Dallas McKennon 1919-2009

Just got word that Dallas McKennon passed away this morning. Sunday would’ve been his 90th birthday.

Dal was a prolific voice in animation, and you’ve heard him as the voice of Gumby, Archie, Buzz Buzzard, Ben Franklin at Epcot, the fox in Mary Poppins, and in numerous Sam Singer cartoons. He was an actor in many live action movies for Disney, Alfred Hitchcock, George Pal, and Anthony Mann, but was probably best known to people the real world as a regular on the TV series Daniel Boone, playing Cinncinatus the storekeeper.

I had the pleasure of meeting Dal nine years ago and hanging out with him during one of his visits to L.A. (photo above is of me, Dal, Will Ryan and Chuck McCann, July 3rd, 2000, having lunch at the Sportsman’s Lodge) and found him to be a wonderful person. My favorite role of his was as the old sea captain, polar bear and bulldog in Tex Avery’s The Legend of Rock-A-Bye Point. So in tribute… “Sing it again for me, will ya, Charlie…”

(Thanks, Gene Hamm)

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  • Bruno Bolisarte

    Don’t forget my favorite Dal line:

    “Hold on to our hats and glasses, ‘cuz this here’s the wildest ride in the wilderness!”

    …from Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. He was also the voice of the ride before Big Thunder got built, the Rainbow Caverns Mine Train through Nature’s Wonderland.

  • http://goldenagecartoons.com Matthew Hunter

    McKennon was a voice in Disney’s Lady and the Tramp, but he wasn’t the beaver. That was actually Stan Freberg. McKennon voiced one of the dogs in the dog pound scene.

  • http://www.itsthecat.com Mark Kausler

    Stan Freberg did the voice of the beaver in “Lady and the Tramp”, I don’t think that Dal McKennon voiced that character.

  • http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3125612 Edward R. Cox

    Thank you Dal, for all the voices and the love of the craft!
    You will be missed, but your voice is never silenced thanks to the myriad filmworks that you leave us all to cherish.
    Rest well and happy.

  • http://tomboycomics.blogspot.com emily

    Oh, wow. I had no idea he did all those voices! What a great guy. My condolences to his family.

  • Jim Engel

    I always enjoyed Dal McKennon’s work, and I love Gumby…this is too bad…

    (Wasn’t Stan Freberg the beaver in “Lady & The Tramp”?)

  • http://www.cartoonresearch.com Jerry Beck

    Mark, Jim and Matthew… thanks for spotting that boo-boo. I wrote that in haste and have removed it from the above.

  • http://theanimationinquirer.blogspot.com/ Richard

    He also did Jerry Mouse’s high-pitched singing in Chuck Jones’ “Cat and Dupli-Cat” (1966)!

  • sporridge

    The first time I’ve seen a name associated with the voices — good rest, Dallas.

    Jerry, thanks for refreshing the memory on “The Legend of Rockabye Point.” Doesn’t matter if I’ve seen the gag dozens of times, the desperate dash out the door in order to prevent noisemaking (or sneezing) near the anger-prone still cracks me up.

  • Chris

    When I was young, Dallas McKennon would regularly visit the old “Ramblin’ Rod” cartoon show on KPTV 12 (now FOX 12 Oregon) in Portland, OR.

    Dallas would appear as his character, Cincinattus, from “Daniel Boone” and tell stories, do impressions, help introduce cartoons, etc. Also, Dal would talk to the kids as well as with the host, the late “Ramblin’ Rod” Anders. He sometimes would perform his famous voice of Archie, which he also did for years on Filmation’s various “Archie” series which followed “Ramblin’ Rod” for many years on KPTV. It looked like he really had fun on the show.

    Dallas, I hope “Ramblin’ Rod” meets you with his boat when you get to heaven. R.I.P.

  • http://threestooges.net Brent Seguine

    Dal McKennon “appeared” in a Three Stooges film, as the voice of the Venusian unicorn in HAVE ROCKET WILL TRAVEL (1959).

  • http://www.brucelaing.com Bruce Laing

    What a shock.

