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Daws Butler

Charles Dawson "Daws" Butler (November 16, 1916 – May 18, 1988 of age 71) was a voice actor originally from Toledo, Ohio. He worked mostly for the Hanna-Barbera Productions and originated the voices of many familiar animated cartoon characters, including Yogi Bear, Quick Draw McGraw, Snagglepuss, and Huckleberry Hound.

Early Life & Career

Daws Butler was born on November 16, 1916 in Toledo, Ohio, the only child of Ruth Butler and Charles Allen Butler. The family later moved from Ohio to Oak Park, Illinois, where Butler got interested in impersonating people.

In 1934, the future voice master started as an impressionist, entering multiple amateur contests and winning most of them. He had entered them, not with the intention of showing his talent but as a personal challenge to overcome his shyness. Nonetheless, Butler won professional engagements at vaudeville theaters. Later he teamed up with fellow performers, Jack Lavin and Willard Ovitz to form the comedy trio The Three Short Waves. The team played in theaters, radio and nightclubs, generating positive reviews from regional critics and audiences. They dissolved when in 1941, Daws Butler joined the U.S. Navy as America entered World War Two. Some time after, he met his wife Myrtis during a wartime function at North Carolina.

His first voice work for an animated character came in 1948 in the animated short Short Snorts on Sports, which was produced by Screen Gems. That same year at MGM, Tex Avery hired Butler to provide the voice of a British wolf on Little Rural Riding Hood and also narrate several of his cartoons. Throughout the decade, he had roles in many Avery-directed cartoons; The Fox in Out-Foxed, The Narrator in The Cuckoo Clock, The Cobbler in The Peachy Cobbler, Mr. Theeves in Droopy's "Double Trouble", Mysto the Magician in Magical Maestro, John the Cab and John the B-29 Bomber in One Cab's Family and Little Johnny Jet and Maxie in The Legend of Rockabye Point.

Starting with The Three Little Pups, Butler provided the voice for a nameless wolf that spoke in a Southern accent and whistled all the time. This character also appeared in Sheep Wrecked, Billy Boy and many more cartoons. While at MGM, Avery wanted Butler to try to do the voice of Droopy, at a time when Bill Thompson had been unavailable due to radio engagements. Instead Butler told Avery about Don Messick, another voice actor and Butler's lifelong friend, who could imitate Thompson. Thus Messick voiced Droopy on several shorts.

In 1949, Butler landed a role in a televised puppet show created by former Warner Bros. cartoon director Bob Clampett called Time for Beany. Butler was teamed up with Stan Freberg, and together they did all the voices of the puppets. Butler voiced Beany Boy and Captain Huffenpuff. Freberg voiced Cecil and Dishonest John. An entire stable of recurring characters were seen. The show's writers were Charles Shows and Lloyd Turner, whose dependably funny dialog was still always at the mercy of Butler's and Freberg's ad libs. Time for Beany ran from 1949 to 1954 and won several Emmy Awards. It was the basis for the cartoon Beany and Cecil.

Butler briefly turned his attention to TV commercials, although he quickly moved to providing the voice to many nameless Walter Lantz characters for theatrical shorts later seen on the Woody Woodpecker program. His notable character was the penguin "Chilly Willy" and his sidekick, the southern-speaking dog Smedley (the same voice used for Tex Avery's laid-back wolf character).

Also in the 1950s, Stan Freberg asked Butler to help him write comedy skits for his Capitol Records albums. Their first collaboration, "St. George and the Dragon-Net" (based on Dragnet), was the first comedy record to sell over one million copies. Freberg was more of a satirist who did song parodies, but the bulk of his "talking" routines were co-written by, and co-starred, Daws Butler. Butler also teamed up again with Freberg and cartoon actress June Foray in a CBS radio series, The Stan Freberg Show, which ran from July to October 1957 as a summer replacement for Jack Benny's program. Freberg's box-set, Tip of the Freberg (Rhino Entertainment, 1999) chronicles every aspect of Freberg's career except the cartoon voice-over work, and it showcases his career with Daws Butler.

In 1957, when MGM closed down their animation division, producers William Hanna and Joseph Barbera quickly formed their own company, and Daws Butler and Don Messick were on-hand to provide voices. The first, The Ruff & Reddy Show where Butler voiced Reddy, set the formula for the rest of the series of cartoons that the two would helm until the mid-1960s.

Later Life

Butler remained somewhat low-key in the 1970s and 1980s, until a 1985 revival of The Jetsons. Also in 1983, he voiced the title character, Wacky WallWalker in Deck the Halls with Wacky Walls. In 1975, Butler began an acting workshop that spawned such talents as Nancy Cartwright (The Simpsons), Corey Burton (Old Navy, Disney), and Joe Bevilacqua (NPR).

In the year of his death, "The Good, the Bad, and Huckleberry Hound" was released, a tour-de-force featuring most of his classic early characters.

