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Saturday, August 30, 2008


The other day while researching songs with superheroes and comics characters in them, I came across an informative podcast that examined the "library" music used on the SPIDER-MAN cartoon from 1967. The musical portions of the show were interesting enough, but the capper was when toward the end of the program the familiar voice of Peter Parker/Spider-Man from the old cartoon came on and began talking about his career as a voice actor on animated teevee shows and specials. The actor's name is Paul Soles, a veteran Canadian thespian, and I was astounded to discover that he'd done many character voices that are permanently burned into my memory.

Paul Soles today.

His work on SPIDER-MAN is indelible to those of us who grew up when that series was on in daily syndicated rotation, and he also provided the voices for two other Marvel Comics mainstays on the 1966 MARVEL SUPERHEROES show, namely Dr. Bruce Banner in the HULK segments and Tony Stark's chauffer, Happy Hogan, in IRON MAN. (As occasionally mentioned here on the Vault, the MARVEL SUPERHEROES show also featured John Vernon, Dean Wormer in NATIONAL LAMPOON'S ANIMAL HOUSE, as the voices of both Iron Man and the Sub-Mariner.)

But what truly shocked me to the core was the moment when Soles dropped into character as one of the most justly famous animated characters of the TV age; in mid-sentence Soles' voice morphed into the familiar-as-the-back-of-my-hand nasal delivery of everyone's favorite misfit, Hermey the dentist elf from the classic RUDOLPH, THE RED-NOSED REINDEER (1964).

Hermey the Elf. Do I really need to say more?

The funny thing is that Soles' "straight" voice is only different from Hermey's in that it isn't nasal, and when I heard the two in swift succession I couldn't believe I never realized they were the same actor.

So please take the time out to check out the podcast in question. It's loads of fun for us geeks, and while you're at it take a gander at Soles' site that focuses on the Canadian actors who provided the voices for the SPIDER-MAN cartoon.

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