Saturday, 25 July 2009

Flappers and The Latest from Cheap Trick

This is going to be a short post. I am only slightly under the weather due to my allergies (I ran out of Zyrtec yesterday and couldn't pick up any until today). On top of that, I've been doing research for another series of articles in this blog, which should begin tomorrow (provided no one dies, that is). I will then leave you with two things.

I have mentioned my fellow blogger Kate Gabrielle and her blogs, Silents and Talkies and Flapperdoodle here before. Well, for those of you who enjoy Kate's Flapperdoodle drawings, I have good news. The blog Down and Out Chic is holding a giveaway where you may win a ll" by 14" print of any of the drawings in Kate's Flapperdoodle Shop. If you have never checked out Kate's Flapperdoodle drawings, please do. Her style reminds me a lot of Edward Gorey, but without the macabre angle.

I also want to mention that Thursday my second favourite band of all time (after The Beatles), Cheap Trick, released their latest album, appropriately titled The Latest. Here are two videos of songs from the album. This first one is a cover of Slade's When the Lights Are Out.



This second video is "Sick Man of Europe." For those of you trivia buffs, "Sick Man of Europe" was one of the names used by Cheap Trick before they became, well, "Cheap Trick.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Yellow Submarine Art Designer Heinz Edelmann & Brenda Joyce, Jane in Many Tarzan Movies


Heinz Edelmann


Graphic designer Heinz Edelmann, who served as art director on the animated film Yellow Submarine, passed yesterday at the age of 75.

Heinz Edelmann was born in Aussig in what was then Czechoslovakia. He attended the Dusseldorf Art Academy. His career as a graphic designer dates to 1958. Starting in 1961 he taught graphic design and illustration at various schools in both Holland and Germany. It was in the Sixties that he became known for his work on posters and magazine illustration. It was Edelmann, along with American contemporary Milton Glaser, who pioneered what would become known as the psychedelic style before even Peter Max.

It was in 1967 that Heinz Edelmann receive a call from Charlie Jenkins, the director of special effects on animated film based on the songs of The Beatles, Yellow Submarine. It was initially planned that Edelman would only work eight weeks during which he would design the look of the movie. In the end Edelmann worked an entire year on Yellow Submarine, often sleeping only four hours a night to complete the project. He was in charge of over 200 artists. In the end, Yellow Submarine would take a toll on Edelmann's health. It took him two years to recover from working on the film.

Although best known for his work on Yellow Submarine, Edelmann did much more . In the Sixties he did illustrations for the German magazine Twen. He also created illustrations for the newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. He designed many book covers for the publisher Klett-Cotta in Stuttgart. Among the book covers he designed was the first cover of the German edition of Lord of the Rings in 1971. He worked in advertising for ten years, much of his time spent at the ad agency Putz in Cologne. He did a great number of posters for public broadcaster Westdeutscher Rundfunk. Heinz Edelmann's style would drift away from the psychedelia he used Yellow Submarine after the Sixties.

As mentioned earlier, Edelmann taught at many schools through the years. Most recently Heinz Edelmann taught design at the Stuttgart Academy of Fine Arts.

In the United States Heinz Edelmann is best known for Yellow Submarine and very little of his other art is recognised in here. That having been said, he should be recognised as one of the best graphic designers of the 20th Century. Indeed, his work in magazines and in advertising is often incredible. Of course, while most of his art is not well known in the United States, it can be certain that he will be remembered here through the incredible work he did on Yellow Submarine.

Brenda Joyce


Actress Brenda Joyce, best known for her role as Jane in many Tarzan movies, passed on July 4 at the age of 92. She was a student at UCLA and part time model when she was signed to 20th Century Fox. She made her film debut in the movie The Rains Came in 1939. She would go onto appear in eleven films, including the Alice Faye vehicle Little Old New York and the Milton Berle comedy Whispering Ghosts. It was in 1945 with the film Tarzan and the Amazons that Brenda Joyce became the second actress to play Jane and one of the few blondes to do so. She would be the only actress to Jane opposite two different actors as Tarzan, playing opposite Johnny Weissmuller for every movie but Tarzan's Magic Fountain in 1949, the first film to feature Lex Barker as Tarzan. She continued to appear in other films as well, including the family drama The Enchanted Forest and such B movie thrillers as The Spider Woman Strikes Back.

