The original panel for Futurama was billed as event where we would "join executive producers Matt Groening and David X. Cohen, and stars Billy West, Katey Sagal, John DiMaggio, and Maurice LaMarche for high-stakes thrills as a top-ranking FOX executive decides live, on stage, whether Futurama will make yet another triumphant return or whether it is gone forever!"
It was an obvious setup for a Fox exec to reunite the cast and creator and cue wild applause from fans for the revival of the cult favorite cartoon. Unfortunately, as a result of the recent contract disputes and salary cuts for the voice cast -- and the subsequent threats from Fox that they would recast the characters -- none of the voice actors were in attendance, although series creator Matt Groening voiced his support for them, saying that "we love our Futurama actors. We hope that FOX and the actors can come to an agreement as soon as possible."
As the article notes, this is either a salary negotiation tactic or the dumbest marketing move since new Coke. This is like replacing Seth MacFarlane on Family Guy (which I wouldn't put past the Fox executives in looking to save a buck or two). Everybody, and I mean everybody, would notice if the characters suddenly spoke with a different voice, no matter how much the voice tried to be like the original.
This is a bad idea. Even if they did some sort of lame plot device like having Professor Farnsworth invent a machine that would change everybody's voice, this is a bad idea.
They tried this same tactic years ago with the voices on The Simpsons and that didn't work either. Here's hoping that Fox has similar luck.
I am not one for the traditional holiday fare constantly repeated on television at this time of year (although, I am a sucker for It's A Wonderful Life, and regularly tear up at the very end. Damn you, Frank Capra!) That's why I am very grateful for sites like YouTube, which provide me with an alternative to my holiday viewing. Because of that monster video web site I am able to watch, over and over and over again, perhaps one of my most favorite holiday videos: Twas the Night Before Christmas recited by numerous voice actors.
Yes, I may enjoy this because I am a voiceover wonk, but I just think it's the coolest thing. Not only do you get to hear the story told by great voice actors like Jim Cummings, Gary Owens, Billy West, and Don LaFontaine, but you also get to match the voices you have heard on your television during a normal day with actual faces. In addition, you get to see some television actors -- Nate Corddry and Dennis Haysbert, to name just two -- doing their thing behind the microphone.
I hope you enjoy this as much as I do. You can view the video after the clip.
A lot of the work of Nancy Cartwright, the voice of Bart Simpson, is mentioned, but I bet none of her other gigs pay as well as Bart. I'm actually a bit of a fan of Billy West and love his work on Futurama.
While I find the list impressive, I do note some glaring omissions. Where is Mel Blanc, the man who gave the most immortal rendition of Bugs Bunny (although he didn't even originate the character)?
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