He was known as “the man of a thousand voices” because he gave life to so many of the superstars of the animated screen, including Bugs Bunny (“Eh, what’s up, doc?”), Daffy Duck (“Desthpicable!), Elmer Fudd (“Dat wabbit is a vewwy twicky wascal!”), and Woody Woodpecker, who surely has the most famous laugh in the world.
But on January 24, 1961, all of Mel Blanc’s thousand voices almost fell silent forever. He was driving to Hollywood to tape a commercial and was traveling on a stretch of Sunset Boulevard known as Deadman’s Curve. The driver of an Oldsmobile 98 took the curve a little too fast and crossed the center line, smashing head-on into Mel’s Aston Martin.
It’s hard to imagine a man being so severely injured and still surviving. Virtually every bone in Mr. Blanc’s body was broken, with his right leg alone sustaining 39 fractures. He also lost nine pints of blood in the amount of time it took to dig him out of the wreckage. As he lay in a coma and a full body cast, doctors at UCLA Medical Center put his chances of survival at 1000 to 1. Things looked so hopeless that his obituary ran in the paper the next day.*
But Mel Blanc survived.
And not only did he survive, he lived for 28 more years, continuing his wonderful work and ending up with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Are you currently in a situation where a negative outcome seems certain? Is your marriage in a coma? Are you so deep in debt that you need a snorkel to breathe? Does one of your children seem to be veering hopelessly off course? Is the company you work for about ready to shut down, leaving you unemployed with a family to support? If so, think about Mel Blanc and remember that we live in a world were even 1000 to 1 odds can be beaten.
As long as God is on his throne and holds the power of life and death in his hands, there will be hope. Ephesians 3:20 says, “Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.”
For further reflection read Psalm 126:1-3, Acts 12:6-17
*Mel Blanc, That’s Not All, Folks! (New York: Warner, 1988), 1-2