Television Roles

The characters voiced by Butler from 1957 to 1978 included:

  • "Bring 'Em Back Alive" Clive
  • Aesop's Son (in the "Aesop and Son" segment of The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show)
  • Fibber Fox and Alfy Gator (of Yakky Doodle)
  • Ali Gator (in two Lantz theatrical shorts)
  • Augie Doggie
  • Baba Looey (from Quick Draw McGraw)
  • Barney Rubble (from The Flintstones) (1959–1961; The Flagstones pilot and season two episodes 1, 2, 5, 6, and 9 only)
  • Big Gruesome
  • Bingo (of Banana Splits)
  • Brutus the Lion (of The Roman Holidays)
  • Cap'n Crunch
  • Captain Skyhook (of The Space Kidettes)
  • Chilly Willy
  • Cogswell
  • Colonel Pot Shot
  • Dixie Mouse (of Pixie and Dixie)
  • Elroy Jetson
  • Fibber Fox (of Yakky Doodle)
  • Fred Flintstone (1959; The Flagstones pilot only)
  • Gabby Gator (of Woody Woodpecker)
  • Gelationous Giant from The Phantom Tollbooth
  • Gooney the "Gooney Bird" Albatross
  • Hair Bear (of Help!... It's the Hair Bear Bunch)
  • Henry Orbit
  • Hokey Wolf
  • Huckleberry Hound
  • Hustle (of The CB Bears)
  • Jonathan Wellington "Mudsy" Muddlemore (of The Funky Phantom)
  • Karlos K. Krinkelbein (from the 1971 animated TV special version of The Cat in the Hat)
  • Lambsy (of "It's the Wolf" on Cattanooga Cats)
  • Lippy the Lion
  • Loopy De Loop
  • Louie (from The Dogfather)
  • Maxie the Polar Bear
  • Mr. Jinks (of Pixie and Dixie)
  • Peter Perfect
  • Peter Potamus
  • Pug (from The Dogfather)
  • Quick Draw McGraw
  • Quisp
  • Raggedy Andy (in "The Great Santa Claus Caper (1978)")
  • Red Max
  • Reddy the dog (from The Ruff & Reddy Show)
  • Rock Slag
  • Rufus Ruffcut
  • Scooby-Dum
  • Senses Taker from The Phantom Tollbooth
  • Sgt. Blast
  • Smedley the dog (from the Chilly Willy cartoons)
  • Snagglepuss
  • Super Snooper and Blabber Mouse
  • Spike the Bulldog (of Spike and Tyke) (1949–1957)
  • Snoopy (of Peanuts) (1965–1971)
  • Stick and Duke (of Posse Impossible)
  • Undercover Elephant
  • Terrible Trivium from The Phantom Tollbooth
  • Whether Man from The Phantom Tollbooth
  • Wally Gator
  • Wolf (from the Droopy cartoons)
  • Yahooey (from Yippee, Yappee and Yahooey)
  • Yogi Bear

