‘Lion King’ voice actor Frank Welker brings roars to life (with the help of a garbage can)

Will Perkins
Wide Screen
April 24, 2012

What do you get when you take a talented voice actor and give him a garbage can? Movie magic.

Wild animals are notoriously hard to control on movie sets, let alone in small recording booths. That's why human actors -- and not, say, lions or tigers -- are often used to provide animal sound effects for film and television. Actors can roar or bark on command -- and they tend not to maul the sound guy if given the chance.

One of the best animal sound providers in the business is Frank Welker. With more than 3,000 voice credits to his name, you've definitely heard his voice -- even if you don't recognize his name.

The folks at Cartoon Brew recently unearthed a behind-the-scenes clip from the making of the classic Disney animated tale "The Lion King," in which Welker is shown recording various lion roars and snarls. Welker is aided by an aluminum garbage can, which lends his guttural utterances a beastly quality.

Take a listen to Welker in action below. If you close your eyes you'd swear you were hearing an animal.

The video is just a small demonstration of the man's immense and unsung talent. Children of the 1980s probably know Welker best for his many roles in animated TV shows such as "Transformers" (Megatron), "The Real Ghostbusters" (Slimer), and "Inspector Gadget" (Dr. Claw). Name a classic cartoon produced since the '70s and Welker has probably provided voice or sound for it.

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