    My condolonces to Dal’s family

    He will sorely be missed :(

  • Peter McKennon

    Thanks Gene for posting this.
    I’m glad you were a part of my grandfather’s life.
    I hope I’ll be able to continue his legacy in my own way.

  • Thad

    Tis sad! He was a riot to talk with.

  • Chris Benham

    Dallas was a friend of my father’s for many years, and tried to get him to go to LA and break into the biz back in the 70′s. I met him multiple times when I was a kid, and I never knew that he was as accomplished or as subtly famous as he was. I just knew him as this old guy who did lots of funny voices. That was part of his charm.

    My thoughts go to his family. He will be missed . . .

  • Melissa Van Patten

    I met Dallas about 10 years ago. I went and helped him type up some of his new short stories. He never wanted to rest but wanted to keep writing. I am lucky to have a signed Gumby. I am positive he did the beavers voice in Lady in the Tramp because he gave me a small show and told me so. Dallas was amazing and I enjoyed going to his home at times. He showed me the script of, “The Birds” as he was the tall chef in the small restaurant. I will always remember what he shared with me and think of him.

    My condolences to the family and god bless this amazing man.

  • Karl Wilcox

    Dallas will be missed by his many fans (of which I am one). He was
    great as Cincinattus on DANIEL BOONE and, of course, in all of his
    many voiceover roles.

  • http://www.orphantoons.wordpress.com Kevin Wollenweber

    Among other things, I’ll always recall Dallas McKennon as the voice of Professor Noodlestroodle, showing up at Courageous Cat’s door with “der Sniffer Machine”, nothing more than a nose attached to a suitcase. At one point, he seemed to take over complete voice duties for the series, although I’m sure that there was one other voice involved that I am unaware of, and he was part of the best of the earliest GUMBY adventures beyond the “surreal” earliest episodes. May the memory of his work never rest. We now need so much to see it widely circulated!!

  • http://www.orphantoons.wordpress.com Kevin Wollenweber

    Oops, and how can I have forgotten a now very rare bit of animation that Dal McKennon was doing almost all the major voices for: “Q. T. HUSH”. I fondly remember this series, especially since it seems to almost have a soundtrack that would neatly segue it to the classic MGM cartoon, “WHO KILLED WHO”. Some of the best voice-over work can sometimes be found in some of the cheapest cartoons; it nearly saves something as otherwise insignificant as “SPUNKY and TADPOLE”, but I’m sure that “Q. T. HUSH” is a cut above that!! I hope that company owning the source material can be easily goaded into issuing a complete series set someday!!

  • LONNIE HICKS

    Dal also provided the voice of “Benjamin Franklin” in the American Adventure show at Epcot in Walt Disney World Florida. As a Cast Member at that pavilion, I met him when he came to visit several years ago. He had never seen the show because after he completed the recordings for the production, he became to involved with the “Daniel Boone” TV series to travel to Florida. He cried after seeing the show for the first time, and I had the priviledge of introducing him to the audience in attendance. In the summer of 2007 when the attraction was updated, the original show director [Rick Rothchild] told me that whereas the voice of co-host Mark Twain [character actor John Anderson] did a fine job, Dal actually “became” Ben Franklin in his portrayal of the historic figure. Beyond Dal’s many cartoon creations, he will continue to be heard daily speaking and chuckling as Benjamin Franklin, our USA fore-father host of WDW’s American Adventure. May God bless the dear man!

    • Pattie Devlin

      I was there at the American Adventure in the audience when Dallas was there to hear his voice. I remember his introduction and clapping at the end. Later that afternoon, when we returned to All Stars Music where we were staying, I remember we were leaving our room when I looked down, and there was Dallas! The first words out of my mouth were “Ben Franklin!”. He was so glad someone recognized him – he was lost, trying to find the cafeteria. I was honestly surprised Disney didn’t do better by having him stay at a more upgraded hotel, closer to dining and transportation. That evening, as we were heading to the cafeteria anyway, we told him we were going there and we wound up having dinner with him there. He had wonderful stories, was very interested in my son who has a disability, told his of his work for the blind, how he knew Walt, the characters he voiced – amazing. I’ll never forget it. We did make sure he found his room that night. What a wonderful guy! My son, 9 years later, is going to Disney with his senior class and today remembered that night. He will be sadly missed.

