Daws Butler

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Daws Butler
Daws Butler (1976).jpg
Butler in 1976
BornCharles Dawson Butler
(1916-11-16)November 16, 1916
Toledo, Ohio, U.S.
DiedMay 18, 1988(1988-05-18) (aged 71)
Culver City, California, U.S.
Cause of death
Heart attack
OccupationVoice actor
Years active1934–1988
Spouse(s)Myrtis Martin-Butler (1940s–1988; his death)
ChildrenDavid Butler, Don Butler, Paul Butler and Charles (Chas) Butler
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Daws Butler
Daws Butler (1976).jpg
Butler in 1976
BornCharles Dawson Butler
(1916-11-16)November 16, 1916
Toledo, Ohio, U.S.
DiedMay 18, 1988(1988-05-18) (aged 71)
Culver City, California, U.S.
Cause of death
Heart attack
OccupationVoice actor
Years active1934–1988
Spouse(s)Myrtis Martin-Butler (1940s–1988; his death)
ChildrenDavid Butler, Don Butler, Paul Butler and Charles (Chas) Butler

Charles Dawson "Daws" Butler (November 16, 1916 – May 18, 1988) was a voice actor originally from Toledo, Ohio. He worked mostly for the Hanna-Barbera animation production company and originated the voices of many familiar animated cartoon characters, including Yogi Bear, Quick Draw McGraw, Snagglepuss, and Huckleberry Hound.

Early life and career[edit]

Daws Butler was born on November 16, 1916 in Toledo, Ohio, the only child of Ruth Butler and Charles Allen Butler. The family later moved from Ohio to Oak Park, Illinois, where Butler got interested in impersonating people.[1]

In 1934, the future voice master started as an impressionist, entering multiple amateur contests and winning most of them. He had entered them, not with the intention of showing his talent but as a personal challenge to overcome his shyness, with success. Nonetheless, Butler won professional engagements at vaudeville theaters. Later he teamed up with fellow performers, Jack Lavin and Willard Ovitz to form the comedy trio The Three Short Waves. The team played in theaters, radio and nightclubs, generating positive reviews from regional critics and audiences. They dissolved when in 1941, Daws Butler joined the U.S. Navy as America entered World War Two. Some time after, he met his wife Myrtis during a wartime function at North Carolina.

His first voice work for an animated character came in 1948 in the animated short Short Snorts on Sports, which was produced by Screen Gems. That same year at MGM, Tex Avery hired Butler to provide the voice of a British wolf on Little Rural Riding Hood and also narrate several of his cartoons. Throughout the decade, he had roles in many Avery-directed cartoons; The Fox in Out-Foxed, The Narrator in The Cuckoo Clock, The Cobbler in The Peachy Cobbler, Mr. Theeves in Droopy's "Double Trouble", Mysto the Magician in Magical Maestro, John the Cab and John the B-29 Bomber in One Cab's Family and Little Johnny Jet and Maxie in The Legend of Rockabye Point.

Starting with The Three Little Pups, Butler provided the voice for a nameless wolf that spoke in a Southern accent and whistled all the time. This character also appeared in Sheep Wrecked, Billy Boy and many more cartoons. While at MGM, Avery wanted Butler to try to do the voice of Droopy, at a time when Bill Thompson had been unavailable due to radio engagements. Instead Butler then told Avery about Don Messick, another voice actor and Butler's lifelong friend, who could imitate Thompson. Thus Messick voiced Droopy on several shorts.[2]

In 1949, Butler landed a role in a televised puppet show created by former Warner Bros. cartoon director Bob Clampett called Time for Beany. Butler was teamed up with Stan Freberg, and together they did all the voices of the puppets. Butler voiced Beany Boy and Captain Huffenpuff. Freberg voiced Cecil and Dishonest John. An entire stable of recurring characters were seen. The show's writers were Charles Shows and Lloyd Turner, whose dependably funny dialog was still always at the mercy of Butler's and Freberg's ad libs. Time for Beany ran from 1949 to 1954 and won several Emmy Awards. It was the basis for the cartoon Beany and Cecil.

In Mr. Magoo, the UPA theatrical animated short series for Columbia Pictures, Butler voiced the part of Magoo's nephew Waldo (also voiced by Jerry Hausner at various times).

Butler briefly turned his attention to TV commercials, although he quickly moved to providing the voice to many nameless Walter Lantz characters for theatrical shorts later seen on the Woody Woodpecker program. His notable character was the penguin "Chilly Willy" and his sidekick, the southern-speaking dog Smedley (the same voice used for Tex Avery's laid-back wolf character).

