Asleep In The Deep - The Music Of Thurl Ravenscroft
My father has a deep, deep voice. One of my favorite things about going to church when I was young, was hearing my father's voice singing hymns. My younger sister and I would sometimes sing a little quieter so we could hear his low rich tones, we would look at each other and smile. Freud said, "At bottom God is nothing more than an exalted father." In my mind, when I would picture the voice of God, his voice was identical to my father's.
This joy is recalled by me when I hear the even deeper (and more Godlike?) voice of Thurl Ravenscroft. I am sure many of you would recognize this voice as the voice of Tony the Tiger. Of course this is still when Tony the Tiger was cool looking and not the big steroid-infused feline he is now. It is also when Kellogg's was OK with calling them SUGAR Frosted Flakes! Few people know that not only did Thurl provide the voice of Tony the Tiger, he also invented Tony's signature line, "They're Grrrrreat!"
For those who need to listen to "Mr. Grinch" right now, here it is...
For those of you who think you only know Mr. Ravenscroft from this, think harder...
He is also the singer of one of the greatest insult songs of all time, "You're A Mean One Mr. Grinch," from the 1996 TV special "How The Grinch Stole Christmas!" This television special, which has since become a perennial Christmas favorite, was animated by Chuck Jones and written by Dr. Seuss. It did not credit Thurl Ravenscroft in the credits, so often this song is misattributed to Boris Karloff who narrated and provided the voice of The Grinch.
"This Old House" - Thurl backs Rosemary Clooney
Who was this man Thurl Ravenscroft? He was born in 1914. He was a member of the singing group The Mellomen. The Mellomen sang backup for many big band stars including Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney. He also performed with many other groups including The Sportsmen and Big John and the Buzzards. He also had an extensive solo career. He recorded quite a range of genres in music. As previously mentioned, some of his records were big band, some were pop, including 1955's "Mad, Baby, Mad," and in 1970 he released an album of hymns called "Great Hymns in Story and Song."
"You Wanna Talk About Texas" - Warning - This WILL Get Stuck In Your Head
His work on voices in movies, theme parks and records for Disney alone is amazing. He performed voices for many Disney movies. Often these were singing roles, like as the singing hog in the "Jolly Holiday" song from "Mary Poppins" or in the "Heffalumps and Woozles" song from "The Many Adventures Of Winnie The Pooh." Among his speaking roles in Disney films, he played the voice of Kirby in "The Brave Little Toaster and it's sequels. In the Disney theme parks, Thurl is everywhere. He is the voice of Buff, the buffalo head on the wall in Country Bear Jamboree. He sings and performs singing roles in The Pirates of the Caribbean. He performs voices in the Enchanted Tiki Room. In the Haunted Mansion not only do you get to hear the amazing voice of Thurl in the song "Grim Grinning Ghosts," but you can see his face as one of the singing busts in the graveyard. He appears on many Disney records of theme park attractions and other Disney records.
"Grim Grinning Ghosts" From The Haunted Mansion (Sorry there may be an ad before the video)
It seems a shame that a man that has done so much, can still be so relatively unknown by the general public. Once you are familiar with his voice, you will start to recognize it in more and more places. I was surprised the other day while showing "Snoopy Come Home" to my daughter. This was a movie I loved as a child. Suddenly we hear Thurl's rich golden voice singing "No Dogs Allowed."
Mr. Ravenscroft died of prostate cancer in May of 2005. He was preceded in death by his wife June, who he married in 1946 and died in 1999. He had two children. He had frequently appeared as a soloist on Rev. Robert Shuller's TV show "The Hour Of Power" from the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California. He was buried in the Crystal Cathedral's memorial gardens.
I'll leave you with one more video... actually just the audio for "Asleep In The Deep," it has an example of Thurl at his lowest and deepest.
Now while you pick up your jaw off of the floor after hearing from that last note, I will recommend you find out more about this man and his music. There is a lot more to discover. Thurl is unique. You would think that a voice that low would sound menacing, instead it is oddly comforting. I wouldn't consider his voice the voice of an angel, it is better. It is more like the voice of God singing in the shower.
This is a great site dedicated to Thurl.
- All Things Thurl
The only site devoted to the life and work of the late Thurl Ravenscroft, voice of Tony the Tiger for over 50 years