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 he has provided the voices for some of our favourite characters from the mid 80's onward. Rob has been my favourite voice actor since '87, 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 to the mid 90's.
G.I. Joe - Snowjob
Sure, Snowjob isn't as important as Duke, or as bad ass as Snake-Eyes, and he may have been the inspiration for Mel Brooks' Spaceballs, but just to have a recurring role in the G.I. Joe franchise is a fairly big accomplishment. Unfortunately Snowjob rhymes with blow job, so any cool factor this character may have had is moot.
The Snorks - Corky
The Snorks was an underwater attempt to cash in on the success of the Smurfs, which Paulsen also did some work on. Even though knock-offs generally suck, and are never as good as the originals, a lot of people who grew up in the 80's have many fond memories of The Snorks. I'm not one of them, but I figured I'd throw it in to make those Snork-lovers happy.
Transformers - Air Raid
Again, Air Raid was not the most prolific Autobot, but he was marginally more important than Chase, Fastlane, Slingshot and Haywire, the other characters Rob did voices for. Still, after working on shows like G.I. Joe and Transformers, casting directors will start taking notice, leading to a big break, right?
Gummi Bears - Gusto
Ok, maybe not. Gummi Bears may have been the first cartoon based on candy, and it may have been entertaining, but I would hardly call it a big break. The breakthrough role for Rob would come two years later in 1987.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - Raphael
TMNT was one of, if not the, most popular franchises of the 80's. So to be the voice behind one the four heroes in a half-shell was huge. Raphael was always my favourite turtle, and this is where I became acquainted with the name of Rob Paulsen. Despite being a self-proclaimed geek, I prefered the wise-cracking wit of Raph to the brains of Donatello. Aside from providing the voice of Raphael for the cartoon series, Rob also did the voice work for the red turtle in Turtles in Time, the arcade game. Lasting for an eight year stretch, Rapheal would be the longest running character for Rob. His personal favourite however, would come very close to breaking that record.
Tiny Toon Adventures - Fowlmouth
Good taste dictates that I should have segued into Rob's favourite character at this point. Unfortunately, this is a chronological list, and, if you're familiar at all with the rest of my site, you know that good taste is not in my repetoire. It isn't in Fowlmouth's repetoire either. He may not have been one of the more the popular characters on Tiny Toons, but he still *beep*ing funny.
Goof Troop - Pete Jr. (P.J.)
"It's the Leaning Tower of Cheesa." Ok, so that line was said by a completely different character in A Goofy Movie. I really have nothing to say about the offspring of Panhandlin' Pete, but figured I'd include him for posterities sake.
Biker Mice From Mars - Throttle
Biker Mice From Mars took the popularity of anthropomorphic heroes and combined them with the street cred of motorcycles. On top of that, it featured Brad Garrett, and Ian Ziering, of 90210 fame, voicing one of the main characters. It was an all around decent show, and translated into a highly enjoyable racing game for the SNES. I'm pretty excited that the show is making a comeback in 2006, with the original voice actors all coming back to bring the Mice to life.
Animaniacs - Yakko
Rob 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 his co-stars who played Dot and Wakko. Another perk about working on Animaniacs was that Rob was given his own personal Hello Nurse.
Mighty Max - Max
Remember Polly Pocket? Those little toys that opened up and became houses or other play areas for a miniature and easily swallowable girl named Polly? Well, there was a masculine version of the product known as Mighty Max, where flowers and dresses were replaced with danger. Is also became a cartoon, which Mr. Paulsen did the leading work on. Even though I wasn't yet a teenager, I knew who was providing the voice of Max, because it was the same voice as Raphael.
Bubsy - Bubsy
Bubsy in Fractured Furry tales was the first SNES game 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. I don't believe I ever played the games, or watched the show, so that's really all I have to say about that.
Bump in the Night - Squishington
In 1994 ReBoot was pioneering a new age of animation with it's computer generated graphics. Bump in the Night was going back in time however, to the world of claymation. It was still a good show, but claymation? Once a year at Christmas is enough for me.
The Land Before Time - Spike
How can you not love a mentally deficient dinosaur? I assume Spike is supposed to be a baby Stegosaurus, but I'm not 100% sure. Despite the fact that he's mute in the first one, Spike appears in all the LBT movies, and seeing as there's somewhere around 5000 of them now, that's pretty impressive.
Sonic the Hedgehog - Antoine
I'm fairly certain that nobody liked Antoine, but Sonic ruled the video game and television world, so it's okay to be the voice of a whiny blueblood.
The Mask - Stanley Ipkiss
This character is only on this list because everyone knows what The Mask is. The show itself was pretty lame, though when I saw the movie in theatres, I thought it was the funniest thing I'd ever seen. Had Rob played a starring character in M.A.S.K., then we'd have something to brag about. Oh well.
Gargoyles - Helios
Again, Helios wasn't a major character in the show. I assume Rob was pretty busy with other projects, and didn't really have the voice for Goliath or Desdemona. Still, I have to mention the role, because I loved the show.
Pinky and the Brain - Pinky
We end of this look at the works of Rob Paulsen with his favourite character, Pinky. And why shouldn't Pinky be his favourite? 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. Rob would provide the voice of Pinky from '93 all the way through to '99, bringing to life those catch phrases that we've all come to love. 'Poit', 'Narf', and 'What are we gonna do tonight Brain?' are all well known by anyone who ever watched the shows.
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.
Posted by: Valdronius
Are you pondering what I'm pondering Pinky?