while back. There are probably a few out there somewhere!
Frank (4/16/2007, 9:42:33 AM)
Wow, thanks [for answering so much fan mail on a holiday] ... YOU ARE THE BEST! Can you believe next month will be 18 years since we met at Sam Melville's wake? And I still miss him just as much, if not more. Thanks so much for putting up with me all this time!
It is impossible to believe that it has been that long. I still look up at the site where Sammy is when I go by there. I miss them both, they were great together and Sam was an absolute trip ... so much fun!
Putting up with you???? Look what a nice job you have done with your site on my behalf. Holy cow!!! You've been putting up with me!
Frank (3/2/2007, 9:33:54 PM)
"What a great job you have done on the site. I stop by once in a while and it is very nice. I didn't realize you put a 'sign in' book until I got the email from my old neighbor. That was cool. Maybe you could make the title page, 'A Web Page for Frank Welker by Doreen Mulman.' Your name should be prominent! Also, I would like to get you a better front picture, that one is kind of grayed out. The rest of what you have done is so nice and colorful. What great work on this site and your others. Thanks again for all the time and effort on behalf of voice actors et al."
Frank Welker (09/15/2006)
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