Review: ‘Bumblebee and Me’ by Dan Gilvezan

{mosimage} The was fortunate enough to receive a review copy of Dan Gilvezan's Bumblebee and Me: Life as a G1 Transformer book. Bringing Dan's memories alive for the reader, the book summarizes the voice actor's experiences with the Transformers brand during the 1980's as well as how he landed the job and his everlasting affection for the little yellow robot named Bumblebee.

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Bumblebee and Me: Life as a G1 Transformer
Dan Gilvezan

 Without fail, most voice actors who visit conventions and other fan gatherings are asked the same questions over and over. “How did you get into voice over work?” “How did you get the job as [insert cartoon character]?” “Did you think that [insert cartoon] would be such a hit?” “What advice do you have for someone trying to get into the business?”

These are the questions Dan Gilvezan had in mind when he began to write Bumblebee and Me. The book is his attempt to finally answer them all outside the limited confines of a cramped convention hall. (Although make no mistake, he’s still going to be asked the same questions at his next appearance anyway!)

For those that have attended every convention panel with every Transformers Generation 1 voice actor, some of the information may seem like a rehash to you. For those that haven’t, the anecdotes provided will have you in stitches! Even those that have heard these stories before, sometimes it’s not the content itself, but how it’s presented. The way Dan recounts his time in the mid 80’s inside the recording booth, it’s almost as though you are there with him and his fellow cast mates. It’s impossible to read the stories about the voice over goofs and their antics without a smile spreading across your face. From Frank Welker’s pranks, to smoking trash cans, to giant spiders set loose on unsuspecting actors, Dan’s memories from that over-heated, oxygen-deprived recording room are a riot!

The book also provides a look at the actors’ point of view when the original Transformers cartoon began to wind down. For fans, the 1986 Transformers: The Movie and season 3 creates a very noticeable divide. How does Dan remember those particular aspects of the brand’s fiction? The glaring lack of Bumblebee might be a hint. Although not bitter, he doesn’t mince words when it comes to his opinions. Whether it be the confused and crowded pace and plot of the movie or Bumblebee’s name change in “The Return of Optimus Prime”, Dan expresses his feelings quite clearly.

The prose ends with a discussion about the fans and their gatherings as a way to reflect on Dan’s entire history of the brand. In his words:

But no matter what the future may bring I feel fortunate to have been a part of something that has touched so many people in such a positive way. To have experienced the fun and excitement of creating something that’s still appreciated and enjoyed by audiences to this very day. No matter how many new versions of the Transformers may come along, and I’m sure there will be many, those of us who were there at the beginning will always have the satisfaction of knowing that we were the first. That we were present at the birth of something extraordinary.

Also included in the book are a full cast list of the G1 series, an episode guide, photographs of the cast in the sound room and the building in which Wally Burr Recording was once housed, samples of an episode’s script and other documents, and enough images of Bumblebee toys, artwork and fan art to get any Bumblebee fan excited!

For any Transformers fan, casual or hardcore, this book is a must. It has the right ingredients of humor,  insight and information that makes for an extremely enjoyable read. Dan Gilvezan’s writing style breathes substance into his memories about the creation of a cartoon classic an d brings every remembrance to life for the reader.  This book is highly recommended (and would make a great holiday gift for any fan)!

Click here to see the Bumblebee and Me page on