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Smarter than the Average Bear

Published: 11/16/2012
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Daws Butler in 1976 (Wikimedia Commons/Alan Light)

Legendary voice actor Daws Butler would have celebrated his 96th birthday today. In his honor, we're taking a look at some of his greatest hits… so grab your pic-a-nic basket and let’s go-go-go!

A whole lot of childhood memories feature Daws Butler. Even if you don't know his name, we bet you'll know his work. As one of the great voice actors of classic cartoons, he gave life to some of our very favorite animated characters. Before cartoons became the staple of children's TV that they now are, puppet shows had their day. Butler was in on the trend early, providing half the voices for Time for Beany beginning in 1949 – Stan Freberg took the other half. The puppet show later became the basis for the legendary short-lived cartoon Beany and Cecil. Though Butler and Freberg didn't reprise their roles on the cartoon, we can hear them on recordings of the live puppet show – Butler as Beany and Horatio Huffenpuff, and Freberg as Cecil the Seasick Sea Serpent and Dishonest John.






After Time for Beany ended in 1954, Daws Butler continued working with Stan Freberg, co-writing and costarring in comedy albums like St. George and the Dragonet.





When William Hanna and Joseph Barbera set up shop in 1957, they asked Butler to provide voices for some of their characters. It was the beginning of a classic era of cartoons, and Butler was at the forefront with characters like Yogi Bear…





Chilly Willy, and his sidekick Smedley…





Quick Draw McGraw…






And (Heavens to Murgatroyd!) dozens more of the best cartoon characters of the 1950s, '60s and '70s. Our TV memories wouldn't be the same without Daws Butler.

Written by Linnea Crowther



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