The Case of Voice Acting

From radio broadcasts to the first cartoons, voice acting has been a part of popular culture for over a hundred years. Listen in as Adam, Marci, and Robin discuss the history of this art form, popular voices of today, and the pros and cons of celebrity voice work.

vo episode

A Brief History

  • Emile Berliner invented the microphone in 1876
  • The first voiceover was in 1900 when a Canadian inventor, Reginald Fessenden, wanted to communicate without wires
    • His first broadcast was a recording of himself reporting the weather
    • In 1906 near Christmas time he recorded Bible texts, Christmas messages, and a music program to ships out at sea
  • In 1928, Walt Disney provided the voice of Mickey Mouse. This was a turning point for voice-overs and animation
  • In the years following, radio dramas became a major source of entertainment. Though many voice artists at the time were not credited for their work, this is how many pioneers in the industry got their start

Voice Artists Mentioned:

Mel Blanc

  • “The Man of 1000 Voices”
  • Over a thousand screen credits
  • Nearly 400 voices
  • Began with Warner Bros until 1960 when his contract ended
    • Still worked there but began working for other studios as well
    • Porky Pig, Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd, Barney Rubble, vocal effects for Tom and Jerry, Wile E. Coyote, Toucan Sam


June Foray

  • Started in the voice field at age 12
    • She voiced an elderly woman on a radio show
  • Played Rocky the Squirrel up until her death at age 99, including her last credit: Rocky and Bullwinkle (2014)
  • We learned a lot about her by reading her obituary which we linked to Here.
  • Oldest person to win Emmy at age 94


Don LaFontaine

  • Known for the phrase “In a world….” in movie trailers
  • Began recording trailers in 1962
  • Performed voice overs for over 40 years and reportedly recorded over 5000 film trailers 
  • We found a youtube playlist of his movie trailers here.


Tom Kenny

  • Prolific voice actor known for his work as many animated characters such as: Spongebob Squarepants, Ice King (Adventure Time), Heffer (Rocko’s Modern Life), Mayor and Narrator (The Power Puff Girls), Dog (Catdog)
  • *Also a hero to Robin and Adam and probably kids everywhere


Tara Strong

  • Another prolific voice actor with over 500 acting credits listed on IMDB
  • She is known for characters such as: Timmy Turner (The Fairly Odd Parents), Bubbles (Power Puff Girls), and Sunny Baudelaire (A Series of Unfortunate Events, 2017), Raven (Teen Titans) 


John DiMaggio

  • Known for characters such as: Jake the Dog (Adventure Time), and Bender (Futurama)
  • In the episode, we mention that he produced the documentary, I know That Voice (2013). It is a available to watch online with an Amazon Prime membership. It’s also available on youtube, google play, and iTunes (for a fee). Otherwise we’re sure you can find it at a local library!


Phil Lamarr

  • Known for both animation and video game voice acting
  • Some acting credits include: Samurai Jack (Samurai Jack), Hermes Conrad (Futurama), Vamp (Metal Gear Solid 2 & 4), Vulgrim (Darksiders 1, 2, 3)
  • Correction: An earlier version of the episode credits Phil Lamarr as the voice of Kratos in God of War. This is incorrect. Kratos has been voiced by Terrence C. Carson and now Christopher Judge


Dee Bradley Baker

  • One of his earliest credits is as Olmec on Legends of the Hidden Temple
    •  For all the Hidden Temple fans out there, we linked to a cool Buzzfeed here
  • Known for voicing animals like Perry the Platypus (Phineas and Ferb); Momo and Appa (Avatar: The Last Airbender), Daffy Duck (Space Jam)
  • Has a personal blog about voice acting at


Dan Castellaneta

  • Credits include: Grandpa (Hey Arnold), Homer Simpson (The Simpsons), and The Robot Devil (Futurama)
  • In 2002 his trademark “d’oh” as Homer Simpson was approved and put into the Oxford English Dictionary


Mark Hamill

  • Well-known as Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars franchise, though he started voice work in the early 70s
  • Has voiced the Joker in many video games and in eight different series starting with Batman: The Animated Series (1992-1994)
  • He is also the voice of Firelord Ozai (Avatar: The Last Airbender)


H. Jon Benjamin 

  • Most famous for his roles as Bob Belcher (Bob’s Burgers) and Sterling Archer (Archer) 
  • Many of his characters speak with a monotone voice and deadpan humor


Alan Tudyk

  • Known well for his part as “Wash” on the cult favorite Firefly
  • Well-known voice roles include: Hei-Hei (Moana), K-2SO (Rogue One), King Candy (Wreck-it Ralph), and Alistair Krei (Big Hero 6) 


Kath Soucie

  • An Ohio native (woo!)
  • Well-known as Phil and Lil (Rugrats), Lola Bunny (Space Jam), Dexter’s Mom (Dexter’s Lab) 


Movies talked about:

  • Trolls (2016)
  • Frozen (2013)
  • Tangled (2010)
  • Aladdin (1992)
  • Home (2015)
  • Isle Of Dogs (2018) 
  • UglyDolls (2019) 
    • Features famous singers such as Blake Shelton, Janelle Monae, Carrie Underwood, Nick Jonas, Bebe Rexha, and Pitbull
    • You can watch the trailer here


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