January 16, 1924
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Died||April 18, 2010
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Cause of death||Heart failure|
Ira Stadlen (January 16, 1924 – April 18, 2010), known professionally as Allen Swift, was an American voice actor, known for playing characters including Simon Bar Sinister and Riff-Raff on the Underdog cartoon show. He provided the voices of many of the characters in The Bluffers, most of the voices for the 1960s underwater puppet show Diver Dan, and the voices in Gene Deitch's 1961–1962 group of Tom and Jerry cartoons. Swift was a children's television show host on WPIX in New York City as "Captain Allen". He took his professional name from radio comedian Fred Allen and 18th century satirist Jonathan Swift.
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. The reason for his dismissal from The Popeye Show was creative differences with station management.
Swift did the majority of the voices in Rankin/Bass's Mad Monster Party?, credited as Alan (sic) Swift in the movie's credits. He was also in another Rankin/Bass TV special "The Emperor's New Clothes", as the voice of Musty, and also as the original voice of the Frito Bandito.
He supplied most of the character voices for the NBC Howdy Doody Show, and 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 did Howdy's voice for more than a year.
Swift also served as the second comedy writer for Howdy Doody. He took on the job following the abrupt departure of the series' first comedy writer and songwriter, Edward Kean. He also wrote the play Checking Out.
He 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.
In the 1970s & 1980s, he was the talking drain on Drano television commercials.
Allen 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.
Swift was also a gifted figurative painter, doing landscapes and figures reminiscent of Leland Bell and Fairfield Porter, which he showed professionally.
He died at his home on April 18, 2010.
- "Allen Swift (1924–2010)". Archived from the original on 21 April 2010. Retrieved 2010-04-18.
- Obituary New York Times, April 28, 2010; page B18.
- The Popeye Show article in The NYC Kids Shows Round Up section of tvparty.com
- Mad Monster Party? at the Internet Movie Database
- Tv Bloq section of TV Party.Com
- "TV Bloq"/Past entry #168 at "TV Party.Com"
- "Allen Swift, 86, was voice of Simon Bar-Sinister ". forum.bcdb.com, April 19, 2010