Thursday, April 5, 2007

Dal McKennon

At Age 88, Dal Mckennon has had a remarkable career spanning 65 years.

Born in 1919 in Oregon, Dal (Dallas) McKennon first made his mark in show business as the voice of Buzz Buzzard for Walter Lantz Cartoons back in the 1940's. He parlayed that experience into opportunities to voice animated film characters in “Mary Poppins”, “101 Dalmatians”, “Bed Knobs & Broomsticks”, “The Jungle Book” and on TV,“The Archie Comedy Hour”, “Gumby”, “Davy & Goliath” and “The Woody Woodpecker Show

A rarity in show business, Dal excelled not only as a voice character in the animated world but also as a character actor on TV and in the movies. His credits include a recurring role as “Cincinnatus”, the Inn Keeper on Daniel Boone, six episodes of Wagon Train and appearences on The Virginian, The Rifleman, My Favorite Martian, The Andy Griffith Show, Cannon and scores of others.

I worked with Dal in 1995 when I was Cruise Director on board the “Queen of The West” Riverboat sailing from Portland Or on seven day cruises down the Columbia River. As we cruised down the river we would take on evening entertainment in different ports of call.

Dal Mckennon was one of them.

Sporting a white beard, prospector's hat and overalls, Dal looked like he had just left a yard sale at the Gabby Hayes estate. Being a native Oregonian, Dal had a great love for the history of his state and presented a very entertaining music/comedy/history lesson about the Lewis & Clark Expedition to the great Northwest Passage.

Every week Dal would sail with us one night a week and I'd get the opportunity to hear the tales of working with Walt Disney and Walter Lantz. He was definitely a “character” who seemed to embody the “old eccentric mining prospector” his exterior garb portrayed.

Although I haven't spoken to him in several years, I know he continued to work well into 2001 still providing the voice for “Gumby

While most people remember the greats of voice over work such as Mel Blanc, Paul Frees, Daws Butler and June Foray, the next time you watch those old cartoons don't forget Dallas McKennon!

No comments: