Tetley ca. 1940-50
Walter Campbell Tetzlaff
June 2, 1915
|Died||September 4, 1975 (aged 60)|
Walter Tetley (June 2, 1915 – September 4, 1975) was an American voice actor specializing in child impersonation during radio's classic era, with regular roles on The Great Gildersleeve and The Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show, as well as continuing as a voice-over artist in animated cartoons, commercials, and spoken-word record albums. He is perhaps best known as the voice of Sherman in the Jay Ward-Bill Scott Mr. Peabody TV cartoons.
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Cartoon voices and later career
Walter's foray into voices for theatrical cartoons began in the 1930s, as the voice of Felix the Cat in Van Beuren's Rainbow Parade cartoons in shorts such as "Neptune Nonsense". In "Bold King Cole", Tetley starts the cartoon short singing "Nature and Me", showcasing his song styling abilities.
In 1946, Tetley supplied the voice of the electric utility mascot Reddy Kilowatt in the short film Reddy Made Magic, produced by Lantz with Reddy Kilowatt creator Ashton B. Collins, Sr.; Tetley also performed the film's theme song. In 1959 he reprised the role in a John Sutherland-produced remake called The Mighty Atom.
In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Walter would become familiar to a new generation as the voice of Sherman, the nerdy, freckled, bespectacled boy sidekick of time-traveling dog genius Mr. Peabody, in the "Peabody's Improbable History" segments of Jay Ward's Rocky and His Friends (also known as The Bullwinkle Show), which made its debut in 1959.
Tetley worked for Capitol Records in the 1950s, providing an array of juvenile voices for the label's spoken-word and comedy albums, including Stan Freberg Presents the United States of America Volume One: The Early Years (1961). His Gildersleeve co-star, Harold Peary, had made three albums for Capitol a decade earlier, telling children's stories Gildersleeve-style.
In 1971, after several more years' voiceover work, Tetley was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident and used a wheelchair for the rest of his life. Numerous sources have suggested Tetley may have lost his southern California home in the same period and lived out his days in a trailer. He died in 1975 at age 60, having never fully recovered from his injuries. His interment was in Chatsworth's Oakwood Memorial Park.
- Ben Ohmart (2003). Walter Tetley - For Corn's Sake. BearManor Media. ISBN 1-59393-000-3.
- Keith Scott (2000). The Moose That Roared - The story of Jay Ward, Bill Scott, a flying squirrel and a talking moose. St. Martins Press. ISBN 0-312-19922-8.
- DeLong, Thomas A. (1996). Radio Stars: An Illustrated Biographical Dictionary of 953 Performers, 1920 through 1960. McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7864-2834-2. P. 260.
- The Walter Lantz Cartune Encyclopedia (n.d.). Miscellaneous Cartunes: "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-05-14. Retrieved 2010-09-04.