Friday 30 December 2016

Holiday Highlights

The new year is being celebrated at the start of the Warners cartoon Holiday Highlights, directed by Tex Avery and narrated by KFWB announcer Gil Warren. We’re greeted with double-exposure shots.

Here’s the little New Year. “Hey, little man! Can’t you say something to the folks here?”

The infant obeys the narrator’s order, standing up and screaming out “Happy New Year” over and over in a very adult voice (provided by Mel Blanc). His job done, he toddles off again.

A year later, Tex would likely be celebrating as he was at MGM and away from weak spot gag cartoons like this one.

Gil Warren was identified through the research of Keith Scott. Warren narrated two other cartoons for Avery at Warners, then joined him at MGM, as the trades announced he had been signed for You Auto Be in Pictures, which was renamed Car of Tomorrow.

Gilman Colin Warren Rankin was born on April 17, 1911 at 8 Fenelon Street, Boston. His family relocated after World War One to Nogales, Arizona and then to Santa Monica. His father, also named Gil, was convicted of first degree robbery in a high-profile case in 1928 and sentenced to seven years in San Quentin. That’s likely why he took a new surname when he went into professional acting.

He was a graduate of Santa Monica High School and Los Angeles City College. He had been acting at the Gateway Players Theatre when he arrived at KFWB in December 1936, the same month as Arthur Q. Bryan, the voice of Elmer Fudd.

Warren left the station in September 1942 to join the OWI-affiliated shortwave station KWID in San Francisco. He entered the U.S. Marine Corps in February 1943 and served in the South Pacific and Phillipines with the 1st Marine Air Wing. Warren rejoined KFWB in May 1946. He landed the lead in the TV Western The Man in Black in August 1950, but his career was suddenly interrupted when he was recalled into service with the rest of the U.S. Marine, albeit briefly. The last reference I can find to him as Gil Warren is in late 1954 when he went back into television. It was at this point he decided to go professionally by his real name. He appeared in movies (including Midnight Cowboy), stage plays, and was doing commercial voice-overs as late as 1979. Warren died on October 31, 1993.

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