  • Kevin Butler

    I interviewed Dal back in January of 2001 and we became friends.

    He was very helpful and kind to a young writer..and I will miss

    him.

    (Crying)..Goodbye Dal.

  • V.E.G.

    God bless Dallas McKennon and his family. He is with the Lord.

  • http://www.ciitzensphoto.com Bill Potter

    Dallas heritage lives on in his family, son Jerry does a better Donald Duck than his dad. Knowing Dallas was an adventure, in knowing him you always received more than you gave. See you sometime soon,
    Bill Potter

  • Delbert L. Wertz

    One of the first times I saw Dallas McKennon was on Daniel Boone, I enjoyed watching him and listening to his voice. On the Scooby Doo cartoons, I remember a character called The Miner Forty-Niner, I was wondering if he did that voice also. He will be missed, God Bless you and your family.

  • Steve W. M

    Wow! Really gone? He worked with Red Skelton. Friends with both the Walts. Disney and Lantz. He developed the first kid show to take his space-hoppers to other planets. Others then copied it on the east coast. He was a father to 8 kids. He wrote over 300 original songs from every thing of the frontier nature, folklore and even many jingles and 3 musicals. He found out at young age of 15 he could do a truckload of voices to even fool his own client. His heart was to give his God given talents to others and created a voice school, calling it the “Vox Box”. He wanted to other musicians succeed and dragged his recorder to far away spots. He found a kool pass time with Elvis Presley and exchanged dog barks during breaks. He had the capacity to work with the greats, but was humble enough to visit the special kids in hospitals. His dream was the brother and sisterhood of all people, like in his song, “there’s a welcome mat in fron of every door”! It’s going to to take years unravel years of media of tapes and movies he has done over some 60 years of his life. His son …We’re all still learning of what he’s done…Now at peace in a better eternal home. Probably still writing more shows. See some that he has done at imdb.com

  • Sean Sudol

    Oh man what a drag. I admit I was not familiar with the wide influence Dal had outside of Archie but with his talent I am not surprised. I know that Dick “Speedy Alka-Seltzer” Beals had done Gumby for a while based on YouTube recordings but I had no idea who took over. So many characters, too much to remember for a small brain like mine. LOL when I first saw a picture I was so surprised at what he looked like because – for the longest time I began to believe that he looked like Archie. Maybe a little older. And he passes away on my birthday. I miss him already.
    That’s why I didn’t know until now. Morbid me, I read the daily celebrity obituaries coming over the internet and must have ignored that day’s listings. Not the weekly “roundup”.
    Rest in peace. In my early years you became like a friend – one I never forgot.

  • http://www.mortimore.com Dan & Jolene Mortimore

    Shortly after we were married, and spent our honeymoon in Cannon Beach, Oregon, we met Dallas McKennon at the CB Conference Center. At the time, I was working my first broadcast job at KPTV in Portland, as a studio floor director. We became friends. Through the years that I knew Dallas, he was always encouraging me in my career, and he always had amazing ideas. One stormy day, he and his wonderful wife invited us to their cozy home, which overlooked “Haystack Rock”. With the fireplace crackling, I was inspired by his home recording studio, along with his amazing talent. He loved sharing what he had. I was always thankful that we crossed paths. On October 22, 2009, our family will celebrate our 23rd year in business. I’ve had a wonderful career producing, directing and operating an audio and video production business in Spokane, Washington. Our first little daughter, Angela, who was 3 years old at the time, still remembers Dallas doing “Archie”, and several other familiar characters, in front of her! She is 33 now, and is our company’s vice president/marketing director. Angela produces, directs, and does voice overs for local and regional commercial clients. Dallas left an incredible mark on our lives, not just because of his talent, but because of his kindness and love for other people. Our family has a special place in our hearts for Mr. & Mrs. McKennon.
    Reading the kind words from others on this site, I think it’s obvious that his life made a difference. We believe that he is in Heaven with God, and many others who love our Savior, Jesus. We truly honor his memory, and his family. Thank you, Dallas.