Brenda Joyce left acting following Tarzan's Magic Fountain. She moved to Washington D. C. where she worked in the immigration department. In 1971 Joyce appeared as herself in two episodes of Mr. Roger's Neighborhood.

Brenda Joyce was one of those many starlets who never achieved a good deal of success in Hollywood, despite having a good deal of talent. Her performance in The Rains Came was exceptional, and she did well in many other movies. Sadly, it may have been the Tarzan films which doomed her career. Before the Tarzan movies, Joyce played in a wide variety of film genres, including comedies, dramas, and musicals. Following Tarzan and the Amazons, Joyce increasingly appeared in B-movies. Quite simply, in playing Jane, Brenda Joyce may have become typecast. This is sad given her talent. She was a truly lovely and gifted actress who could have had a great career had she simply been given the chance.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Gordon Waller of Peter & Gordon R.I.P.


Gordon Waller, who with Peter Asher formed the Sixties rock duo Peter and Gordon, passed on July 17, 2009 at the age of 64. The cause of a severe heart attack. In 1964 Peter and Gordon had a hit with the Paul McCartney penned "A World Without Love," which went to #1 on both American and British singles charts. Including "A World Without Love," they had a total of nine top twenty hits in the United States.

Gordon Waller was born June 4, 1945 in Braemar, Scotland. It was while attending Westminster School in London that he met one time child actor Peter Asher. Both had an interest in music, although Gordon was more into rock 'n' roll while Peter was more into jazz. Eventually Gordon turned Peter into a rock 'n' roll fan, and the two of them both got guitars. It was not long before they were performing in pubs, coffeehouses, and smaller clubs as Gordon and Peter. It was while they were performing at the Pickwick Club in London that they were spotted by Norman Newell of EMI Records. They were signed to EMI right away.

Peter and Gordon sounded like a British version of the Everly Brothers and had a style that combined rock, blues, folk, and pop. It seems like that they would be successful no matter what. Peter and Gordon had an advantage that other, similar groups did not have in that starting in 1963 Paul McCartney was dating Peter's sister, Jane Asher. It was when they went in for their first recording session that they asked McCartney to finish a song fragment upon which he had been working. That song became "A World Without Love," which went to #1 on both sides of the Atlantic in early 1964. With success in both the United Kingdom and the United States, Peter and Gordon became part of the first wave of the British Invasion which swept the States in the wake of The Beatles. They toured the United Kingdom and appeared on Ready, Steady, Go, Top of the Pops, and Thank Your Lucky Stars. They also toured the United States and appeared on such shows as The Ed Sullivan Show and Where the Action Is. At the peak of their success they toured with The Beatles, Del Shannon, The Rolling Stones, and others.

Following "A World Without Love" Peter and Gordon had several hits on both sides of the Pond. In the United States they hit the top twenty with "Nobody I Know (1964--written by Paul McCartney)," "I Don't Want To See You Again (1964--written by Paul McCartney)," "I Go To Pieces (1964)," "True Love Ways (1965)," "Woman (1966--written by Paul McCartney)," "Lady Godiva (1966)," and "Knight In Rusty Armour (1966). In the United Kingdom they hit the top twenty with "Nobody I Know," "True Love Ways," "To Know You Is To Love You (1965)," "Baby I'm Yours (1965)," and "Lady Godiva."

