His Name Is Rob Paulsen
When it comes to voice acting, Rob Paulsen is one of the biggest names in the business. Sure, he may not be Frank Welker or Mel Blanc, but you don't get a nickname like "Vocal Magic" if you're a talentless hack. Rob has been involved in numerous, well-known projects. Remember the original "Got Milk?" commercial, the one where the guy is randomly selected by a radio station to win big money if he can tell them who shot and killed Alexander Hamilton in their famous 1804 duel? Well, Rob voiced the radio DJ. Mr. Opportunity from all those Honda commercials? That's Rob too. Since the 1980s, Mr. Paulsen has brought to life some of my favorite characters. In fact, Rob has been my favorite voice actor since 1987, when I first learned who he was. It was only after doing some research for this piece that I discovered he's been very busy since that time, and has brought life to more of the characters that I love than I ever thought possible. So as a tribute to Mr. Paulsen, I'm going to show you a few of the many characters he has worked on, from the beginning of his career, up through the mid-90s.
Snow Job (G.I. Joe)
Harlan W. Moore was an Olympic biathelete before he became a Staff Sergeant in G.I. Joe's Arctic Ski Patrol; that's about as much background as there is on the damn guy. Nevertheless, this is where we start with Rob Paulsen's career, voicing Snow Job for the G.I. Joe cartoon. Sure, Snow Job isn't as important as Duke, as badass as Snake-Eyes, or as flamboyant as Shipwreck, but just to have had a role in the G.I. Joe franchise is a fairly significant accomplishment. Unfortunately, Snow Job rhymes with blowjob. There, I said it.
Corky (The Snorks)
The Snorks were a very similar concept to the Smurfs. In fact, they were exactly the same as the Smurfs, except the Snorks lived underwater. Their show may not be as well known as the Smurfs, which Paulsen also did some minor work on too, but it still has its share of fans. I may not be one of them, but I do recall watching the show on a number of occasions. Corky was the Snork Patrol Officer and was characterized as somewhat of a workaholic. He was a fair and just policeman, a dedicated guardian of Snorkland, and he was generally well-liked by all the other Snorks.
Air Raid (Tranformers)
Air Raid was a member of the Aerialbots, the group that joined together to form the Autobots' first combiner robot, Superion. Sadly, Superion would never reach the same levels of recognition and popularity as the original Decepticon combiner, Devastator, whose green and purple Constructicon pieces were a major influence on the layout of the SydLexia.com forums. Air Raid was courageous and carefree, and he was somewhat of a badass. In the picture above, he's threatening to beat up a human character. When was the last time you saw anyone besides Megatron do that? Air Raid was not the most prolific Autobot, but he was marginally more important than Chase, Fastlane, Slingshot and Haywire, the other characters Rob voiced in the series. Still, after working on shows like G.I. Joe and Transformers, casting directors will start taking notice, leading to a big break, right?
Gusto (Adventures of the Gummi Bears)
"Gummi Bears! Bouncing here and there and everywhere!" Okay, maybe this wasn't the big break that I was alluding to. Gummi Bears may have been the first cartoon based on candy, and it may have been entertaining, but it was hardly more than a blip in Paulsen's illustrious career. Gusto Gummi wasn't even one of the original Gummi bears on the show. He was discovered in season two, living as a hermit and artist and as some fans of the show speculate, he was a little bit crazy. Rob's big break in the industry would come two years later in 1987.
Raphael (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
TMNT was one of, if not the most popular franchises of the 80s. So to be the voice behind one the four heroes in a half-shell was huge. Despite being a self-proclaimed geek, I prefered the wise-cracking wit of Raphael to the brains of Donatello. Raph was always my favorite turtle, and this is where I became acquainted with the name of Rob Paulsen. Back then we didn't have us no Wikipedias or IMDBs, so I had to find out who voiced my hero the old-fashioned way; by reading the credits. Aside from providing the voice of Raphael for the cartoon series, Rob also did the voice work for my favorite sai master in Turtles in Time, the arcade game. The original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon ran for eight years, making Raphael the longest-running character Rob has voiced to date. His personal favorite character to voice however, would come very close to breaking that record.
