An Animated Conversation with the Voice of Goofy

| April 3, 2023 | 0 Comments

One of the amazing benefits of being the editor of this publication is that sometimes I get to meet some very interesting and colorful people.  Due to lots of activity and events taking place at the ComicCon Museum in Balboa Park, I was given the opportunity to meet and talk to someone who has thrilled me over the years due to his amazing talent and skills. 

His name may not seem famous, however, the character he portrays is very well known.   He is the voice of Goofy, a Disney character. He has also been the voice of numerous others, including Pluto. 

The first thing I wanted to ask Bill Farmer, the voice of Goofy, is how did he develop the skills and talent to be a voice actor on screen. 

What I learned, as expected, is that Farmer has always been a bit of a class clown.  He has always enjoyed making people laugh, telling jokes, and using his voice to imitate other famous people, including John Wayne.

What impressed me is that he taught himself to be the voices of various famous people, and eventually to become the voice actor for Goofy and other Disney characters. He does though, attribute some of his success to acting classes and Daws Butler, who he identifies as his mentor.  Butler was the voice actor known for Huckleberry Hound, Quick-Draw McGraw, Snagglepuss, Jinks the cat, Dixie the mouse, Augie Doggie, Peter Potamus, Wally Gator, Hokey Wolf, Super Snooper, to name a few.

It became obvious that to do the voice acting he must get in to character, with physical movements, energy, enthusiasm, drama, suspense, whatever is necessary to bring life to his colorful and animated characters.  Then I learned that his voice actions (style and delivery) help the animators do their parts, to draw what Farmer has delivered.

Farmer refers to visualization as a technique he uses to be fluid and make it appear effortless. 

“So, when did all of this take place? I asked.

Farmer shared with me that he started in broadcast journalism.  He was the chief engineer and an on-air personality for a radio station.  At the same time, he was doing standup comedy. 

As you can observe, he is multi-talented.

Well, someone in the audience noticed his amazing talent and recommended he go to Los Angeles to get his big break.  With “large” encouragement from his wife, in 1986 he departed for Los Angeles to see if he had what is needed to compete with over 1,000 other people to get the voice acting career he hoped possible.

According to Farmer, “Ignorance is bliss!” 

He said he relied on his visualization, and years of developing his voice acting to become the top choice for the voice of Goofy. 

Today he continues to work with great animators, including Eric Goldman, who is also known for voice acting and directing. Goldman has worked for Warner Bros. and Disney and has an extensive reputation for creating lots of famous animated movies, including “Aladdin,” and Fantasia 2000’s “The Carnival of the Animals.”

Farmer is also working with his wife and son, who is a professional drummer and engineer, to produce their own films called, “It’s A Dog’s Life.” They are based on stories of working dogs across the United States and educates viewers on responsible pet care.

If it isn’t obvious, Bill Farmer loves his career decision and has made considerable success from being outstanding in his field. 

It gives me goose bumps when I think of getting to meet and talk to this incredibly talented man who continues to influence others with humor and entertainment and cartoon and film making at its finest.

Bill Farmer is shown with his newest film adventure, “It’s A Dog’s Life.”

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