Animated films & theatrical shorts Roles

Year Title Roles Notes
1948 Short Snorts on Sports Screen Gems (Columbia) Theatrical short
Little Rural Riding Hood City Wolf MGM Theatrical short
1949 Out-Foxed Fox Droopy Theatrical short
Love That Pup Spike Tom and Jerry Theatrical short
Jerry's Diary "Uncle Dudley" Tom and Jerry Theatrical short
1950 Punchy de Leon Crow UPA Theatrical short
The Chump Champ Master of Ceremonies Droopy Theatrical short
The Peachy Cobbler Narrator/The Cobbler MGM Theatrical short
The Cuckoo Clock Narrator (The Cat) MGM Theatrical short
The Framed Cat Spike Tom and Jerry Theatrical short
1951 Daredevil Droopy The Great Barko Droopy Theatrical short
Jerry and the Goldfish Chef Francois Tom and Jerry Theatrical short
Sleepy-Time Tom Butch Tom and Jerry Theatrical short
Slicked-Up Pup Spike Tom and Jerry Theatrical short
Droopy's "Double Trouble" Mr. Theeves Droopy Theatrical short
1952 Gift Wrapped Narrator Sylvester and Tweety Theatrical short
Magical Maestro Mysto the Magician MGM Theatrical short
One Cab's Family John the Cab/Doctor MGM Theatrical short
Rock-a-Bye Bear Dog Pound Proprietor/Joe Bear MGM Theatrical short
A Case for Hypnosis Doctor Twiddle
Fit to Be Tied Spike Tom and Jery short
The Dog House Spike Tom and Jerry Theatrical short
1953 That's My Pup! Spike Tom and Jerry Theatrical short
Little Johnny Jet John the Bomber MGM Theatrical short
The Three Pups Wolf Droopy Theatrical short
Chilly Willy Chilly Willy Walter Lantz Theatrical short
Life with Tom Radio announcer Tom and Jerry Theatrical short
1954 Crazy Mixed-Up Pup Samuel/The Dog/Milkman Theatrical short
Drag-A-Long Droopy Wolf Rancher/The Bull Droopy Theatrical short
Billy Boy Wolf MGM Theatrical short
Under the Counter Spy Hammerer Woody Woodpecker Theatrical short
Hic-cup Pup Spike Tom and Jerry Theatrical short
Pet Peeve Tom and Spike's Owner Tom and Jerry Theatrical short
The Flea Circus Pepito MGM Theatrical short
Convict Concerto Police Officer Woody Woodpecker Theatrical short
I'm Cold Smedley Chilly Willy Theatrical short
Farm of Tomorrow MGM Theatrical short
1955 The Legend of Rockabye Point Maxie the Polar Bear Walter Lantz Theatrical short
Pecos Pest Announcer Tom and Jerry Theatrical short
Deputy Droopy Sheriff/Thief Droopy Theatrical short
Hot and Cold Penguin Smedley Chilly Willy Theatrical short
Heir-Conditioned Cat Sylvester and Tweety Theatrical short
The Tree Medic Tree Surgeon Walter Lantz Theatrical short
Sh-h-h-h-h-h Mr. Twiddle/Doctor/Hotel Manager Walter Lantz Theatrical short
Pup on a Picnic Spike Tom and Jerry Theatrical short
Smarty Cat Butch Tom and Jerry Theatrical short
1956 Down Beat Bear Radio announcer Tom and Jerry Theatrical short
Weasel Stop' Dog Looney Tunes Theatrical short
Barbary Coast Bunny Nasty Canasta Looney Tunes Theatrical short
Wideo Wabbit Bugs Bunny doing Groucho Marx/Bugs Bunny doing Ed Norton Looney Tunes Theatrical short
Yankee Dood It Shoemaker Looney Tunes Theatrical short
Rocket-bye Baby Narrator/Joseph Wilbur Merrie Melodies Theatrical short
Barbecue Brawl Spike Tom and Jerry Theatrical short
Stupor Duck Narrator/Newspaper editor/Mountain climber 2 Daffy Duck Theatrical short
Magoo's Puddle Jumper Waldo Mr. Magoo Theatrical short
After the Ball Lumberjack Bear Woody Woodpecker short
Woody Meets Davy Crewcut Davy Crewcut Woody Woodpecker short
The Ostrich Egg and I Sam Walter Lantz short
Operation Cold Feet Smedley Chilly Willy short
Hold That Rock Smedley Chilly Willy short
Half-Fare Hare Ralph Kramden/Ed Norton Bugs Bunny short
The Honey-Mousers Ralph Krumden/Ned Morton Looney Tunes short
Raw! Raw! Rooster! Rhode Island Red Looney Tunes short
1957 Tops with Pops Spike Tom and Jerry Theatrical short
Tom's Photo Finish Tom's Owner/Spike Tom and Jerry short
Give and Tyke Spike/Stray Dog/Dog Catcher Spike and Tyke short
Scat Cats Spike/Spike and Tyke's Owner/Cat Spike and Tyke short
Blackboard Jumble Wolf Droopy short
Drafty, Isn't? Narrator/Ralph Phillips
Mucho Mouse Spanish Cat Tom and jerry short
Go Fly a Kit Counter Man Looney Tunes short
International Woodpecker George Washington Woody Woodpecker short
The Unbearable Salesman Bear Woody Woodpecker short
Cheese It, the Cat! Ralph Krumden/Ned Morton Looney Tunes short
Fodder and Son Windy and Breezy Walter Lantz short
1958 Mutts About Racing Announcer Droopy short
Sheep Wrecked Wolf
Everglade Raid Al I. Gator Woody Woodpecker short
Watch the Birdie Birdwatcher Woody Woodpecker short
Tree's a Crowd Colonel Munch Woody Woodpecker short
A Bird in a Bonnet Sewer Worker Looney Tunes short
A Chilly Reception Chilly Willy Chilly Willy short
Polar Pest Chilly Willy Chilly Willy short
Little TeleVillain Smedley/Mr. Stoop/Car Salesman Chilly Willy short
A Waggily Tale Junior/Elvis/Dad/Johnny/Melvin Looney Tunes short
1959 Truant Student Windy/Breezy/Truant Officer Willoughby Walter Lantz short
The Alphabet Conspiracy Jabberwock TV movie
Robinson Gruesome Narrator/Robinson Gruesome/Ape Walter Lantz short
Trick or Tweet Sam Sylvester and Tweety short
Yukon Have It Smedley/Caribou Lou Chilly Willy short
Merry Minstrel Magoo Waldo/Dentist UPA short
Here Today, Gone Tamale Mice Looney Tunes short
Romp in a Swamp Al I. Gator Woody Woodpecker short
Loopy De Loop Loopy De Loop 48 Theatrical shorts
1964 Mary Poppins Turtle/Penguin His only work for Disney
Hey There, It's Yogi Bear Yogi Bear Hanna Barbera's first Animated feature film
1970 The Phantom Tollbooth The Whether Man Animated feature film
1987 The Jetsons Meet the Flintstones Elroy Jetson/Henry Orbit/Cogswell Animated feature film

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