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)