Sadly by 1967 Peter and Gordon ceased having hits. After "Lady Godiva," none of their singles charted on either side of the Atlantic. In 1968 they parted ways. Peter Asher took over The Beatles' Apple Records A&R department. He signed James Taylor to the label and produced his first album. He would go onto produce albums for artists as diverse as Linda Rondstadt and 10,000 Maniacs. Gordon Waller played the role of Pharoah in a production of Joseph and His Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat at the Edinburgh Festival in 1971. He would go onto appear in the play in both London and Australia, as well as performing for the soundtrack album. Following his success Joseph and His Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, Gordon performed regularly in musical theatre. In 1972 he released a solo album and Gordon. Gordon later formed his own music publishing company. He also scored the television movie James Dean: Race with Destiny, which debuted in 1997.

It was in 2005 that Peter and Gordon reunited for a benefit for ailing Dave Clark Five drummer Mike Smith. They had continued to perform together since that time. Gordon would record the solo album Plays The Beatles in 2007 and Rebel Rider in 2008.

Although largely forgotten today or remembered only as a footnote in Beatles history, Peter and Gordon were not only successful in their day, but one of the best acts to emerge from the British Invasion. Their harmonies recalled The Everly Brothers, but they had a style all their own. It was a blend of rock, blues, and folk that seemed wholly unique to them. Peter Asher himself attributed Gordon Waller with most of their success, stating, "...Gordon was the heart and soul of our duo." While forgotten by many, there is every reason that both Peter Asher and Gordon Waller should be remembered. As for myself, "A World Without Love" and "Lady Godiva" will remain two of my favourite songs from the Sixties.

Monday, 20 July 2009

The 40th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing

Foreword


It was forty years ago today that man first set foot on the moon. Today we tend to take space travel for granted. After all, we have been exploring space for nearly fifty years now. John Glenn first orbited the Earth in 1962. The space shuttle programme is over thirty years old now. Russia's MIR space station has existed for nearly twenty five years. Since 1998 construction on the the International Space Station has been taking place, a joint effort by several different nations. For many people space travel must nearly seem routine today.

This certainly was not the case on July 20, 1969. Both NASA and the Soviet Space Programme were only a little over ten years old. It was only in 1961 that President John F. Kennedy set the goal of reaching the moon by the end of the decade. That NASA actually accomplished this at all is a major accomplishment; that they did it in eight years is extraordinary.

The Apollo Programme Gets Underway


It was on October 4, 1957 that the Soviet Union launched the first man made satellite, a tiny object (only 23 inches in diameter) called Sputnik I. The Soviet's accomplishment spurred the United States into action with regards to space exploration. It was on July 29, 1956 that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, better known as NASA, was established when President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the National Aeronautics and Space Act. It was in 1960 that NASA first conceived a programme that would ultimately take man to the moon. It was on September 1, 1960 that the Apollo Project Office was formed. On May 25, 1961, in a speech before a joint session of Congress, President John F. Kennedy set the goal of placing a man on the moon before the end of the decade. NASA's Apollo programme suddenly became the nation's top priority.

It was on January 10, 1962 that NASA announced plans to build the Saturn C-5 rocket (later renamed the Saturn V), a rocket that would be powerful enough to take man to the moon. By 1966 NASA felt ready to launch their first mission in the Apollo programme. Unfortunately, on January 27, 1967, during a test and training exercise, the command module of Apollo 1 caught fire and was destroyed, killing astronauts Virgil I. "Gus" Grissom, Ed White and Roger B. Chaffee. This resulted in an exensive redesign of the Apollo command module. Although the mission never left Earth, it remained "Apollo 1" at the request of the widows of the astronauts. Strangely enough, there would be no missions officially named "Apollo 2" or "Apollo 2." The next mission would be deemed "Apollo 4." Taking place on November 9, 1967, it was an unmanned flight and the first flight of the Saturn V rocket. Apollo 5, taking place on January 22, 1968, was an unmanned flight of the Lunar Module. Apollo 6, taking place on April 4, 1968, was the second test of the Saturn V rocket.