Fowlmouth (Tiny Toon Adventures)
Good taste and proper writing etiquette dictates that I should have segued into Rob's favorite character at this point. Unfortunately, this is a chronological list, and, if you've read any of the other articles on SydLexia.com, you know that good taste and etiquette are not exactly prerequisites for authorship. Fowlmouth was a Tiny Toons character that shared this absence of taste. Meant to be the chibi version of Foghorn Leghorn, Fowlmouth had a short temper and swore a lot when he got mad. In later appearences, his censored swearing was replaced by tepid euphemisms. He may not have been one of the more the popular characters on Tiny Toons, but he was still beeping funny.
Peter "PJ" Pete Jr. (Goof Troop)
PJ was the son of Pete (aka Peg-Leg Pete, Bad Pete, Big Pete, Big Bad Pete, Black Pete, Bootleg Pete, Mr. Peter Pete), the one-time Disney villain turned used car salesman. He was also the best friend of Max, the protagonist of Goof Troop and Goofy's son. PJ was not the smartest cookie in the jar, and was often taken advantage of by other characters, especially his father. But he was a loyal friend to Max and helped him survive many wacky situations. Also, he had a switchblade.
Throttle (Biker Mice From Mars)
Biker Mice From Mars took the popularity of anthropomorphic heroes and combined them with the street credibility of motorcycles. The show centered around a trio of bikin' mice: Vinnie, Throttle, and Modo. Rob Paulsen voiced Throttle, the leader of the Martian Mice. Throttle had special sunglasses that improved his sight and a wardrobe right out of a porno. Other voice talent on the show included Brad Garrett from Everybody Loves Raymond, who provided the voice of Grease Pit, the main villain's bungling sidekick, and Ian Ziering of Beverley Hills 90210 fame, who voiced Biker Mouse Vinnie. It was an all-around decent show, and translated into a highly enjoyable racing game for the SNES. A new series went into production in 2006, with the original voice actors coming back to do the English dubs, but it went largely unnoticed, airing on Fox's 4Kids Saturday morning cartoon block from August 9, 2008 - December 27, 2008. The new show apparently did well in Europe though, so we may not have seen the last of the Biker Mice.
Mr. Paulsen was already known to the people at Warner Brothers from his work on Tiny Toons, so when Animaniacs was being put together, he got the call to voice one of the leading characters, Yakko Warner. It would be through this role that Rob would get the opportunity to meet and have dinner with Steven Spielberg, along with Jess Harnell and Tress MacNeille, who voice Wakko and Dot. Another perk about working on Animaniacs was that Rob was given his own personal Hello Nurse. There are so many great bits from Animaniacs, I could never do them justice in one short paragraph. I do have to give the man credit however, for singing the names of all the countries of the world in "Yakko's World".
Max (Mighty Max)
Remember Polly Pocket? Those little toys that opened up and became houses or other play areas for a miniature, easily swallowed, asphyxia-inducing girl named Polly? Well, there was a masculine version of the product known as Mighty Max, where flowers and dresses were replaced with danger. It also became a cartoon, which Mr. Paulsen did the leading work on. The show featured the adventures of a youth boy named Max as he fought to prevent the evil Skullmaster from taking over Earth. The show had a much darker feel than many cartoons of the day, as several episodes opening by detailing the episode's villian killing someone. In the series finale, two of the main characters die and Max lost his battle against Skullmaster, but then made us all feel slightly less depressed by using his magic powers to turn back time to the very first episode. Though I was still a young boy myself, I knew who was providing the voice of Max, because it was the exact same voice as Raphael.
