Voice Overs Of The World: The Island of Misfit Toys
In this installment of Voice Overs of the World, I thought we’d get into the spirit of the holidays and look at a classic Christmas Voice Over and a new one inspired by the original. In the above video, from Rankin-Bass’s classic stop-motion animated special The Island of Misfit Toys, the main characters are the well-known and well-loved Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Yukon Cornelius, Hermey the Elf, and Charlie-in-the-Box.
The voice cast was made up not of celebrities, but rather talented voice actors who made a living with their voices. Rudolph was voiced by Billie Mae Richards, while Yukon Cornelius was voiced by Paul D. Mann. Meanwhile, Paul Soles provided the voice of Hermey the Elf and Carl Banas brought Charlie-in-the-Box to life. Billie Mae Richards played Rudolph in several Rankin-Bass specials and is known worldwide for her portrayal of the character. She was also a starring voice in the Care Bears television cartoon and movies. Larry D. Mann had a prolific career that spanned from the 1950s to the early 1990s, starring in such shows and movies as Scooby-Doo, Howdy Doody, The Pink Panther, and Return to Oz. Paul Soles had a shorter career but is fondly remembered for voicing Spider-Man/Peter Parker in the 1960s animated series Spider-Man. Carl Banas, a former radio DJ, has continued to act in voice overs through present day. He voiced characters in shows such as The Busy World of Richard Scarry, Babar, Hello Kitty, and Spider-Man, as well as numerous commercials throughout the years.
I don’t think I have to say too much about the voices behind these characters. The Rudolph specials have been on the air since 1965, and they get repeated every single year without fail. Millions of children across the world have grown up to the sounds of the characters created by an incredibly talented stable of voice actors. If that doesn’t speak volumes, I don’t know what does.
The next video is a Verizon commercial that’s been airing for the past month or so, in which the iPhone ends up on The Island of Misfit Toys due to its supposedly limited coverage area. I’m not sure if that’s Carl Banas doing the voice of Charlie-in-the-Box or not, but as he is still alive and active in voice overs it certainly could be him. If it’s not him, it’s definitely an uncanny mimicking of his voice. What I like about this ad is the fact that Verizon didn’t go halfway with it. In addition to recreating the world of the Misfit Toys in stop-motion like the original specials (and with a pretty uncanny attention to detail), the voices and music are all perfect recreations of the style of the originals. While this is a clever ad that takes pot shots at Verizon’s main competitor, it was obviously created with a sense of appreciation for the original source material.
It just goes to show how enduring the original Rudolph specials (and the voice talents behind them) are when 40+ years after they originally aired, they’re being used as inspiration for advertisements.
From all of us here at Voice Coaches, we hope you all have a wonder-filled and wonderful holiday!