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I Miss Paul Frees

Article by Lilly.

I love voice-overs. I love doing them and I especially love hearing really great voice-over talent. Best part of Disney’s recent Alice in Wonderland? Paul Whitehouse as the March Hare. He was crazy. It was awesome. I listen Keith David perform “Friends on the Other Side” all the time. He did an outstanding job with the character of Dr. Facilier.

But of course you know my favorites go back to the early days of Disney. I love those classic voices like Ed Wynn, Andy Devine, and Eleanor Audley. Phil Harris? No wonder Disney used him a million times, he had a great voice. I love how back then they chose incredibly rich and distinct voices. Adriana Caselotti often gets criticized for her cheesy interpretation of Snow White, but you listen to “With a Smile and a Song” and tell me it doesn’t warm your heart a little. That movie wouldn’t be the same without that voice, I wouldn’t change it a bit.

Of all the voices that I’ve ever heard in my life, one stands out as my absolute favorite. The late Paul Frees. Hands down, Paul Frees is my favorite voice actor of all time. Of course, as a young girl, I always loved Frees’ deep and evocative voice as the Ghost Host in the Haunted Mansion, but I also loved his resounding narration in Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln. Then I found out he did several of the pirate voices, including one of my favorites, the auctioneer. I began to be really impressed, but my mind was blown when I found out he did Ludwig Von Drake, too. Is there no end to this guy’s talent? I propose that there is not. Since then, I have adored the man. I have listened and watched everything he’s ever done and have missed him terribly since he passed away November 2, 1986. Disney isn’t the same without him.

Go ahead and listen to some Paul Frees amazingness. The last 4 minutes are Paul Frees in the sound booth recording for The Haunted Mansion. Pretty cool to hear him at work.

And if you would like to see Frees in a live action role, check out The Shaggy Dog (1959) where he plays Dr. Galvin, a psychiatrist.

On October 9, 2006, Paul Frees was honored as a Disney Legend for his contributions to the Disney legacy. Mr. Frees, you are missed!

BONUS:  Paul Frees narrates Disneyland's Adventure Thru Inner Space ride (Paul begins his narration at 2:29)


References (2)

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Reader Comments (19)

That guy rocked. When was the last time we had a great "hosted" attraction? A ride narrated throughout by a voice actor. Let's see more of that, please.

May 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJosef

I love ludwig von drake!! "And that's the green with envy bluu-uuu-uuues!" Thank you Paul Frees for bringing this wonderful song to the world. My childhood would not have been the same without it. :)

May 2, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterdisney obsessor

Wow, he was incredible. An amazing amount of talent and truly a voice of "classic" Disney. This track is great to hear him "do" Bella Lugosi and Peter Lorre as the Ghost Host. Very cool!

May 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJosh

Wow, his voice really is everywhere. You're right about those classic vocal chords having extra character. Disney is definitely the greatest of gigs.

May 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMike

Been thinking today about how great Ludwig is. I remember that around 2004 I ran into a lady and her family who told me of their "uncle who created the professor duck". I said, "Send me everything he ever gave you!" She knew so little about the uncle but admired him so much. Should have gotten her email address or something.

August 12, 2010 | Registered CommenterMitch

This was so great, to listen to and I remembered some of the recordings after hearing them again. Paul Frees was such a wonderful talent. He could practically do anything vocally. Being able to change the timber of his voice was so great, one minute a ghostly host, the next a zany Professor of pretty much any subject. Ludwig Von Drake was a crazy character, and Paul gave him a voice that matched purfectly with the look of the character. Ofcourse aside from Disney he voiced many other memorible characters, an all around amazing talent for sure. Thanks for this wonderful collection.

September 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterWende

In addition to being a Disney fan, I also am really into radio shows from the forties, fifties and sixties, and you would be surprised at how often Paul Frees would fill in for a character who was sick on Sunday (the day they had to record the shows). One of my favorites was when Paul filled in for Howard McNear as Doc Adams in Gunsmoke and man, it was almost uncanny at how close he nailed it.

He also did tons of bit parts in those old radio shows, Yours Truly, Johhny Dollar, Phillip Marlowe, Sam Spade...

I miss him too.

September 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSteveZ

Paul Frees has to be the greatest voice over actor, I have always been a fan and being able to listen to different takes of the Mansion is amazing. Where I can I buy these tracks or even possibly download them. They would be a great thing to sit back and listen to while I do my drawing.

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Joseph

You may be surprised to know that Paul was also the voice of poppin' fresh the Pillsbury dough boy until his death! Talk about all over the place with voice acting!! My favorite however is Thurl Ravenscroft. I sent him a letter a few years ago, thanking him for all the great work he did on so many Disney attractions and films, expecting no reply. He was gracious enough to send a little note and a personalized print of he and Tony the Tiger. Sadly he passed away a few months after I received that note. I have the signed picture over my desk here at home. What a great guy!

October 28, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterkurt schneider

at 3.39 you here x . the voice is not paul frees it's x ettencio

February 18, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterdave tucker

Welcome! Welcome! Welcome! Wecome! Welcome foolish mortals!

July 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEmily Oriotis

Are we missing some links? There is nothing to listen to on this page...

July 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGrinning Ghost

This is fabulous! Thank you for sharing!

November 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCatie

I was fortunate to be one of the recording engineers who worked with Paul Frees. Unfortunately, I am the engineer who recorded his last voice over session right before he passed away. Not only did he have a wide range of voices, he had an internal clock and could read a script to time by take #2. I miss him greatly.

March 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJim Hilson

He also reminds me of the great Orson Welles.

May 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAndy H

Happy Paul Frees B-Day! Enjoy with his son on our Comedy-O-Rama Halloween Special iTunes Podcast

June 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLorie

May his memory be eternal!

February 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterV.E.G.

Paul Frees is easily heard on the hundreds of radio shows (now available on recording) he did over the decades.

June 19, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterDane

He also did numerous voices for the Rankin-Bass Christmas specials. A very talented guy for sure.

February 26, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterLou Zucaro

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