Also in the 1950s, Stan Freberg asked Butler to help him write comedy skits for his Capitol Records albums. Their first collaboration, "St. George and the Dragon-Net" (based on Dragnet), was the first comedy record to sell over one million copies. Freberg was more of a satirist who did song parodies, but the bulk of his "talking" routines were co-written by, and co-starred, Daws Butler. Butler also teamed up again with Freberg and cartoon actress June Foray in a CBS radio series, The Stan Freberg Show, which ran from July to October 1957 as a summer replacement for Jack Benny's program. Freberg's box-set, Tip of the Freberg (Rhino Entertainment, 1999) chronicles every aspect of Freberg's career except the cartoon voice-over work, and it showcases his career with Daws Butler.

In 1957, when MGM closed down their animation division, producers William Hanna and Joseph Barbera quickly formed their own company, and Daws Butler and Don Messick were on-hand to provide voices. The first, The Ruff & Reddy Show where Butler voiced Reddy, set the formula for the rest of the series of cartoons that the two would helm until the mid-1960s.

Voice characters[edit]

In 1950, Daws Butler (foreground) and Stan Freberg are backstage doing both voices and puppeteering on Bob Clampett's Time for Beany (1949–1954) at KTLA in Los Angeles. Freberg operates Cecil the Seasick Sea Serpent and Dishonest John, while Butler handles Captain Huffenpuff and Beany.

The characters with voices by Butler from 1957 to 1978 included:

Butler would voice most of these characters for many decades, in both TV shows and in some commercials. The breakfast cereal mascot Cap'n Crunch became an icon of sorts on Saturday morning TV through many commercials produced by Jay Ward. Butler gave voice to the Cap'n from the 1960s to the 1980s. He based the voice on that of character actor Charles Butterworth. When in 1961, Mel Blanc was recovering from a motor vehicle accident, Daws Butler stepped in to voice Barney Rubble in five episodes of The Flintstones (The Hit Songwriter, Droop-Along Flintstone, Fred Flintstone Woos Again, The Rock Quarry Story, The Little White Lie). In the 1970s he was the voice of "Hair Bear" on Help!... It's the Hair Bear Bunch! and a few characters in minor cartoons such as C.B. Bears. On Wacky Races, Butler provided the voices for a number of the racers, Rock Slag, Big Gruesome, the Red Max, Sgt. Blast, Peter Perfect, and Rufus Ruffcut. On Laff-a-Lympics, Butler was virtually the entire "Yogi Yahooey" team. He voiced a penguin and a turtle in the movie Mary Poppins, his only known work for Disney. Along with Stan Freberg, Paul Frees and June Foray, Butler also provided voices for countless children's records featuring recreations of several successful Disney cartoons and films.


Butler based some of his voices on popular celebrities of the day. Yogi Bear began as an Art Carney impression; Butler had done a similar voice in several of Robert McKimson's films at Warner Brothers and Stan Freberg's comedy record "The Honey-Earthers." However, Butler soon changed Yogi's voice, making it much deeper and more sing-songy, thus making it a more original voice. Hokey Wolf began as an impression of Phil Silvers, and Snagglepuss as Bert Lahr. In fact, when Snagglepuss began appearing in commercials for Kellogg's Cocoa Krispies in 1961, Lahr threatened to sue Butler for "stealing" his voice. As part of the settlement, the disclaimer "Snagglepuss voice by Daws Butler" was required to appear on each commercial, making him the only voice actor ever to receive one in an animated TV commercial. Again, Butler redesigned these voices, making them his own inventions. Huckleberry Hound was inspired many years earlier, in 1945, by a North Carolina neighbor of Daws' wife's family, and he had in fact been using that voice for a long time, for Avery's laid-back wolf and Lantz's Smedley.

Later life[edit]

Butler remained somewhat low-key in the 1970s and 1980s, until a 1985 revival of The Jetsons. Also in 1983, he voiced the title character, Wacky WallWalker in Deck the Halls with Wacky Walls. In 1975, Butler began an acting workshop that spawned such talents as Nancy Cartwright (The Simpsons), Corey Burton (Old Navy, Disney), and Joe Bevilacqua (NPR).

In the year of his death, The Good, the Bad, and Huckleberry Hound was released, a tour-de-force featuring most of his classic early characters.

Personal life and death[edit]

He was married to Myrtis Martin from the 1940s to 1988, whom he had met and married while he was in the United States Navy during World War II.[3] They had four sons, David Butler, Don Butler, Paul Butler and Charles Butler. Butler died from a heart attack on May 18, 1988. Many of his roles were assumed by Greg Burson, who had been personally trained by Butler.


Daws Butler trained many voice actors including Nancy Cartwright (the voice of Bart Simpson), Corey Burton (the voice of Dale in Chip 'n' Dale), Bill Farmer (the current voice of Goofy, Pluto, and Horace Horsecollar), Bob Bergen (voice of Porky Pig), Joe Bevilacqua (whom Butler personally taught how to do all of his characters), Greg Burson (voice of Yogi Bear and Bugs Bunny), Mona Marshall (voices in South Park) and Joey Camen. Butler's voice and scripts were a frequent part of Bevilacqua's now-defunct XM show.[4] Bevilacqua also wrote Butler's official biography, published by Bear Manor Media.[5] A new book of cartoon scripts written by Daws Butler and Joe Bevilacqua, Uncle Dunkle and Donnie: Fractured Fables, was scheduled for publication in the fall of 2009. A four-volume, 4½-hour audio set of Uncle Dunkle and Donnie was to be released simultaneously with Bevilacqua performing all 97 characters in 35 stories. Butler also trained Hal Rayle, who ultimately determined that his best-known character of Doyle Cleverlobe from Galaxy High School should sound like Elroy Jetson after he finished puberty.[6]


Animated films and theatrical shorts[edit]

