I just learned from Mark Evanier’s daily must-read (news from me) that actor-voice specialist Dallas “Dal” McKennon has passed on at the age of 89—just shy of his 90th natal anniversary, which would have been this Sunday. Here’s an obit, but for some first-hand revelations about the man, you’ll want to read Mark’s piece and Jerry Beck’s tribute at Cartoon Brew.
I associated McKennon with doing voices for the various permutations of the Archie cartoon series (The Archie Show, The Archie Comedy Hour, Archie’s Fun House) but I learned he had a much wider range after reading Mark and Jerry’s posts. Dal not only voiced the characters of Wally Walrus and Buzz Buzzard in Walter Lantz’s Woody Woodpecker cartoons, but was responsible for the voice of Inspector Willoughby in another Lantz-produced series and “Paw” of Walter’s short-lived Maw and Paw cartoons (based, of course, on the characters of Ma and Pa Kettle). He was also Toughy in Disney’s Lady and the Tramp (1955), the talking unicorn in the Three Stooges feature film Have Rocket, Will Travel (1959), and provided the speaking tones of Q.T. Hush, Gumby and Pokey, Bucky and Pepito, and Courageous Cat and Minute Mouse for their respectively named cartoon series. What I was tickled to learn was that Dal created a crowing rooster that became the cartoon mascot for Kellogg’s Corn Flakes commercials—and in fact, he maintained that that same crow introduced The Huckleberry Hound Show each week during that series’ successful run on TV.
McKennon was also a first-rate character actor whose appearance naturally lent itself to playing old codgers on TV Westerns (he always reminded me of that great character actor, Emmett Lynn); among the boob tube oaters he guest-starred on were Gunsmoke, Wagon Train, Laramie, The Virginian and Lawman (just to name a few)—but his television epitaph remains that of his recurring role of “Cincinnatus,” the crusty old tavern-keeper on Daniel Boone (1964-70).
R.I.P, Dal. You’ll never know how much you’ll be missed.