February 05, 2020

SATURDAY MORNING MASTERS: ALLEN SWIFT


ALLEN SWIFT
(January 16, 1924-April 18, 2010)

Notable Roles: Howdy Doody, Phineas T. Bluster, Dilly Tally, Inspector John J. Fadoozle, Fubadub, Mighty Mouse, Odie O. Colognie, Itchy Brother, Tooter Turtle, Simon Bar-Sinister, Riff Raff, Electric Eel

Born Ira Stadlin, Swift began as a comedy performer in nightclubs that took the liberty of giving him a new stage name as they didn’t like the sound of his own. Swift decided to come up with his own and created it from a combination of his father’s favorite humorist, Jonathan Swift, and his own, Fred Allen. As his career took off, his agent, Lew Grade, got him an audition for The Howdy Doody Show to replace all of the actors that had walked off over a salary dispute. The show had given up trying to find suitable sound-alikes and were settled on just getting all-new voices when Swift surprised them with his ability of mimicry and impressions (skills he was told would hinder his career). He became the new voice for most of the puppet characters, including Howdy himself, as well as one of the show’s writers. He was also one of the actors to portray Mighty Mouse and various other characters for Terrytoons. In 1956, he became a children’s show host himself as “Captain Allen” Swift on The Popeye Show, which showcased classic Popeye cartoons. His run on the show ended in 1960 due to creative differences, as did The Howdy Doody Show due to declining ratings. Swift moved on to several shows and shorts, including most of Total TeleVision’s output beginning with King Leonardo and His Short Subjects and Gene Dietch’s group of Tom and Jerry cartoons, as well as some Broadway plays. Swift took part in a number of advertising campaigns including voicing Frito Bandito for Fritos Corn Chips, a talking drain for Drano, and Captain Cupcake for Hostess. His impersonation skills came in handy once again as Archie Bunker and Adolf Hitler in MAD Magazine’s vinyl recording of “Gall in the Family Fare”.  Swift’s last credited work was providing his voice to various episodes of Cartoon Network’s Courage the Cowardly Dog. Swift died in 2010 after a several year bout with various health issues.

Saturday Credits:
The Howdy Doody Show
Mighty Mouse Playhouse
King Leonardo and His Short Subjects
Tennessee Tuxedo and his Tales
Underdog
The Beagles
The ABC Saturday Superstar Movie
Sesame Street

No comments:

Post a Comment