Allen as some of the characters he performed on The Steve Allen Show, and also as himself, 1959.
|Born||Dayton Allen Bolke
September 24, 1919
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Died||November 11, 2004
Hendersonville, North Carolina, U.S.
Dayton Allen (September 24, 1919 – November 11, 2004) was a comedian and voice actor. He was one of the "men in the street" on the '"The Steve Allen Show."' His catchphrase was "Why not, Bubbe?" (pronounced "whooooyyy not!")
Born Dayton Allen Bolke in New York City, he grew up in Mount Vernon, New York, where he graduated from A.B. Davis High School in June 1936. One of his school friends was Art Carney. Allen, like Carney, began his career in radio. In 1937–1938 WINS (AM) hired him as a disc jockey.
Allen was the voice of various New York-based children's television show characters, appearing on Winky Dink and You as Mr. Bungle for five years, and playing "Phineas T. Bluster", "Flub-a-Dub", and various other puppet characters on Howdy Doody (as well as several "live" characters, including Ugly Sam and Pierre the Chef) for 4 years. Dayton was also the voice of Deputy Dawg, Heckle and Jeckle, Luno, and many early Terrytoons cartoon characters. He continued to be a voiceover performer through the 1990s.
He was best known as the "Why Not?" man when he joined the cast of the NBC Sunday night variety show that Allen began hosting to compete against Ed Sullivan on CBS. The catch-phrase began as a stalling ad-lib to an interview question; then it caught on. Allen used it for television commercials and saw novelty toys, a book and a record spinoff the "Why not?" phenomenon. In its day, fans were shouting "Why not?" as often as Mad Magazine's famous "What? Me Worry?"
His brother, Bradley Bolke, was also a voice actor best known as the voice of Chumley (Tennessee Tuxedo's walrus sidekick) on Tennessee Tuxedo and His Tales, and the syndicated version of The Underdog Show.
Allen's talents as a mimic were showcased in October 1963 when he appeared alongside Groucho Marx on the CBS-TV game show I've Got A Secret. The show’s panelists had been blindfolded, and all their questions to Groucho were answered instead by Allen doing an accurate Groucho impersonation. Finally, with panelists Bess Myerson, Betsy Palmer, Henry Morgan, and Bill Cullen all stumped, the secret was revealed.
After his show business career ended, Allen was a real estate agent, operating out of an office in Dobbs Ferry, New York.