Bill Scott Revisited (continued)

Scott and Ward, for their part, fought tooth and nail, as long as they could, to not have to compromise and water down the quality of their work. So there Bill Scott was, in 1984 and 1985, working for cartoon producers who did just the opposite of what he and Jay did. For him to work for someone else, must have been analogous to a minister who retired from his church after thirty-five to forty years, and then remained at the church, as a parishoner, afterwards. You can imagine how hard it might be, for that retired pastor to bite his tongue, and not get involved with the decisions of the new pastor (especially if his church was a big church).

I believe that it was very admirable for Bill Scott to do what he did. I also think that it was great, since he was sixty-four years old, in 1984, that he did not just go away, quietly, and forsake his artistic leanings completely. Unfortunately, shortly after Bill began to work, with the same folks who had long been his competition, he died, very suddenly, of a heart attack. The other animation giants only got to work with him for a year or less. What a sad irony, since they had been denied access to his talents, for at least twenty-five years.

Though Bill's voice work was not my favorite at Jay Ward, I would be very interested to learn about how he developed his vast repertoire, over the years. He was especially talented in the realm of accents and dialects; those were truly his strength. I never thought to ask him about that, when we exchanged letters in the mid 70s. I also never thought to ask him how he became interested in voice characterizations in the first place (or how old he was when he first developed a love for this; he was probably quite young, since he broke into radio work around age twenty).

On a more personal note, Bill Scott, like Paul Frees, seemed to have a great deal of confidence in me. He closed out his letter to me (he only wrote to me once), wishing me every success and great fortune for the future. He also emphasized that, whatever I decided to do with my life, he was sure that I would not have anything to worry about; that I would have a very successful life. How honored I was to read such an extraordinary ending, from such an extraordinary man. I hope to continue to draw on my memory of Bill Scott, as a very rich source of inspiration, for however many more years, that God is kind enough to bless me with.