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Mel Blanc’s Mic Moves to Auction

Legendary cartoon voice artist Mel Blanc prized his Sony C-37A tube microphone; now the mic is going up for auction in early December.

Vincent Price (left) and Mel Blanc around the latter's prized Sony C-37A microphone, seen up-close on right.
Vincent Price (left) and Mel Blanc around the latter’s prized Sony C-37A microphone, seen up-close on right.

Beverly Hills, CA (November 17, 2021)—It’s a vintage microphone that you’ve heard before, used for some of the best-known entertainment of the 20th Century, but it didn’t capture Sinatra or Hendrix or, frankly, any music at all. It’s the personal microphone of the late voice actor Mel Blanc, and it’s going to be auctioned by Julien’s Auctions in December.

From 1936 until his death in 1989 at the age of 81, Mel Blanc was the undisputed king of cartoon voices, and the cast of characters that he vocalized reads like a who’s who of 20th Century animation. Blanc was best known for his work voicing virtually all of Looney Tunes’ major characters—Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Elmer Fudd, Tweety Bird, Sylvester the Cat, Wile E. Coyote, The Roadrunner, Yosemite Sam, Sam the Sheepdog, Taz the Tazmanian Devil, Speedy Gonzales, Marvin the Martian, Foghorn Leghorn, Pepé le Pew and others.

Even so, he also voiced Woody Woodpecker; Barney Rubble and Dino from The Flintstones; Mr. Spacely from The Jetsons; and even Toucan Sam from Kellogg’s Fruit Loops commercials. Across his storied career, Blanc lent his ever-elastic voice to more 5,000 cartoons and 1,000 different characters.

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Now various items from the Mel Blanc estate will be going under the auction hammer on Friday, December 3rd, 2021, at Julien’s Auctions in Beverly Hills and online on Among the items will be Blanc’s favorite microphone—his personal Sony C-37A.

Introduced in 1955 and manufactured through most of the 1960s, Sony C-37A tube condenser microphones were known for having a dark, smooth tone. The mic’s power supply had multiple EQ settings, while the microphone itself housed a simplistic 6AU6 pentode vacuum tube. The back of the mic grille sported a small slot that allowed the user to mechanically alter the mic’s polar pattern from omni to cardioid. Over the years, C-37As (if not Blanc’s specifically) have been used to record everyone from Bob Dylan to Bono, and the microphone was inducted into the TEC Awards’ Technology Hall of Fame in their debut year, 2015.

Blanc’s C-37A likely hasn’t been used since his passing, so it would presumably need some refurbishment if it’s going to be used for recording again. The auction house expects the mic to go for a modest $4,000 – $6,000, and it will come with a photograph of Blanc using the mic with his longtime friend Vincent Price. The C-37A and the rest of the items up for auction will be on exhibit to the public Monday, November 29th – Friday, December 3rd, 2021.