It was with Apollo 7 that NASA resumed manned Apollo flights. Launched on October 11, 1968, Apollo 7 was essentially a test flight. It was the first NASA mission in which three astronauts took part. It was also hoped that the mission would rebuild confidence in NASA after the Apollo 1 disaster. The mission of Apollo 7 was simple. It was to orbit the Earth for as long as there was enough oxygen and other consumables on board and for as long as it was safe. The mission ultimately lasted eleven days and proved the worthiness of the Apollo programme. Apollo 8 would be an even more daring mission. Launched on December 21, 1968, the mission would see the first time that a spacecraft achieved sufficient velocity to escape the Earth's orbit, the first to orbit another celestial body (the Moon), and the first to escape another celestial body's orbit to return to Earth. The historical significance of Apollo 8 was not lost on either NASA or the media. It became the most covered NASA mission since John Glenn had orbited Earth in 1962. Even the Soviets were impressed, with Boris Nikolaevich Petrov, head of the Soviet Intercosmos programme, describing the flight as "...outstanding achievement of American space sciences and technology." Guesstimates are that one fourth of the population of the Earth saw Apollo 8's Christmas Eve transmission during its ninth orbit around the Moon. Its most famous legacy may be the picture of the Earth rising over the Moon, taken on their forth orbit around the satellite.

The next two missions, Apollo 9 and Apollo 10, were manned missions that included the Lunar Module necessary for landing on the moon. With Apollo 9 and 10 successful, NASA determined that with Apollo 11 it was ready to attempt what would become its greatest achievement, and possibly the greatest achievement in the history of the man: landing on the moon.

The Apollo 11 Mission


With Apollo 11, NASA took no chances with Apollo 11. Commander Neil Armstrong, Command Module Pilot Michael Collins, and Lunar Module Pilot Edwin E. Aldrin, Jr. had flown in space missions before. It was only the second time that NASA used an all veteran crew, the first being Apollo 8. While he had served in the Navy, Neil Armstrong was no longer a military man when he joined NASA. With Gemini 8 he became the first American civilian in space. Michael Collins was an Air Force Major when he flew aboard Gemini 10. By Apollo 11 he was a Lieutenant Colonel. Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin was a Major in the Air Force when he took part in Gemini 12. By Apollo 11 he was a Colonel.

It was Michael Collins who designed the famous patch for the Apollo 11 mission. It was important to Collins that the patch represent a "...peaceful lunar landing by the United States." He then decided upon an eagle holding an olive branch in its beak landing upon the Moon. NASA worried that the eagle looked too much like a symbol of war because of its talons, so they moved the olive branch from its beak to its talons. They also changed the Roman numeral XI to the numeral 11, thinking this would be more universally understood by the nations of the world.

The command module of Apollo 11 bore the call sign of Columbia, a reference to the name of the United States of America used in poetry and song. The lunar module bore the call sign of Eagle, after the national bird of the United States of America. Apollo 11 was launched atop a Saturn V rocket on July 16, 1969 at 9:32 AM Eastern Time, 10:32 Central. It entered Earth's orbit only twelve minutes. It was on July 19, 1969 that Apollo 11 entered the Moon's orbit. It was after thirty orbits around the Moon that the crew of Apollo 11 finally spotted their landing site, the Sea of Tranquillity. It was then on July 20, 1969 that Eagle separated from Columbia and began the descent towards the Moon.

The descent did not take place without a hitch. The Lunar Module's navigation and guidance computer issued several alarms, which computer engineer Jack Garman at Mission Control in Houston determined were only "executive overflows" caused by the computer's inability to process all of its tasks in real time. Another problem arose when the computer was directing Eagle to land in an area filled with boulders. Neil Armstrong corrected took control and landed on the Moon at 4:18 PM Eastern, 3:18 PM Central. Unfortunately, Eagle only had about 25 seconds of fuel left after the landing.

