Allen Swift

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Allen Swift
Born Ira Stadlen
(1924-01-16)January 16, 1924
New York City, New York, U.S.
Died April 18, 2010(2010-04-18) (aged 86)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Cause of death Heart failure
Occupation Voice actor
Years active 1946–2010

Ira Stadlen (January 16, 1924 – April 18, 2010[1]), known professionally as Allen Swift, was an American voice actor,[2] best known for voicing cartoon characters Simon Bar Sinister and Riff-Raff on the Underdog cartoon show. He took his professional name from radio comedian Fred Allen and 18th century satirist Jonathan Swift.

Career[edit]

Children's TV host[edit]

Swift was an early television star who hosted The Popeye Show from September 10, 1956, to September 23, 1960, until he was forced to leave the program due to creative differences with station management.[3] But he later became a children's television show host named "Captain Allen" on WPIX in New York City.

Cartoon voices[edit]

Swift is best known for providing the fiendish voices for the cartoon villains Simon Bar Sinister and Riff-Raff on the Underdog cartoon show. He also voiced many of the characters in The Bluffers the 1960s underwater puppet show Diver Dan, and Gene Deitch's 1961–1962 group of Tom and Jerry cartoons.

Rankin/Bass[edit]

In addition, Swift provided the majority of the voices in Rankin/Bass's Mad Monster Party?, credited as Alan (sic) Swift in the movie's credits.[4] He was also in other Rankin/Bass productions including the TV special The Emperor's New Clothes (part of The Enchanted World of Danny Kaye), as the voice of Musty.

Howdy Doody[edit]

Swift supplied most of the character voices for the NBC Howdy Doody Show. When Buffalo Bob Smith—who himself did the voice of the lead puppet character Howdy Doody and had many times proclaimed that "nobody else could do Howdy"—suffered a heart attack, Swift took home some recordings over the weekend, came back on Monday, and supplied Howdy's voice for more than a year.[5]

Writing[edit]

Swift became the second comedy writer for Howdy Doody following the abrupt departure of the series' first comedy writer and songwriter, Edward Kean.[6] He also wrote the play Checking Out.

Commercials and MAD Magazine[edit]

Swift provided the original voice of the Frito Bandito in the animated Fritos Corn Chips commercials of the 1960s. In the 1970s and 1980s, he was the talking drain on Drano television commercials, and he impersonated Carroll O'Connor as Archie Bunker and Adolf Hitler as "Dolf" on MAD Magazine's vinyl insert recording of "Gall in the Family Fare," the All in the Family satire that ran in the magazine's Super Special No. 11 in 1973.[7]

Personal life[edit]

Swift was married to actress Lenore Loveman, and is the father of character actor, mimic and singer Lewis J. Stadlen, holistic health practitioner Maxime Stadlen, and psychotherapist Clare A. Stadlen. He resided in Manhattan. He was also a gifted figurative painter, creating and exhibiting landscapes and figures reminiscent of those of artists Leland Bell and Fairfield Porter.

Death[edit]

Swift had 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," said personal friend and director Gene Deitch. "Even though [I've been] here for 50 years, hardly a year went by without a visit to his 57th Street apartment, nor a day go by without e-mail and most recently Skype visits," added Deitch, an American expatriate living in the Czech Republic.

Allen Swift died at his home on April 18, 2010.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Allen Swift (1924–2010)". Archived from the original on 21 April 2010. Retrieved 2010-04-18. 
  2. ^ Obituary New York Times, April 28, 2010; page B18.
  3. ^ The Popeye Show article in The NYC Kids Shows Round Up section of tvparty.com
  4. ^ Mad Monster Party? at the Internet Movie Database
  5. ^ Tv Bloq section of TV Party.Com
  6. ^ "TV Bloq"/Past entry #168 at "TV Party.Com"
  7. ^ MAD Magazine presents "Gall in the Family Fare," YouTube
  8. ^ "Allen Swift, 86, was voice of Simon Bar-Sinister ". forum.bcdb.com, April 19, 2010

External links[edit]