Bill Scott Revisited

(A followup on our Jack of All Trades)

October 7, 2001:

For many years I assumed that Bill Scott never did voices for cartoons, other than Jay Ward Productions. I had always assumed this because of the conflict of interest that this would have been (since he was the co-producer at Jay Ward). When I read his filmography for the first time, in 2000, I did get confirmation that this was true. Interestingly enough, however, I saw that he began to "venture out of the nest" in the mid 80s, and did voices for other producers, after he and Jay retired. In 1985 he provided voices for two extraneous cartoon TV series: The Gummie Bears and The Wuzzles. This first one was produced by the Disney Studios; an interesting irony since Bill once said, in so many words, that he had never worked for Disney and he was proud of it!! (he had worked for other animation giants, however, like Warner Brothers)

It was Keith Scott (no relation to Bill Scott, for the record) who enlightened me, in his masterpiece, The Moose That Roared, as to why Bill decided to "test the waters" and voice other cartoons. In 1984, Bill and Jay Ward saw the handwriting on the wall, that they were going to be closing down. They had been having many problems with Quaker Oats, for whom they had been doing animated cereal commercials for years. Bill Scott, who wrote 90% of the scripts for Jay Ward Productions (according to Daws Butler), had been forced, by Quaker, to write two, three or more drafts, for their commercial, in recent years, before they met with final approval. This was only the tip of the ice berg, vis vis the lack of cooperation and the thinly veiled animosity that had been aimed at Scott and Ward, by this sponsor.

Keith Scott wrote that Bill began sending out tapes and "feelers", to other animation studios, about doing voice work for them, as his own studio began to wind down its affairs. I assume that there were probably many times, over the decades, that Bill had been offered voice work, by other studios, but had turned it all down, since he was at the helm of Jay Ward. The only other voice work that I know of, that Bill did, was in radio. According to his 1974 letter to me, he was a "reasonably employed radio actor" for about two or three years (around the age of twenty). I am sure that he probably did some additional voice work, that I am not aware of; the filmographies of actors often do not include all their work.

I can only imagine, after twenty-five years of running the show at Jay Ward Productions (he wrote, directed, produced and did most of the starring voices in all their cartoons), it must have been rather difficult, to work for someone else and no longer be the boss............and to be involved in animation work only from the voice angle. Doubtless there must have been many times when he bit his tongue and did not give advice that he would have liked to give. Also he was most assuredly disappointed with the scripts that he had to work with. The animation studios, which were still producing shows in the mid 80s, all "played the game" and kowtowed to a myriad of censor and sponsor demands. They either kowtowed or they did not produce.

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