Daws Butler (1916-1988) was a prolific voice actor, puppeteer, and occasional writer; along with Mel Blanc and Paul Frees, he was one of the leading cartoon voice actors for four decades, particularly known for his work with Hanna-Barbera. Like many other prominent voice actors, he lent his talents to animated inserts on Sesame Street during the 1970s.
Butler began his vocal career as an impressionist. After a tour of duty in the Naval Reserves during World War II, he slowly began establishing himself as a radio actor on such series as The Whistler and Family Theater. In 1946, he auditioned for MGM director Tex Avery and landed his first cartoon role, as the city wolf in Little Rural Riding Hood. He was subsequently heard as Spike the bulldog in the Tom and Jerry entries and a Southern-accented wolf (who would eventually develop into Huckleberry Hound). In the early television era, he collaborated with Stan Freberg on Bob Clampett's puppet series Time for Beany in 1949, as the voice and puppeteer of Beany Boy, Professor X, and others. He continued to work with Freberg in radio, first on the sitcom That's Rich and then as co-star and writer of the sketch series The Stan Freberg Show in 1957, where he essayed such roles as the interpreter for a tuned sheep orchestra (predating Marvin Suggs' Muppaphone) and an over-anxious censor. Butler and Freberg's collaboration continued in several records.
Butler's cartoon voice career continued. For the Warner Brothers Looney Tunes, he was heard as The Honeymousers and in various bit roles, and for Walter Lantz, he was several of Woody Woodpecker's antagonists as well as Chilly Willy. He truly made his mark in the television era, playing most of the stars of Hanna-Barbera's animated series: Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear, Quick Draw McGraw, Dixie and Mr. Jinks, Elroy (on The Jetsons), Augie Doggie, Hokey Wolf, and Peter Potamus, amongst others. His other TV voice work included voicing Cap'n Crunch in cereal commercials, and Aesop Jr. and various prissy princes on Jay Ward's The Bullwinkle Show. In animated features, Butler was heard in Mary Poppins (as a turtle and a penguin) and in Chuck Jones' feature adaptation of The Phantom Tollbooth (as the Whether Man and others), released theatrically in 1970.
Butler had also run an acting workshop for which he had trained many voice actors and actresses including Nancy Cartwright, Bob Bergen, Greg Berg, Mona Marshall, Patricia Parris, Tony Pope, Hal Rayle, and others.
Sesame Street Filmography
|Picture||Title / EKA||Description|
|Man Who Hated Frogs
|Butler voices a man, with a Southern accent, who despises frogs, and fails to understand their role in the environment.|
|Butler recites one syllable words over a cat ("Fat") who deals with a rat.|
|Words That Rhyme with Ball
|Butler voices a man trying to warn his companion (Bob Arbogast) that he's nearing a cliff.|
|Butler plays one of a duo (with Arbogast) who sing about being the same.|
|Small, Smaller and Smallest
|Three balls compare sizes. An orange ball (voiced by Butler) boasts that he's the smallest, until his little brother comes onto the scene.|
|A mad scientist (voiced by Butler) tries to teach his Frankenstein-esque monster words that begin with F.|
|A J on a train track joins words, with voice-over commentary by Butler.|