News New York Times Interviews 1st Speed Racer Voice Actor
posted on 2008-05-15 10:23 EDT
Despite the disappointing box office take of the Wachowski Brothers' live-action Speed Racer movie, its release has resulted in a burst of interest in the original 1966-1967 Speed Racer anime series. The New York Times recently profiled voice actor Peter Fernandez, who played Speed Racer and Racer X in the English dub of Mach Go Go Go.
Fernandez, now 81, entered the voice-over industry after acting in 1930s radio dramas, serving in the United States Army during World War II, and writing short stories for pulp magazines. His first anime job was creating the scripts for the English-language dubs of Astro Boy (Mighty Atom), a job for which he was paid US$100 an episode. When he moved on to write the scripts and direct the dubbing of Speed Racer, the voiceover budget for each episode was only enough to hire three actors, at US$125 per episode each. Because of this constraint, Fernandez voiced both Speed and the enigmatic character "Racer X" (whose name Fernandez came up with himself) and hired friends for other roles.
Since then, he has gone on to direct the dubs of numerous live-action features and animated series. He also did voices in Gigantor, the English adaptation of the Iron Man 28 anime. Despite his age, Fernandez is still acting, with his latest role being the voice of the now-adult sidekick character Spritle in Nicktoons' Speed Racer: The Next Generation television series. He also has a cameo as a race-track announcer in the Wachowskis' movie.