Monday, June 27, 2005

Tigger and Piglet, R.I.P.

The Hundred-Acre Wood seems a little emptier today -- at least, the Walt Disney version of it.

First, Paul Winchell died Friday at the age of 82. He was probably one of the most versatile voice-actors on Saturday-morning cartoons; not only did he voice "T - I - double Guh - Er -- That spells Tigger!", but Dick Dastardly, Gargamel of the Smurfs, and Fleagle of the Banana Splits. (He was also an inventor, coming up with an early version of an artificial heart.)

Then, John Fiedler died on Saturday at the age of 80. He was the original voice of Piglet in Disney's Winnie-the-Pooh cartoons. Frankly, though, I remember him best as the fussy bureaucrat Mr. Hengist in the Star Trek episode "Wolf in the Fold." This was the guy who was later revealed as Redjack or Jack the Ripper, who tried to get Scotty framed for murder.

These two weren't Shakespearean actors by any means. But good character actors -- whether exuberant extroverts or innocent introverts -- are very hard to find in any day and age. The original voices of Tigger and Piglet will be missed.