"Smurfette felt so real to me because I created her voice, so I could feel her emotions. It may sound strange but it's true. We have to think like the character and it takes over. That's what I tell my students, too. You must lose yourself if you want to be successful in animation and be the character."
About This Interview
In her two-and-a-half-hour Archive interview, Lucille Bliss (1916-2012) talks about her early work in USO shows in San Francisco and her first big break as a voice artist on Walt Disney's "Cinderella" as stepsister "Anastasia." She describes the creation of the television series The Happy Birthday To You Show, a local children's show that she hosted in San Francisco. She talks about the format of the show, memorable moments as host, and how it inspired The Mickey Mouse Club. Bliss speaks in great detail about her part as the voice of the title character in television's very first cartoon, Crusader Rabbit. She talks of the premise of the show, the contributions of collaborators Alex Anderson and Jay Ward, and how her part came to be recast for the later version of the series. Bliss also recalls the difficulties of battling occasional rejection and bad breaks, which for her included the loss of a lucrative contract at Hanna-Barbera for Ruff and Reddy, and her replacement as the voice of "Elroy" on The Jetsons. She then details her most well-known role as "Smurfette" on the 1980s animated hit, The Smurfs. She discusses how she won the role, describes her character, and talks about her work with the ensemble cast that included Paul Winchell as the villainous "Gargamel." Finally, she talks about her later work both on camera and as a voice artist, including on the cult animated series Invader ZIM. B-roll consists of stills from The Happy Birthday To You Show (illustrating the Disney merchandise that the series was given by the studio), as well as a few stills from Bliss' early career. Gary Rutkowski conducted the interview on August 26, 2005 in Universal City, CA.