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Interview w/ Bill Martin, Voice Actor of Shredder for 80’s TMNT

We got a brief interview with Bill Martin, the voice of Shredder on the ’80s Animated Turtles series from Season 8-10…

Q:  I was just looking at a few episodes from Season 8 of the ’80s Turtles Animated Series–there were a lot that changed with that season to the show.   You came in replacing James Avery as the voice of ‘Shredder’ and the show’s opening  and theme music were changed.    The new theme song was slower for the start of Season 8 and the visuals were mixed with footage from one of the live-action Turtles movies…

MARTIN:  I’m not sure why that happened, I wouldn’t have been prvy to all that.  I had known Fred Wolf [Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated series Producer] going back to the 1970’s, when he had asked me to do some voice over work for THE POINT (1974) animated movie.    To fast-forward to the Turtles, I had heard that James Avery was leaving for whatever reason and that they needed a relief-pitcher.    The Producers auditioned voice-actors who could match James Avery’s voice, and I guess that I fit the bill.

Susan Blue [Turtles Director] auditioned me for the job, and if I ever fell off–where I didn’t sound like James Avery as Shredder she’d stop me and I’d do a “pick-up line” later on.  I had a tape of James Avery’s lines that I had to listen to over-and-over before I started.   But there really wasn’t  a lot of vocal range in what James was doing for Shredder, so it really wasn’t that difficult to match him.    Shredder was kind of a one-note Charlie and there wasn’t always a lot of reflections in his voice, like a character such as ‘Krang’, for example–who was voiced by my friend Pat Fraley.

Q:   All these years later, are they and Turtles synopsis’ or story-lines from the episodes of Season 8 or 9 that stick out to you as memorable?

MARTIN:   You know, I liked them all.  The thing that sticks out now, all of these years later, really, is just the time I spent recording the episodes.    It’s great when you can stand around with all of these “wackos” and music stands making voices around each other.  It was a lot of fun.   Susan Blue, the director, always put me next to Pat Fraley while we were recording the episodes, and he was so much fun to work with.   I guess, Susan, was grouping us villains together during those sessions.

Q:  In recently comparing your voice as Shredder to that of James Avery–Avery’s Shredder always sounds fairly diabolical–meaning, that he really hates the Turtles and wants to be rid of them, whereas, your voicing of Shredder–he just sounds like a grumpy old-man who has realized that he can’t beat the Turtles no matter how hard he tries…

MARTIN: (Laughing) Right, it was like he was yelling at the Turtles to get off his lawn or something…(Laughing)

The Author

Justin Bozung

Justin Bozung

Justin Bozung is a film researcher/writer based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He has written for such print publications as Shock Cinema, Fangoria, Paracinema, Whoa, Bijou and Phantom Of The Movies' Videoscope.

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