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Jun 172016
 

Alan Oppenheimer

Here’s something special for my 800th post. The other voice actor I met at MegaCon 2016 was Alan Oppenheimer. It’s always an honor to meet a voice actor, who voiced characters on shows from my childhood and he has voiced many. When I mentioned that to Alan Oppenheimer, he thought that I didn’t look old enough. It was still an honor just the same.

Most of these classic shows were from the 80s and Alan Oppenheimer had voiced at least several characters from each one. Since it would take a long time to go over each character individually, I’ll try to be more discrete.

Let’s start with He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, one of the first animated shows I ever saw. He voiced Skeletor, Man-At-Arms, Mer-Man, Buzz-Off, Cringer, and Battle Cat.

That’s really quite impressive since each character sounded very different from one another.

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Shortly after He-Man ended, Alan Oppenheimer voiced several villains on Ghostbusters (1986 version). They included Fangster the werewolf, Long John Scarechrome the pirate ghost, Airhead the mummy, and main arch villain Prime Evil. It wasn’t until I got the DVD sets when I noticed the voice similarities between these characters and the ones from He-Man.

The same goes with his characters from Bravestarr, which included Handlebar the bartender, Scuzz the Prairie henchman, and the evil bull demon Stampede.

You might find this interesting. Alan Oppenheimer also voiced characters from The Neverending Story. One of them was the Rock Biter. He was my favorite.

The others were Falkor the lucky dragon and Gmork the wolf.

Would you believe that he also voiced Vanity Smurf from The Smurfs animated series as well as Count Dracula from Drak Pack.

As great as his voice acting was, Alan Oppenheimer had some live action roles too. However, they were mostly guest appearances in one episode of a TV series. The one I remember best was on Get Smart as Agent 498 in the season 2 episode The Man from YENTA.

Meeting a voice actor behind the cartoons you enjoyed at a younger age is always a pleasure. Any other old favorites you’d like to add?

May 182016
 

We all enjoy a good audio book once in a while. Back when I was a kid the only kinds I preferred were the ones where you could follow along in a storybook while listening to a cassette tape or sometimes a vinyl record.

The main ones I still have are based on 80s pop culture I grew up on. That’s what made these books on tape so interesting and it’s very helpful that there’s always some sort of chime that lets you know when to turn the page. Usually audio books don’t have a book to follow let alone a signal to turn the page.

Let’s start with the series sets where each book was sold separately. The Smurfs had four different stories based on certain episodes; A Winter Smurf, The Smurf Champion, There’s a Smurf in my Soup, and The Smurf-Eating Bird. What really kept these interesting was the nice tune that played at the beginning and end of each story as well as the three-second tone that signals to turn the page. No other books on tape do that.

Ducktales had several stories as well based on particular episodes with the original voice actors and musical score. My favorite is Scrooge’s Treasure Hunt, which is basically from part 2 of the series pilot Treasure of the Golden Suns.

There was also a set of five stories on The Gremlins. I don’t remember these too well, mainly because I’m not as much into The Gremlins as I used to be. Moving on.

Next is a series of books based on He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. Unlike any other books on tape based on popular shows that stay loyal to their series, this group is nothing like the actual He-Man animated series. The stories and action are edgier. Some of which are featured in comic book style format. At first I struggled to get into these because they were so different, but now that I’m more into the fantasy genre these storybooks are awesome.

It wasn’t just TV shows that became books on tape. Movies have too, like The Muppets Take Manhattan and Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Of course due to time, the story lines were trimmed down quite a bit, but still remain faithful to their source material.

There are other books on tape about 80s classics I’d like to blog about. So check my blog for part 2 for more.

Feb 212014
 

He-Man was a big favorite back in the 80s. Then in 2002, a new edgier version called He-Man and the Masters of the Universe: The Complete Series (2002-2003) premiered. I can tell it was a similar method that was used to modernize the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Unfortunately, it didn’t last long.

For those of us who remember the 80s version of He-Man, we know that each episode starts with Prince Adam’s opening monologue. “I am Adam, prince of Eternia, defender of the secrets of Castle Grayskull. This is Cringer, my fearless friend…” Well, this time Adam is interrupted by Skeletor and his warriors attacking. It’s a perfect way to make fun of how today’s standards are different from before. Less talk, more action.

This show features new revelations about the classic characters because there was no actual back-story before. Take Skeletor, for example. Where did he come from? What’s his motivation? Well, years ago Skeletor was originally a warlord named Keldor. During a fight with Randor, some acid splashed on his face, which soon turned him into Skeletor.

The battle scenes are exciting, as they are edgy. I can definitely see a video game coming from these characters, especially Teela. She has the skills of an amazon. He-Man shows amazing skill also as a strong man and a sword fighter. He doesn’t just end a battle with one punch anymore.

The villains have a much different monstrous look, but I was able to recognize them easily. That even includes Trap Jaw before he became half cyborg. There was no explanation on how Trap Jaw ended up that way. I can only guess that it was from the casualties of war. Yet why hasn’t it happened to any of the other villains?

The castles are also different. Castle Grayskull appears much taller and Snake Mountain appears creepier with a lava waterfall. At a distance it looks like the giant snake is drooling.

Orko continues to be the great comedic magical jester we all remember. It is unfortunate that Cringer doesn’t speak, even as Battle Cat.

None of the original voice actors from the 80s cartoon reprise their roles. However, it’s nice to know that Scott McNeil (who I met at BotCon 2010 and MetroCon 2011) voiced several of the characters. They are Stratos, Mer-Man, Ram-Man, Clawful, and Beast Man.

This was a good series that certainly edgier than the old version, but doesn’t have the same pull as the one I grew up with.

Jun 202011
 

Just this past weekend, my sister and I attended MetroCon, which is Florida’s largest Anime convention. It was held in Tampa and it had a lot to offer.

One of the main celebrity guests I met was accomplished voice actor Scott McNeil. After meeting him at BotCon last year, it was a pleasure to meet him once again.

Scott has done many voice roles over the years. Among my favorites were Dr. Wily and Proto Man from Mega Man as well as Stratos and Ram Man from He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2002 version). As he autographed these photos he performed the voices, which are still as great as ever.

I also told Scott that I enjoyed his live action role Bonesteel from Ninja Turtles the Next Mutation. He mentioned that the show hurt him because the character did quite a bit of neck twitching with that crazy look. On the first day of shooting, he was in need of a chiropractor, but still had fun with the role. Scott even said that he was impressed that I might be one of two people in the world who ever saw Ninja Turtles the Next Mutation.

Other voice actors I got to meet were Brad Swaile and Kara Edwards who are best known for their roles on Dragon Ball Z.

And of course there was plenty of great cosplay. Among them were Zuko and Azula from Avatar the Last Air Bender, Dr. Frankenstein from Soul Eater, and Harley Quinn, who isn’t an Anime character but still a great one.

Later, Scott McNeil had a Q&A and showed how much he loves his squeeze cheese, which was hilarious.

Basically, Scott enjoys doing any and all kinds of voice roles and auditions for new ones all the time. One important thing he mentioned about voice acting is that you don’t just create voices, you create characters. I can believe that because voicing a role isn’t a whole lot different than playing a live action role. Sure the lines are all recorded in a booth and you don’t have to memorize them, but you still have to deliver that character the same way as if it were a live action role.

I really enjoyed this convention and look forward to it again next year.

Feb 042011
 

When it comes to epic fantasy adventure, one of the main types of characters that really catches my interest are evil sorceresses with plans of world domination. Aren’ t they as lovely as they are dangerous?

I have here a list of ten witchy women that know how to leave their mark with magic spells, curses, and henchmen who serve them.

#10) Queen Bavmorda (Jean Marsh) from Willow: This wicked queen is the evil ruler of the kingdom of Nockmaar. When Bavmorda hears about a prophecy about a baby that threatens her reign, she stops at nothing to keep it from coming true. Bavmorda’s power is strong enough to turn an entire army into pigs with only a few flicks of the wrists. I can remember how creepy that transformation process was.

#9) Maleficent from Disney’s Sleeping Beauty: During the celebration of the birth of Princess Aurora at the castle, this wicked sorceress decides to crash the party and put a curse the princess. If Aurora pricks her finger on a spinning wheel before she turns 16, she will sleep forever. That resulted in having every spinning wheel in the kingdom destroyed. Do you suppose Maleficent chose a spinning wheel as the tool because she has a personal issue with seamstresses?

#8) Queen Morgana from King Arthur and the Knights of Justice: This very powerful sorceress is King Arthur’s half-sister, who is bent on taking over Camelot. Many of her followers are warlords she created from stone. Morgana’s only weakness is her castle because some of her life force is within it. I heard of being attached to a place, but this is ridiculous.

#7) Tempestra from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (80’s version): She was originally the main villainess in an arcade game Leonardo gets addicted to, until she breaks free to unleash her terror on the world. Tempestra has the power to control all of the natural elements and her laser blasts are lethal. However, her powers are limited because she’s still a computer chip, no matter how human she looks.

#6) Chlorhydris from The Smurfs: She’s a dangerous sorceress with the ambition to remove all love from the world. Chlorhydris was once kind, but became hateful when her true love was stolen away from her. Now there’s a sorceress with issues, considering that her spells are more intense than Gargamel and Hogatha combined.

#5) Madam Mim from Disney’s Sword in the Stone: Here’s a sorceress that makes practicing magic look easy because she can work a spell faster than you can say “Alakazzam”. She really shows it during the exciting wizard duel against Merlin. Mim also likes to brag that she is the greatest, which would explain why she has no followers.

#4) Apparitia from Ghostbusters (1986 version): This vampish vixen is an evil spirit, who uses her powers for haunting purposes. She may look gorgeous now, but she can change into a more frightening entity at any time as a response to those who stand in her way.

#3) Magica de Spell from Ducktales: Although her origin is unknown, she really stands out as one of Scrooge McDuck’s biggest enemies. Magica will stop at nothing to steal his number one dime because it is the source of Scrooge’s fortune. She believes it will make her rich and powerful. Now isn’t that just nutty?

#2) Evil-Lyn from He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (80s version): She’s not just the only female in Skeletor’s army of evil masters. Evil-Lyn is the cleverest when it comes to deceptiveness. And like the other evil masters, she also hopes to someday overthrow Skeletor and become the most powerful.

#1) Rita Repulsa from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Who better to make the number one spot on this list than the very first major villainess in the Power Rangers franchise. She is the mastermind behind many attempts to take over the Earth with her henchmonsters and magic spells. Rita was also responsible for the evil Green Ranger and Dragonzord. Little did she know that they would turn to the side of good and give the Power Rangers more of an edge. So that would make how many headaches Rita has had with every failure?