By Brian Kistler

January 21, 2001

Paul Frees

" 'How did Jay Ward find you for his cartoons?'...........Well, you know....... TOP TALENT DISCOVERS EACH OTHER!.........Besides, Jay probably came to me because he heard that I work CHEAP!!..........No, I'm just kidding!.........."

(Paul Frees, in December, 1974, reading my letter out loud, and responding to my question, in his own taped letter to me)


The above quote, from Paul Frees, is one of many examples of a man with a sense of humor! There was a lot more to this guy, however, than just the gift of "quick wit". I wanted to convey one thing, to any prospective readers, in this introduction. Though I have a natural penchant for detail, this piece on Paul Frees is long enough that I could fully understand if the average reader would not wish to wade through all my comments. Therefore, I wish to include a list of highlights, below, to help you decide whether or not you would like to take the time to scan this article. In doing so, you will learn:

  • Four of Paul Frees' hobbies, in his spare time (completely unrelated to his voice work)
  • His philosophy vis vis work versus play
  • Why he opted for voice-over work, rather than a career as a film or television star
  • My own thoughts on his voice work (a comparison of his natural voice work, versus his character voice work)
  • The generous, extremely kind-hearted man that he was
  • The voluminous amount of work that he did outside of Jay Ward Productions (including some serious ventures, which had nothing to do with animation or puppets)
  • The little known record album, that he recorded for MGM, Paul Frees and the Poster People.
  • The fact that he was actually not Jay Ward's first pick, as narrator, for many of his cartoons.


Though Paul Frees, "The Man of a Thousand Voices", had some really great character voices, I think that my fondest memories of him (those memories which filled my heart with the most joy) were the times that I heard his deep, dramatic narrations (or the times that his voice was used "straight" for commercials or bit parts in television shows). His "straight" voice was used for so much more than just cartoons.

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