Daws Butler: How Yogi Bear Got His Start in Vaudeville


Today is the birthday of one of the greatest cartoon voice-over actors of all-time, Daws Butler (1916-1988). Butler got his start as a teenager in the last days of vaudeville (post-vaudeville to be accurate) doing impressions in amateur shows to get over his shyness. But he was successful, winning contests, which led to professional engagements at theatres. In the late 30s, he was part of a radio and nightclub comedy trio called The Three Shortwaves, until Butler dropped out to serve in World War Two.

In the late 1940s he began to get his first cartoon voice-over work (Chilly Willy was one of his first notable characters), and to supply the voice of Beany in the puppet show precursor (1949-1954) to the later animated Beany and Cecil. With the formation of the television animation studio Hanna-Barbera in 1957, Butler really got the chance to make his mark, creating the characters of Yogi Bear, Snagglepuss,  Wally Gator, Quickdraw McGraw and his sidekick Baba Looey, Huckleberry Hound, Elroy Jetson and countless others. His was also the voice of advertising mascots such as Cap’n Crunch and Quisp. In later years he became a teacher, his most notable pupil being Nancy Cartwright (a.k.a Bart Simpson).

To learn more about the history of vaudevilleconsult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.


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