1948Short Snorts on SportsScreen Gems (Columbia) Theatrical short
Little Rural Riding HoodCity WolfMGM Theatrical short
1949Out-FoxedFoxDroopy Theatrical short
Love That PupSpikeTom and Jerry Theatrical short
Jerry's Diary"Uncle Dudley"Tom and Jerry Theatrical short
1950Punchy de LeonCrowUPA Theatrical short
The Chump ChampMaster of CeremoniesDroopy Theatrical short
The Peachy CobblerNarrator/The CobblerMGM Theatrical short
The Cuckoo ClockNarrator (The Cat)MGM Theatrical short
The Framed CatSpikeTom and Jerry Theatrical short
1951Daredevil DroopyThe Great BarkoDroopy Theatrical short
Jerry and the GoldfishChef FrancoisTom and Jerry Theatrical short
Sleepy-Time TomButchTom and Jerry Theatrical short
Slicked-Up PupSpikeTom and Jerry Theatrical short
Droopy's "Double Trouble"Mr. TheevesDroopy Theatrical short
1952Gift WrappedNarratorSylvester and Tweety Theatrical short
Magical MaestroMysto the MagicianMGM Theatrical short
One Cab's FamilyJohn the Cab/DoctorMGM Theatrical short
Rock-a-Bye BearDog Pound Proprietor/Joe BearMGM Theatrical short
A Case for HypnosisDoctor Twiddle
Fit to Be TiedSpikeTom and Jery short
The Dog HouseSpikeTom and Jerry Theatrical short
1953That's My Pup!SpikeTom and Jerry Theatrical short
Little Johnny JetJohn the BomberMGM Theatrical short
The Three PupsWolfDroopy Theatrical short
Chilly WillyChilly WillyWalter Lantz Theatrical short
Life with TomRadio announcerTom and Jerry Theatrical short
1954Crazy Mixed-Up PupSamuel/The Dog/MilkmanTheatrical short
Drag-A-Long DroopyWolf Rancher/The BullDroopy Theatrical short
Billy BoyWolfMGM Theatrical short
Under the Counter SpyHammererWoody Woodpecker Theatrical short
Hic-cup PupSpikeTom and Jerry Theatrical short
Pet PeeveTom and Spike's OwnerTom and Jerry Theatrical short
The Flea CircusPepitoMGM Theatrical short
Convict ConcertoPolice OfficerWoody Woodpecker Theatrical short
I'm ColdSmedleyChilly Willy Theatrical short
Farm of TomorrowMGM Theatrical short
1955The Legend of Rockabye PointMaxie the Polar BearWalter Lantz Theatrical short
Pecos PestAnnouncerTom and Jerry Theatrical short
Deputy DroopySheriff/ThiefDroopy Theatrical short
Hot and Cold PenguinSmedleyChilly Willy Theatrical short
Heir-ConditionedCatSylvester and Tweety Theatrical short
The Tree MedicTree SurgeonWalter Lantz Theatrical short
Sh-h-h-h-h-hMr. Twiddle/Doctor/Hotel ManagerWalter Lantz Theatrical short
Pup on a PicnicSpikeTom and Jerry Theatrical short
Smarty CatButchTom and Jerry Theatrical short
1956Down Beat BearRadio announcerTom and Jerry Theatrical short
Weasel Stop'DogLooney Tunes Theatrical short
Barbary Coast BunnyNasty CanastaLooney Tunes Theatrical short
Wideo WabbitBugs Bunny doing Groucho Marx/Bugs Bunny doing Ed NortonLooney Tunes Theatrical short
Yankee Dood ItShoemakerLooney Tunes Theatrical short
Rocket-bye BabyNarrator/Joseph WilburMerrie Melodies Theatrical short
Barbecue BrawlSpikeTom and Jerry Theatrical short
Stupor DuckNarrator/Newspaper editor/Mountain climber 2Daffy Duck Theatrical short
Magoo's Puddle JumperWaldoMr. Magoo Theatrical short
After the BallLumberjack BearWoody Woodpecker short
Woody Meets Davy CrewcutDavy CrewcutWoody Woodpecker short
The Ostrich Egg and ISamWalter Lantz short
Operation Cold FeetSmedleyChilly Willy short
Hold That RockSmedleyChilly Willy short
Half-Fare HareRalph Kramden/Ed NortonBugs Bunny short
The Honey-MousersRalph Krumden/Ned MortonLooney Tunes short
Raw! Raw! Rooster!Rhode Island RedLooney Tunes short
1957Tops with PopsSpikeTom and Jerry Theatrical short
Tom's Photo FinishTom's Owner/SpikeTom and Jerry short
Give and TykeSpike/Stray Dog/Dog CatcherSpike and Tyke short
Scat CatsSpike/Spike and Tyke's Owner/CatSpike and Tyke short
Blackboard JumbleWolfDroopy short
Drafty, Isn't?Narrator/Ralph Phillips
Mucho MouseSpanish CatTom and jerry short
Go Fly a KitCounter ManLooney Tunes short
International WoodpeckerGeorge WashingtonWoody Woodpecker short
The Unbearable SalesmanBearWoody Woodpecker short
Cheese It, the Cat!Ralph Krumden/Ned MortonLooney Tunes short
Fodder and SonWindy and BreezyWalter Lantz short
1958Mutts About RacingAnnouncerDroopy short
Sheep WreckedWolf
Everglade RaidAl I. GatorWoody Woodpecker short
Watch the BirdieBirdwatcherWoody Woodpecker short
Tree's a CrowdColonel MunchWoody Woodpecker short
A Bird in a BonnetSewer WorkerLooney Tunes short
A Chilly ReceptionChilly WillyChilly Willy short
Polar PestChilly WillyChilly Willy short
Little TeleVillainSmedley/Mr. Stoop/Car SalesmanChilly Willy short
A Waggily TaleJunior/Elvis/Dad/Johnny/MelvinLooney Tunes short
1959Truant StudentWindy/Breezy/Truant Officer WilloughbyWalter Lantz short
The Alphabet ConspiracyJabberwockTV movie
Robinson GruesomeNarrator/Robinson Gruesome/ApeWalter Lantz short
Trick or TweetSamSylvester and Tweety short
Yukon Have ItSmedley/Caribou LouChilly Willy short
Merry Minstrel MagooWaldo/DentistUPA short
Here Today, Gone TamaleMiceLooney Tunes short
Romp in a SwampAl I. GatorWoody Woodpecker short
Loopy De LoopLoopy De Loop48 Theatrical shorts
1964Mary PoppinsTurtle/PenguinHis only work for Disney
Hey There, It's Yogi BearYogi BearHanna Barbera's first Animated feature film
1970The Phantom TollboothThe Whether ManAnimated feature film
1987The Jetsons Meet the FlintstonesElroy Jetson/Henry Orbit/CogswellAnimated feature film



  1. ^ "the Official Website of Daws Butler- BIOGRAPHY- June 2003". Dawsbutler.com. 1978-11-21. Retrieved 2013-02-01. 
  2. ^ "A Personal Portrait of My Mentor by Joe Bevilesqua". Dawsbutler.com. Retrieved 2013-02-01. 
  3. ^ "Daws Butler's biography on". S9.com. Retrieved 2010-09-09. 
  4. ^ "The Comedy-O-Rama Hour". Comedyorama.com. Retrieved 2010-09-09. 
  5. ^ Daws Butler - Characters Actor, BearManor Media
  6. ^ "The Galaxy High Website!". Galaxyhigh86.tripod.com. Retrieved 2010-09-09. 

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