Bubsy in Fractured Furry Tales was the first Super Nintendo game that I ever saw that had the bottom part of the cartridge cut out, so you could rip it out of the console without pushing the eject button. It was also Rob's second foray from television into video games. The only well-received game from the Bubsy series was the original, which incidentally was the only game Rob didn't do the voice work for. A television show that was based on the games never even made it past the pilot episode, so this is hardly a significant credit on Mr. Paulsen's resume. However, seeing as Seanbaby named Bubsy 3D: Furbitten Planet one of the worst games of all-time, I thought I'd throw it in.
Squishington (Bump in the Night)
In 1994, ReBoot was busy ushering a new age of animation with its computer generated graphics. And as laughably primitive as they are compared to today's standards, the show was absolutely amazing at the time. Bump in the Night on the other hand, with its stop-motion animation, was like a step back in time. There's not a lot to say about this show. It was another attempt to teach kids life lesson with three wacky characters: Mr. Bumpy, Squishington, and Molly. It was a decent show, but stop-motion animation? Really? Once a year at Christmas with that Rudolph special is enough for me.
Spike (The Land Before Time)
Do you enjoy mentally deficient dinosaurs? If so, then you are already familar with Spike, the lovable stegosaurus from The Land Before Time to whom Mr. Paulsen lends his voice. The original Land Before Time movie, which is the only one anyone actually saw, follows the exploits of Littlefoot, a young brontosaurus whose mother was killed by the evil Sharptooth, as he and his friends try to find safety and shelter in the Great Valley. Spike is mute in the first movie, but he is ltaught how to talk by his friend Petrie in the second. Spike appears in all the Land Before Time movies, and seeing as there's somewhere around 500 of them now, that's got to mean a lot of money for Mr. Paulsen.
Antoine Depardieu (Sonic the Hedgehog)
I'm fairly certain that nobody liked Antoine, seeing as he was a clumsy, cowardly, arrogant, French coyote, who more often than not got the Freedom Fighters into worse trouble than they were in before. Seems kind of backwards that the awesome Rob Paulsen did the voice of this sniveling blueblood, while Sonic was voiced by Steve Urkel. What a world.
Stanley Ipkiss (The Mask: The Animated Series)
This character is only on this list because everyone knows what The Mask is. It follows the comical exploits of the overly banal, overly wussy main character Stanley Ipkiss, as he discovers a powerful artifact known as The Mask. When he puts it on, not only does he gain cartoonish superpowers, but it always completely destroys his superego, making him very impulsive. The cartoon show was pretty lame, though when I saw the movie in theaters, I thought it was the funniest thing I'd ever seen. I wish Rob had voiced a major character in MASK, because then I'd have something more interesting to talk about. Oh well.
There's not a lot of information about Helios, as he was a very minor character in the show. He was a member of the New Olympians, a race that resembled the Greek gods. A spin-off show focusing solely on the New Olympians was pitched, but never picked up. Rob didn't really have the voice for Goliath, and he was probably pretty busy with his other major projects, so it makes sense that he only played such a small role. Still, I have to mention it, because I loved the show.
Pinky (Pinky and the Brain)
We end off this look at the works of Rob Paulsen with his favorite character, Pinky. And why shouldn't Pinky be his favorite? Rob has won several Annie awards, and even an Emmy for his work as Pinky. I realize that Rob played Pinky in Animaniacs as well, but it would have been somewhat anticlimactic to have lumped Yakko and Pinky together. Also, Pinky and the Brain were given their own spin-off, so I am justified in listing them separately. Rob would provide the voice of Pinky from 1993 all the way through 1999, bringing to life those catchphrases that we've all come to love. Poit! and Narf! were instant classics, and What are we gonna do tonight, Brain? has become so engrained into the fabric of pop culture that anyone who has ever seen even a single Pinky and the Brain short will know the answer to that iconic question.
Well, I hope you learned something today. I learned that it doesn't matter what a person looks like on the outside, it's what is inside that really counts. Because when you're stranded on a mountain, a Caucasian tastes the same as an Oriental or Hispanic. Did I say Oriental? I meant Chinaman.
Posted by: Valdronius
I THINK SO BRAIN, BUT WHERE ARE WE GOING TO FIND A DUCK AND A HOSE AT THIS HOUR?