frackman33.jpg frackman33.jpg

Terrytoon voice actress, Jo Miller

Dayton Allen, Tom Morrison, Lionel Wilson, Doug Moye, Allen Swift… these are a few of the performers known to voice characters in Terrytoons. Now add Jo Miller to the list of those who lent their talents, anonymously, behind the mike for producer Paul Terry.

Through my Cartoon Research website, I was recently contacted by a woman, Debbi Rigdon, who wanted information on an obscure one-shot Terrytoon, A Wolf’s Tale (1944). Upon inquiring why, Ms. Rigdon replied, as follows:


My grandmother’s name was Jo Miller Frackman (Stage name Jo Miller) and in A Wolf’s Tale, she did the voices of Little Red Riding Hood and the (Mae West style) Granny. My mother was hoping to get the cartoon while my grandmother was still alive (she suffered from Alzheimer’s the last 9 years of her life) but got it shortly after her passing.

I’m attaching a picture of my grandmother from around 1940. Living in New Rochelle, Grandmother was the client of furrier, Paul Terry, who asked her to do the voices for his cartoon project. As far as we know, it was her only one. My mother told me how exciting it was when the family went to the theater to see the cartoon premiere and she was allowed to stay up, LOL! My grandmother was also a comedienne and came in 2nd place the contest auditions for the voice of Betty Boop, when she was 17.

Paul Terry, a furrier? What’s that about?

From what I understand, Mr. Terry was a furrier and my grandparents were both friends and clients. My grandfather was a prominent Jeweler in New York and, as was common with the times, discouraged my grandmother’s career after they married. So aside from performing for some troops and doing a few vaudeville acts, there were few achievements later. She passed away January 1999 at the age of 94.

So now we know. Thanks to Ms. Rigdon (and the internet) we have another piece of the giant jigsaw puzzle of researching animation history. A Wolf’s Tale was a color remake of a black and white 1938 Terrytoon The Wolf’s Side Of The Story, which featured a different actress doing the voices. Below is an excerpt from the 1944 remake featuring Ms. Frackman’s performance:

  • Christopher Cook

    Been a long time since I’ve seen that cartoon, and what struck the old memory chord was the scene of the wolf about to bite grandma’s arm and then kissing it. It was a funny scene when I saw it as a kid and it hit me as funny today.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, Jerry, but didn’t Terrytoons cartoons start crediting voices on screen after Bill Weiss took over? I have a DVD with some Tom Terrific episodes and one story–“Sweet Tooth Sam, The Candy Bandit”–has credit footage at the end with Lionel Wilson listed under voices.

  • Now if I could just find out more about Fleischer voice Gus Wickie and anything about William Pennell, I’d be a happy camper.

  • I always thought that cartoon was just a rip-off of Warner Bros’ far funnier “Trial of Mr. Wolf”. I guess it’s got some history. It would be interesting to see the original.

  • Heh, not bad for a first time! Thanks for sharing this information, Jerry.

  • Adolph Zuker was the furrier, not Paul Terry. Terry was originally a newspaper cartoonist in San Francisco, and came into the animation field in the mid 1910s starting at the Bray Studio in 1916 and leaving in 1917 to form the Fables Studio.

  • SAM33

    I have a very nice 16mm print of this which we showed a the CINEVENT convention last May. It was very well received, one person commenting “They actually found a funny Terrytoon!”

    Nice to know some more about it!

  • Ehy Jerry,
    which characters were voiced by the performers you mentioned at the beginning of this post?

  • yvette kaplan

    Bravo Jo! And bravo Jerry! I really enjoyed that little slice of animation life and the lives it touched–including ours. Thank you Debbi. : )

  • Duck Dodgers – Dayton Allen (Heckle & Jeckle), Tom Morrison (Mighty Mouse), Lionel Wilson (Tom Teriffic, Sidney), Doug Moye (Papa Terry Bear), Allen Swift (Clint Clobber, Gaston)… not to mention Arthur Kay (Gandy Goose), Roy Halee (later Heckle & Jeckle)…

  • Nic Kramer

    Dayton Allen also voice Deputy Dawg.

  • Thanks a lot, Jerry!
    Do you also happen to know who made the Jimmy Durante impressions for Sourpuss too?

  • Bryan

    “Thanks a lot, Jerry!
    Do you also happen to know who made the Jimmy Durante impressions for Sourpuss too?”

    Ned Sparks? ;-}

  • Jeffrey Gray

    I just wish we knew the identity of the soprano who did Pearl Pureheart and any of the other Mighty Mouse damsels who sang. That voice is so iconic, but I haven’t heard of anyone matching a name to it…