After a long night researching an article I was creating for another website about Disney’s Feature Animations, one name kept popping up. I mean literally every big hit Disney animation had the same guy credited. It started to be almost like the Pixar tradition of John Ratzenberger, being part of every Pixar feature film.
This Voice Artist has provided his talents in Disney’s Archive from Rescuers Down Under, Oliver & Co, Beauty and the Beast all the way up to Tangled.
After a discussion with a fellow Disney obsessive, I said have you heard of this guy, who has voiced all these characters. Amazingly they hadn’t either. However it all came to a conclusion when I saw his photo. The mystery guy who has been providing voice work over the past 40 years is Frank Welker. I knew him from his photo as the voice of Megatron in Transformers.
Frank started his Voice Artist career in 1969 as the voice of Fred Jones in Scooby Doo. During the 80s and 90s Frank was in high demand and voiced Doctor Claw in Inspector Gadget, Slimer in The Real Ghostbusters, hefty Smurf in the Smurfs and Some of the Beagle Boys in Ducktales, to name a few.
He is arguably the Most successful Hollywood Actor that has been able to remain virtually unknown. So to highlight the work that you will have seen starring Frank Welker we’ll share a list of characters and films from Disney’s list.
Flit (The Humming bird) from Pocahontas
Archbishop / Dying King from The Prince and the Pauper
Joanna (Lizard) Rescuers Down Under
Reindeers from the Santa Clause
Bees / Frogs from the Tigger Movie
Dragon Fly / Black Jaguar from The Emporer’s New Groove
Pascal (The Chameleon) from Tangled
Abu / Cave of Wonders from Aladdin
Foot Stool / Wolves from Beauty and the Beast
Zipper from Chip and Dales Rescue Rangers
Bronx from Disney’s Gargoyles
Big Foot from A Goofy Movie
Quark (the Dog) from Honey I Shrunk the Kids
Baby Bird / Djali (The Goat) from Hunchback of Notre Dame
Mouse / Lion roars from the Lion King
Khan (The Horse) / Crikee (The Cricket) from Mulan
Louie (The hot dog vendor) from Oliver and Company
You have to admit that that is an impressive list to have in your resume. The attention is always drawn to the stars of the film and their love interests. When really the side kicks are as important to the story too. Frank has voice the sidekicks of Rapunzel, Aladdin and Pocahontas, yet unless you really REALLY know your stuff or are in the film business, he may have escaped your radar.
True that this is just a relatively small sampling of Franks work. One of my daughter’s favourite’s at the moment is Curious George. You’ve guessed it another character voiced by Frank.
More Recently though, is his work with Transformers. Not only did he provide the voice of Megatron in the original cartoon series, he was brought back to continue the role in the Michael Bay movies. Which brings us back to another topic Mr Tambo loves, theme parks. Frank Welker recorded show specific audio from Transformers: The Ride.
Even stranger when you consider Optimus Prime shares the voice artist with Eyeore!! That would be another topic.
For a very detailed Frank Welker website visit http://www.frankwelker.net/
What are your favourite Frank Welker appearances? Did you realise that Abu and Pascal were so alike?