The voice recording
for Battle of the Planets was accompished differently than most animated programs. At
this late 1970s point in broadcast history there was not a lot of dubbing
going on for television, especially for a weekday children's cartoon.
Most American animated
productions record the voice tracks first, then move on to the
actual animation. That way the images can be drawn to better reflect
the inflections of the actors and more closely match their performances.
But since most of the animation on Battle of the Planets
was already completed, the voice actors found themselves having
to work backwards. They had to follow strict timings for the footage
they were dubbing.
An additional obstacle
was the lack of videoscreens and timecodes to help guide the actors.
They had to hit timing marks perfectly with their line readings
with absolutely no visual reference at all. According to all the
actors this was a difficult process to get used to at first, but
they were able catch on quickly and work naturally with it by
the end of the series.
The process went
like this: The next episode of Gatchaman was chosen to
produce and the film was delivered to Jameson Brewer's viewers. One of the viewers would then sit down and watch the episode on a Movieola. This process was
important, since it was at this stage that the timings of all the action would be noted and rough dialogue
would be timed out and added. After this initial script was created for Brewer, he would take a look through, add his own notes and send it back to another writer to finish up the dialogue. Brewer would then take a final pass to tighten things up and the strictly timed dubbing lines would be ready.
In addition to the dubbing lines, dialogue had to be created for characters like 7-Zark-7 and Susan. Immune to
having to conform to rigid time limits, they were given blocks
of dialogue with a rough time limit. They were able to speak more freely and be edited
down later in the traditional manner. Once in a while, the American
sequences featured new images of G-Force and of course those
were all untimed. Only occasionally were regular character's lines from the original animation
not timed, and usually those would consist of reaction noises
and shots where the speaking character's mouth was not seen on
There was not a lot
of ad-libbing allowed with the production. The very nature
of the strict line timings simply didn't allow for it. The actors
were free to find their own readings and characterizations for
the roles they played though, so that helped to give them more
creative control over their own characters. Jameson Brewer and Alan
Dinehart would also reportedly often incorporate ideas about dialogue
changes from the actors.
The sessions were
recorded at the Valentine Recording Studios which were located
on Laurel Canyon Boulevard in North Hollywood, California. All
the actors remember the studio as being a very nice spot owned
by a friendly husband and wife. Janet Waldo recalled; "It was run by a very charming couple who became close to all of us. We all looked forward to our recording sessions."
Jimmy and Eve Valentine
started the little recording studio together in 1949 and it operated
continuously until approximately 1980. The owners changed focus when their
hobby of restoring automobiles started proving more
time intensive and profitable than their recording business. They
still own the recording studio site, although it is an automobile
museum now, and they are still active with their restoration business.