Allen Swift (1924-2010) Allen Swift (1924-2010)

Allen Swift (1924-2010)

Gene Deitch just informed us of the passing of his long-time personal friend Allen Swift. Swift (born Ira Stadlen) was best known for voicing numerous cartoon characters including Simon Bar Sinister (in Underdog), Odie on King Leonardo and most of the voices for the 1960’s underwater puppet show Diver Dan. Swift was also well-known for hosting the Popeye cartoon show (September 10, 1956 to September 23, 1960) on WPIX in New York City. Swift did the majority of the voices in Rankin/Bass’s Mad Monster Party, and supplied character voices for the NBC Howdy Doody Show. He was Tooter Turtle and Clint Clobber. He did voices in Richard Williams’ Raggedy Ann and Andy and John Dilworth’s Courage The Cowardly Dog, as well as in Gene Deitch’s 1960-61 group of Tom and Jerry cartoons (especially memorable in Dickie Moe).

In tribute we re-post the Deitch-Pintoff Terrytoon classic Flebus, with all voices by Allen Swift (above) and one of Swift’s Popeye children’s records (as Captain Allen Swift), below.

Gene Deitch writes:

Maxime Stadlen, Allen Swift’s daughter phoned me the terrible news that Allen has died. Allen Swift, who did the voices of Howdy Doody and the other characters, who did all of the voices on PUMP TROUBLE and DEPTH STUDY, which you will soon be showing, and who has been by best personal friend for 58 years, is gone. He was they last of my American buddies. Even though here for 50 years, hardly a year went by without a visit to his 54th Street apartment, nor a day go by without email and most recently Skype visits. It’s a devastating loss. I felt something awful must be happening, because just as the Howdy Doody film was about to go online, I was unable to reach him or his wife or anyone in his family. This even is something we have been talking about for the past few months and weeks, as the story of the film’s recovery evolved. I’m crushed. We were both born in 1924, thus just a few months difference in age, but Allen has been suffering with a series of health calamities for several years, since he fell and broke his hip while walking his dog. From that moment, one thing led to another…

And now, “the man of a thousand voices” who used many, many of them in my films, is silenced. To further the pain, no planes are flying from Europe, and the airports are jammed with people waiting in vain to go where they need to go. So, I must grieve from here…

We grieve with you Gene. We lost one of the greats today.

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