Little Bits of History

Voice Artist

Posted in History by patriciahysell on February 6, 2012

Voice Artist

February 6, 1914: Thurl Ravenscroft is born in Norfolk, Nebraska. He moved to California in 1933 to study interior design at the Otis Art Institute. Sir Guy Standing was impressed by Thurl’s humor at a party. Standing suggested the young artist go into show business. After a fellow member of the church choir also mentioned show business, Thurl took the hint.  He auditioned for Paramount and became a studio singer. Soon he had so many calls for jobs, he quit art school, always thinking he could return if show business didn’t work out.

By the mid-1930s Thurl was a regular on the radio program Goose Creek Parson. He moved to Kraft Music Hall and sang backup for Bing Crosby, the star of the show, and any guests as well. He joined a quartet and began to sing with them, too. In 1942 he enlisted in the Air Transport Command (ATC) and served for five years with them. At the time, ATC was a semi-military organization responsible for bringing aircraft overseas to military bases. Thurl met his future wife who worked for TWA. They married in June 1946, three weeks after they met.

After the war, Thurl tried to rejoin the quartet. His replacement in the group didn’t want to leave. Thurl and Max Smith joined together as the Mellomen. The duo pulled in various jobs with top names such as Danny Kaye, Frank Sinatra, and even Elvis. They worked for Walt Disney in films, on television, and on recordings. They worked with Edgar Bergen on the radio and they did many commercials. At one time, the Mellomen had 28 different beer accounts.

Thurl recorded an album of gospel songs on his own. It is Thurl’s voice on many Disney sound tracks. He worked for the Disney Studios for more than 60 years. Some of his most famous songs are the theme songs for Zorro and the Mickey Mouse Club. Although left off the credits, it is Thurl, not Boris Karloff, who sang “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” in the Dr. Seuss classic, How the Grinch Stole Christmas! But perhaps his most famous gig – one he held for 53 years – was with Kellogg’s. In more than 500 commercials, Thurl is the voice of Tony the Tiger. That’s gr-r-r-reat!

We’re the backup singers. We make everything roll. – Brian Randle

You can never devalue the product with an ad if you’re talking about beer or pop because it doesn’t really have any value. You need a big creative ad with a nondurable product so that when you open up your box of Frosted Flakes, you aren’t thinking the mess that’s inside, you’re thinking of Tony the Tiger. – Michael Bernacchi

You’re a foul one, Mr. Grinch.
You’re a nasty, wasty skunk.
Your heart is full of unwashed socks
Your soul is full of gunk.
Mr. Grinch. – Dr. Seuss

They’re Grreat! – Thurl Ravenscroft as Tony the Tiger

Also on this day:

Tobacco Road – In 1987, the US bans smoking in all federal buildings, except Congress.
Not So Old – In 1987, President Ronald Reagan became the oldest sitting US President.
QEII – In 1952, British King George VI died.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: