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Rob Paulsen Talks About The High And Low Notes Of Life in Voice Lessons



I got a chance to interview legendary voice actor Rob Paulsen who is known for his character voices in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Animaniacs, and his current series Talkin’ Toons.

We now get an in-depth look at Rob’s career and what shaped his success in a new memoir entitled Voice Lessons: How a couple of Ninja Turtles, Pinky and an Animaniac Saved My Life.

The book is available for purchase on Amazon here:

That’s My Entertainment (TME): You had a very expansive, legendary career. You’ve voiced so many iconic characters over the years but you’re doing something new now. You’ve decided to write a book. Tell me how that came about and what went into that.

Rob Paulson (RP): Well the book is a culmination about a number of things. The most important of which I think, was three years ago…at this time,  I had just finished radiation and chemo therapy for stage three throat cancer which was a curve ball for a guy,  who makes his living with his voice; it definitely got my attention.

I had been asked by friends and fans for years before that particular surprise as to whether or not I would write a book… Look, I’m good at my job and it’s not false modesty but the last thing the world needs is another celebrity Hollywood bio; especially by a guy who’s not a celebrity. The characters are famous. Not me. And I’m fine with that.

TME: But that makes your story much different… doesn’t it?

RP: Yes it does and it makes the story different and more interesting in the context of the throat cancer. If I had got skin cancer, stomach cancer, or pancreatic cancer, that would have been a drag but Jesus…everybody has their stuff. And everybody unfortunately knows and loves someone who has been touched by cancer and often has died from it. But if its something that  affects you not only where you live but in the way in which you communicate with the world, it makes for a more interesting story. Spoiler alert: I lived.

The book called Voice Lessons,which i think was a particularly terrific  title thought up by my co-writer Mike Fleeman…the context of my cancer experience is in there but the due to the fact that I have had contact and continued to keep in contact with a great number of people who I’ve spoken to over the years, usually whose children have gone through horrible circumstances and want to speak to Raphael or Pinky or Leonardo, or Donatello or Yakko or Carl… whomever as a result of their particular horrible cancer circumstances and also often the children don’t make it.

After these really heroic struggles, the parents keep in touch with me, over the years even though their children are gone; they continue to remind me how brave they were. and that really crossed me up and gave me immeasurable strength to deal with my own circumstances…and I’m a pretty tough guy but this was really brutal for me. It screws up your mouth, your throat, your stomach. It was brutal; really difficult.

It is not impossible to survive; Michael Douglass survived it. Unfortunately Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times did not survive it…and others. Its a pretty brutal cancer treatment and if you don’t take care of it, it can leave you worse for wear.  I was more than happy to give it a shot and I’m fine now. That is what the book is about…how these children and their parents and the characters; most importantly, brought strength and joy to not only them but to me.

It was a pretty wonderful experience. Ill tell ya…it was incredible.

TME: Talking about your characters and you’ve done so much work, was there any character in the middle of a gig that gave you a sense of ” this is it, this is what you wanted to be doing as an actor”?

RP: I came out to L.A. 41 years ago to do live action and music. I was a singer first and became an actor and that was what I was doing. A lot of episodic television,commercials. and about mid 80s the opportunity presented itself to do animation and of course I jumped at it because I wanted to work. I never say no. I just like to be creative and work.And so the first shows I did were G.I. Joe and Transformers and I thought “Man this is great.

Nobody cares what I look like because as I’m not celebrity talent, and your work and opportunities for work are dictated often by your looks. In animation work, no one cares what the actors look like. In fact often, you will do characters that are of the opposite sex. A lot of young boy characters are all done by women. Finally at about 30, I decided “I wanna stay here. This is great”… And I’m glad I did because now… all these years later, after Pinky, Yakko and Carl, Arthur on the Tick and the Mask, Mighty Max and Fairly Oddparents…

TME: You just described my childhood.

RP: Yeah…how about that? Mine too!  My post childhood…and my son’s childhood who is now 35 and I’m glad I made that choice.

TME: Was there any character that you personally identified with?

RP:  Yeah I gotta say because of the smart ass attitude I gotta say Rafael and Yakko are closest to me in my own personality because I’m a bit snarky and I have a saracastic attitude that I think is a sense of humor that certainly was helpful during my cancer experience; not take myself and my treatment too seriously and when things got pretty gnarly I would just say to myself “Well you know what? I reckon you better find a way to get on it because if you don’t find a way to do this it’s gonna kill you so you might as well find a way to enjoy the ride. You’re not living under a bridge; you got every type of medicine to get through it so why don’t you just take a handful and hook yourself to some fluids because you can’t eat and drink and listen to Pink Floyd. Start getting the cure done so you can get on with your life.All these children before you who didn’t make it and the brave men and women who tried this treatment; not knowing what the outcome would be…they’re a lot tougher than you. I reckon you better shut your mouth.”

That attitude helped me keep my head down and take a punch. I’m glad I have it. And those characters that I identify with and helped me be successful because they are utterly natural and organic and I didn’t have to stretch. Yakko and Rafael are the easiest to slide into and the two that come to mind.

Check out this story of Rob’s incredible journey and how his fans helped him through one of the toughest challenges of his life. See link above for purchase details.

*The following is an edited transcript of the conversation.


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Finally, the Cinderella story of the Richmond Greyhounds has come to an end.



We are now in a new season for the team, and they have started off on the wrong
foot. The team is broken up and Ted has his work cut out for him. The team goes
through a slump, and Ted is now doubting his coaching ability. Ted’s personal life
has also gotten out of control, and he discovers his ex-wife Michelle has started a relationship with their therapist. The wonderkid, Nathan Shelley, the former manager of West Ham has had a change of heart and leaves his job to be with his one true love, the waitress from his favorite restaurant.

She convinces him to return to the Richmond team he started out in and it’s quite evident that
everyone wants him back and held no hard feelings. All of Lawrence’s series he has worked on with others have just that right balance of slice-of-life drama with a little bit of ridiculous comedy that reality dishes us, normal folks, every day.

This all comes to a head in the potential series finale where Ted announced to
Rebecca that he will be returning to the States to his family after his mother tells
him that his son misses him. This puts the Richmond owner into quite a state of denial; doing everything from offering Ted the position of being the highest-paid coach in the league to selling the team after he leaves. The team is also affected by this decision as they perform a number from the musical The Sound of Music that is a more than touching farewell to this family.

This bleeds into their playing as in the final title match the first half is met with
bumbling and possible injuries to their star player Jamie.
After an energizing pep talk and a circle back to the first motivator in the
beginning, a sign Ted made up that said “BELIEVE”, the team dominate the second
half and win with a rousing closing scene that is reminiscent of any 80’s party
movie. It’s a fitting end for this pandemic darling that emotionally carried us through. It is
a must-see series even if you don’t like soccer (football).

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No Question Mark Box Here; Super Mario Delivers a 1-Up in Theaters



If you were born in the ’80s, ’90s, or literally ANY decade after those, you know about Super Mario. A cultural phenomenon was brought to life on the big screen this last weekend. One that has not only stood the test of time but reinvented itself time and time again. This wasn’t even the first time it’s been made into a movie but, well, let’s be honest.. some of us choose not to acknowledge the LIVE action adaptation of the beloved game from 30 years ago. 

It was pretty bad… But this was animation. ILLUMINATION animation at that. The Universal company that brought us Gru and his Minions, showed us the Secret Life of Pets, and gave us a reason to SING! Still, I had my reservations and even some concerns, especially when the casting was announced. 

 Eyebrows were raised. As big of stars as they were on paper, could they really deliver on voicing characters from a staple of our childhood? They did.

Chris Pratt and Charlie Day may not be Italian, and Jack Black may not be a King or Turtle creature from the Mushroom Kingdom, but they make the characters their own all while paying homage to the lore of a video game. 

From the jump, the story reintroduces us to the brothers that just want to save Brooklyn one clogged sink at a time. We feel an instant connection and relate to these “underdogs of the plumbing world”. The movie is riddled with easter eggs, each of which tugs on the heartstrings of every generation of Mario fandom. And the soundtrack was beautifully put together to not only make us feel like we’re taking a walkthrough of the game but like an experience all its own with some familiar favorites thrown in.

Every word in the movie is pure eye candy for both those that are casual fans, and those analyzing every frame to see what they’ll catch next. Bowser’s ship, the Mushroom Kingdom, Kong’s arena, and the Rainbow Road.. They’re all meant to give us just enough of a “new” look at these amazing worlds, but stay true to how we remember them.

The movie itself moves along at the perfect pace. Although, if you don’t really know ANYTHING about the Super Mario Bros, you may have gotten a little lost and felt left behind in the green tunnel. But that’s ok! It’s an adventure of the imagination and a classic story of a boy that meets a girl and tries to save the world from a monster that wants to destroy it.

What’s funny is that you could easily say this is a story about two characters who couldn’t be more opposite if they tried, battling to win the heart of a princess. Who would’ve thought that the King of the Koopas was just trying to impress his crush?

And that song? Ohhh THAT song! It’s my new ringtone and deserves the Oscar for Best Original Song.

Back to the movie. 

Universal and Illumination clearly understood the assignment. Is it missing some things or could things have been done differently or even better? Absolutely! We’re the worst critics of the things we hold nearest and dearest to our hearts. But if you’re up for going on a 90-minute adventure through amazing worlds, with awesome music, and characters that’ll make you smile and laugh, then this is the perfect movie to spring you into that warm summer feeling.

Plus there’s the whole part with karts and shells, and banana peels and oh my goodness how amazing was that?? It’s enough to make you want to stand up and cheer, then go home and destroy your friends and family on your favorite track haha.

The bottom line, it pays homage in all the right ways to the little guy with the mustache, while giving us something new and exciting. Take the kids and go see Super Mario Bros. You’ll be glad you did!

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Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment returns to WonderCon 2023



Justice League x RWBY: Superheroes & Hunters Opening Act Saturday, March 25 at 1:30 p.m. on North 200A. Talent confirmed so far to participate in the post-screening panel is Natalie Alyn Lind (Big Sky, The Goldbergs, Gotham) as Wonder Woman/Diana Prince and longtime RWBY cast member Lindsay Jones (Camp Camp) as Ruby, Kara Eberle ( RWBY: Ice Queendom) as Weiss, Arryn Zech (Detective Now Dead) as Blake and Barbara Dunkelman (Blood Fest) as Yang – along with Jeannie Tirado (Soul, Saints Row) as Green Lantern and Tru Valentino (The Rookie, The Cuphead Show!) as a cyborg. Also attending the panel will be producer/director Kerry Shawcross (series RWBY) and writer Meghan Fitzmartin (Supernatural, Justice Society: World War II).

Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment returns to WonderCon 2023 with the big screen debut from DC Animated Films: highlights this year include the world premieres of the highly anticipated Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham and Justice League x RWBY: Superheroes & Hunters Part One the weekend of March 24-26 in Anaheim, California. Both screenings will be followed by panel discussions with actors and creators. Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham premieres at The Arena on Friday, March 24 at 6 p.m. Tati Gabrielle (Kaleidoscope, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Uncharted) as Kai Li Cain, Christopher Gorham (The Lincoln Lawyer, Insatiable) as Oliver Queen, David Dastmalchian (Dune, Suicide Squad, Ant-Man) as Grendon, producer/co-director Sam Liu (The Death and the Return of Superman), co-director Christopher Berkeley (Young Justice) and screenwriter Jase Ricci (Teen Titans Go! and DC Super Hero Girls: Mayhem Across the Multiverse).

Both films will have encore screenings in the Arena on Sunday, March 26. Justice League x RWBY: Super Heroes & Huntsmen, Part One will screen at 12:15pm, followed by Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham at 2:00pm

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