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Sep 17, 2015

Who didn’t love “Pinky & the Brain” and “The Animaniacs”? Delicious animated antics for the kids, word play, pop references and in-jokes for the adults! All that and big servings of today’s guest, voice actor Rob Paulsen. Paulsen, like Billy West, is a modern day Mel Blanc, the man of 1,000 voices who gave us Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Jack Benny’s sputtering Maxwell and so many more.

ROB PAULSEN podcast excerpt: "In Season 4 of 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,' we have a lot of celebrity talent. We've got a 13-story arc with David Tennant -- the 10th Doctor Who. I'm not a big Whovian but I love him in 'Broadchurch.' He is a Turtle fanatic!"

A partial list of Paulsen’s characters includes: Hadji from “Johnny Quest”; Raphael on the first “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” series, Donatello on the latest version; Yakko Warner, Pinky and Dr. Scratch ‘n’ Sniff in “Animaniacs”; and, of course, Officer Douche on “The Boondocks.” He was also the voice of “The Mask” in the animated series based on the character created for the movie starring Jim Carrey. Smokin’!

For a complete list of his thousands of credits – including roles on “Dexter’s Laboratory,” “Powerpuff Girls” and a multitude of DC and Marvel superhero cartoons, consult IMDB – with a lot of time on your hands!

ROB PAULSEN podcast excerpt: "Most of us, our stock-in-trade is being versatile. Doing dialects, being able to sing, thinking on our feet, a lot of improv. Which is why Red Skelton, Carol Burnett, the Pythons, the Goons, and Jonathan Winters were all my heroes."

In addition to drawing new roles, Paulsen can also be seen performing music from “The Animaniacs” live in concert with full orchestras around the country and he hosts a podcast called “Talkin’ Toons.” “Talkin’ Toons” – to which I have personally subscribed for months – is a show that attracts well-known voice actors such as Brad Garrett from “Everybody Loves Raymond” and Seth Green from “Robot Chicken” to performers such as Paulsen whose name you may not instantly know but whose familiar work will bring an instant smile to your face.

ROB PAULSEN podcast excerpt: "Yakko's voice is no big deal. I have this ability to squeeze my voice. And I can do that allllllllllllll day long!"

Incidentally, if you love the cartoons as I do, check the Mr. Media archives for my interviews with Josh Keaton, the voice of "Spectacular Spider-Man" and Disney’s "Hercules," Carolyn Lawrence, who is Sandy Cheeks on “Spongebob Squarepants,” and Cat Taber, the voice of Padme Amidala of “Star Wars: The Clone Wars.”

Key interview moments:

• 12:00 Rob Paulsen reveals a sort of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Doctor Who crossover in the animated series' fourth season;

• 25:40 Learn what characterizes the best voice actors;

• 44:20 Hear Paulsen, fast as Yakko, then as The Mask.

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