    Dan, Jolene, & Angela Mortimore (Angela Downey)
    Spokane, WA

  • http://aardvarksplumbline.blogspot.com/ Weatherly Hardy

    What a wonderful talent. He did some great work in Will Vinton’s “Adventures of Mark Twain”. A few background voices, and “Smiley” in the “Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” sequence.

  • Bruce Mayer

    God bless this warm hearted & talented, wonderful man. My fondest memories of Mr. McKennon are from the old Daniel Boone shows with Fess Parker. Although his parts were often brief in Daniel Boone – he was unquestionably a scene stealer! He made such an impression on me as a young kid especially as Cincinattus. I am so sorry we have lost this wnderful human being! God bless his family & RIP Dal.

  • http://dalmckennon.com Gayle McKennon

    Thanks for all your warm and enlightening stories about “Pops!”
    Brother Steve and I are trying to put together a “Tribute” site for him. We can use all your sage wisdom you can offer at this point. Or for that matter, at any time! Since his passing, I’ve learned more about his career than I can swallow in one gulp! But it sure is exciting! May God bless those with a good memory.

  • http://dalmckennon.com Gayle McKennon

    For those Dal McKennon fans with a kindly sense of humor, seasoned with a large grain of salt (and sage advice on website development,) Please heed our clarion call: Help! Check out the infant site:
    dalmckennon.com

  • Angela Yackley

    Daughter of “Boppas” youngest daughter, Wendy Mckennon here, and I just wanted to say I really appreciated reading all of your comments. My favorite memory of Boppa is from when I was very very young and would stay the night… Always, every morning I would wake to sound of a rooster call. I grew up with a unique experience of a man who never let a dull moment have it’s way for a second. He once came to my school to perform and tell stories for the entire 8th grade class the tales of the Oregon Trail. So many extraordinary memories that make up my childhood that were created for me came from this man, and his wonderful, patient and creative wife Betty. I miss them and love them. Thank you all for cherishing his memory.
    Hi Aunt Gayle :)

  • Stanford S. Lee

    I wish to congratulate the late Dallas McKennon for having been such a great family man! I am the 3rd generation California of Chinese descent. My grandparents immigrated from China to California in 1860 and all of their eleven children were born here and dad was the 4th born on March 16,1886.He died unexpectedly on December 6, 1947 of aneurysm and before he and mom we married 50 years and of the 9 of us siblings the Lord has allow me and my wife to be married 55 years now and August 20, 2011 should be our 56th. I served 4 years in the air force from 6SEP50-=5SEP54 during the Korean War and met my wife were married on August 20o, 1955. I am the first male of the five of us who have reached 50 years of marriage and I realize that it is the Lord who arranged our meeting. MY youngest member, Frank has about 7 years to go. Stanford S. Lee

    • Gayle McKennon

      Thanks for telling us your story, Stanford S. Lee. You must be a proud and brave soul, and a proud papa! Dallas was orphaned in his youth, and was blessed to be taken in by a strong-hearted and cultured member of the community in La Grande. What a family you must have! That must have been exciting being in the Air Force.

  • http://www.linkedin.com/pub/jay-mather/8/396/9a Jay Mather Actor/Poet

    Thank you Dallas For Working With Me on ”
    We Hold these truths” With Hal from Lumiere Players
    It was a Once in a Lifetime That Will Be remembered
    for a Lifetime You Were and always Will Be a Blessing
    See you In Heaven Praise the Lord that we Both Know Jesus
    Personally, My Dear Friend You Will Be Missed

  • Jay Mather Actor/Poet

    Thank you Dallas For the Time we worked together In Tualatin Oregon
    You were and always will Be a bLessing to Me
    You Will Be Missed. But will always Be in My Heart .