Voiceovers are something we take completely for granted nowadays, but where did they originate from?
Many believe Disney’s Steamboat Willie was our introduction to voice acting, but this is a few years too late…
Christmas Eve. 1906. Radio’s first ever voiceover.
Reginald Fessenden was the first ever voice to be heard over the radio all the way back in 1906! Though it wasn’t quite the same as the voiceovers we’re used to today, this was seriously groundbreaking, and led to the modern radio shows we have today!
Now this is the year that Disney comes in to play. After the failure of the first two Mickey Mouse cartoons, Walt Disney decided to add voices to the beloved Mickey and Minnie using his own voice!
This paved the way for animation films and TV shows which are now a major market!
Mel Blanc, ‘The Man of a Thousand Voices,’ began his voice acting career in 1936 shortly after he joined Warner Bros and Leon Schlesinger Productions. Blanc went on to voice some of the most popular animated characters, including Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Tweet Bird to name but a few.
After being declined a payrise, Blanc decided to compromise by asking Leon Schlesigner Productions to feature his name on the credits of the cartoons he voiced. Before this, voice artists were not given any form of on-screen recognition despite their hard work!
Shaping Today’s Industry
These three key people played incredibly huge roles in shaping the voiceover industry we know today.
Without Fessenden there would be no radio shows, without Disney there would be no audio cartoons, and with Blanc voice artists wouldn’t be recognized for their work!