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Ernest Borgnine may be heard one more time in Tom Hignite's "Miracle Mouse" movie

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Ernest Borgnine may be heard one more time in Tom Hignite's "Miracle Mouse" movie

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Hollywood is mourning the loss today of Ernest Borgnine, that stocky, gap-toothed Academy Award-winner who made us cry with his heartfelt portrayal  of a lonely butcher from the Bronx in Paddy Chayefsky's 1955 drama, "Marty." Not to mention making us laugh when he played that lovable rogue Quentin McHale on the popular 1960s sitcom, "McHale's Navy."

And while we may have seen the last of this 95 year-old performer (who passed away yesterday at Cedar-Sinai Medical Center due to apparent kidney failure) ... Well, if Tom Hignite has his way, Borgnine will be heard from once more as part of a brand-new animated feature that Miracle Studios currently has in the works.

Just two months ago, Hignite traveled out to Hollywood to supervise a "Miracle Mouse" recording session. In a recent posting over on Animation Nation, Tom recalled how Ernest ...

Copyright Tom Hignite's Miracle Studios. All rights reserved

... showed-up EARLY by about 15 minutes. He did not argue or have any sort of an attitude whatsoever. He did not demand any special treatment or certain goodies be present at the session.

(In his role as Cranky Crane) the main antagonist-tuned-protagonist (of the "Miracle Mouse" project, Borgnine had dialogue) on most of our 97 page script. It took him only about 2 hours to do all of his lines and many of his lines were read in a manner that was better than we might have envisioned the lines being read. He was gentleman enough to allow us to do a short video interview afterwards(perhaps to be released on the DVD edition some day), and he even signed 20 posters over his character's image just before departing.

Given his work on the "All Dogs Go to Heaven" films as well as the "SpongeBob SquarePants" animated television series, Borgnine was obviously already a pro when it came to doing voiceovers. But even so, Tom was struck by the amount of thought & advance preparation Ernest had put into this role. How -- when Borgnine arrived at the recording studio -- he ...

Copyright Viacom. All rights reserved

... first wanted to sit down and discuss some special ideas he had envisioned for (this) character. Since his Cranky Crane character was a crane(the bird kind, not the machine type) he suggested we try to use a mix of his voice and an actual cranes noise when he says his catchline "Humpth!"

His speaking was as down to earth as if he was an unaccomplished no-name blue-collar factory worker. When anyone tried to tell him what a living legend he is, he dismissed it with a smile and moved onto other subjects.

If you'd like to learn a bit more about what may well be Ernest Borgnine's last professional performance, why not head on over to the Tom Hignite's Miracle Studios website and then check out "The Many Stories of Miracle Mouse" sizzle reel. Where you can then learn more about this Cranky the Crane character which Borgnine had been recording the voice for.

Copyright Tom Hignite's Miracle Studios. All rights reserved

Of course, now the big question is: Did Tom get everything that he needed from Ernest in order to complete this character? Given that Hignite was supposed to be heading back out to Hollywood in the coming weeks to do another recording session with Borgnine to do pick-up lines for "The Many Stories of Miracle Mouse," I'm thinking not. So now it's really a question as to whether Miracle Studios will hire a Ernest Borgnine soundalike to record those few missing pieces of dialogue or opt instead to junk the tracks that they have and just hire another actor to now provide Cranky Crane's voice.

Which I know sounds kind of excessive. But just remember that Chris Farley had reportedly recorded 90% of the dialogue that DreamWorks Animation needed for "Shrek" when that Saturday Night Live star died of a drug overdose in December of 1997. And even though DWA had most of what they needed to complete that animated feature (and reportedly even talked about bringing in Chris' brother Kevin Farley to record Shrek's last few remaining pieces of dialogue), DreamWorks Animation eventually tossed all of those tracks and then brought in Mike Myers to re-record all of Shrek's dialogue for that film.

Well, here's hoping that Miracle Studios opts not to do that. Because it would be great to get the chance to hear Ernest Borgnine one more time. Even if this Academy Award-winner is voicing a cartoon crane who just wants to be left alone.

Your thoughts?

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  • RIP Ernie. God Bless You, we'll truly miss you. One of the good guys.

  • hope they keep the ttracks of what Ernest did and if nothing else have some impersonator come in and finish for that would be a nice tribute to a now departed legend like Ernest. his fans being able to see his final film. and hear his voice one last time.

  • Dear Jim,

       Thank you for the article. It is a sad day for us here in WIsconsin  and all around the World for those who appreciated Ernest's  extensive body of work. To  answer your question, no, we have no intention of replacing Ernest Borgnine's voice-over work as our star, Cranky Crane. His acting was superb and our studio now sees this as the final salute to an acting legend. Ernest's "swan song" of sorts.

        Yes, we do have some bits of dialog which will need to be gently pieced together and re-edited to work. We will likely need to use an actor voice-alike to add a few critcal pieces of needed dialog but we are now re-imagining how we might use pantomime or another such story device to carry the message we are trying to acheive.

        Ernest gave us a small opportunity to do a short clip or two about his life as a legend. I asked him a few off-camera questions while he was standing alongside his Miracle Mouse co-star Jeannie Elias. If you would like, I can send you the clips, Jim, and you can post them.The mass media has been after these all day today and we are just getting them downloaded off of our tapeless camera which was out on a shoot. Timing is everything

        I know Ernest wanted this production to be "seen" as he chose US only after he read and re-read the script . He  saw it as a good moral message hidden quietly amongst the outward entertainment of the film.

        We are still looking for an investor to come alongside this film and in a way, Ernest's passing has given our quiet little production a bigger voice.  Even so,I would gladly trade this fleeting notariety for the chance to see Ernest   , being  here to enjoy the finished film that he showed such confidence in making.   A sad day indeed here at Miracle.


        Tom Hignite

  • Borgnine has an unreleased live-action film also still to come out.

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