It was Buzz Aldrin who speak the first words from the Moon's surface, "Mode control - -both auto. Descent engine command override off. Engine arm - off. 413 is in"--words related to the Lunar Module's navigation. It was afterwards that Neil Armstrong uttered the famous words, "Houston, Tranquillity Base here. The Eagle has landed." This caused momentary confusion at Mission Control, thrown off guard by Armstrong's shift from Eagle (the call sign while the Lunar Module was in flight) to Tranquillity Base (the call sign used after it had landed). Once Mission Control realised Eagle had landed, they were very relieved.

Aldrin and Armstrong had been scheduled to sleep for six hours after the landing, but thinking they would not be able to sleep they decided to forego it. They then made preparations to leave the Lunar Module. It was at 10:56 Eastern Time, 9:56 Central, that Neil Armstrong began his descent to the Moon's surface. As he was almost ready to step onto the Moon's surface, he described its dust as "...fine and almost like a powder." Upon stepping onto the surface of the Moon, Armstrong uttered the famous words, That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." Armstrong then became the first man to set foot on the Moon. Aldrin followed Armstrong, describing the Moon's surface as "Magnificent desolation."

The astronauts observed that walking on the Moon was very easy, even easier than the simulations they had gone through in training. While on the Moon Armstrong took pictures of the Lunar Module so engineers could better judge its condition after landing on the Moon. He also collected soil samples and panned the Moon's surface with a television camera. Aldrin and Armstrong planted the American flag on the Lunar Surface and then spoke with President Richard M. Nixon through a radio/telephone transmission. Nixon referred to the phone call as "...the most historic phone call ever made from the White House."

While on the surface of the Moon, Aldrin and Armstrong were expected to complete many tasks. The astronauts performed what is called the Solar Wind Composition Experiment, an experiment meant to determine the chemicals composing solar winds. They also collected more soil samples as well as samples of lunar rocks. The astronauts set up Laser Ranging Retroreflector array, which would accurately measure the distance between the Earth and the Moon. They also set up the Passive Seismic Experiment, meant to monitor seismic activity on the Moon.

With the lunar mission a success, Aldrin and Armstrong's next concern would be to return to Earth. The astronauts once more boarded Eagle, along with the various samples they had collected. When entering Eagle, Aldrin accidentally broke the circuit breaker which the main engine used for lifting off from the Moon. NASA was worried that this might keep the engine from firing, effectively stranding the astronauts on the Moon. Fortunately, a felt tip pen was enough to flip the switch. The astronauts settle down to sleep, and after around seven hours they were awakened to leave the Moon. At 1:54 PM Eastern Time, 12:54 noon Central, that Eagle lifted off. They then rejoined Columbia and started their way back to Earth. It was on July 24, 1969 that Columbia splashed down east of Wake Island and south of Johnston Atoll in the Pacific Ocean.

The Legacy of Apollo 11 in Pop Culture


It is difficult to determine the impact of Apollo 11 on Anglo-American pop culture. Much of this problem is due to the fact that well before 1969 the space programme had already had an enormous impact on pop culture in the United States. This can easily be seen in the television shows of the era. Many sitcoms of the time, from Gilligan's Island to Please Don't Eat the Daisies, had episodes which touched upon space in some way. At least two sitcoms dealt with space directly. The main character of My Favorite Martian, Uncle Martin (Ray Walston), was a space traveller from Mars. I Dream of Jeannie dealt directly with the space programme, the master of the genie named Jeannie (Barbara Eden) being Captain (later Major) Tony Nelson (Larry Hagman), an astronaut for NASA. In the mid-Sixties there were two space adventure shows, Star Trek and Lost in Space. In addition to television, the space programme would have an impact on everything from food (Pillsbury's "Space Food Sticks") to toys (Mattel's famous Major Matt Mason action figure). The movies were a bit slow to capitalise on the popularity of the space programme, probably due to the fact that there had been a substantial cycle towards sci-fi movies in the Fifties (which produced movies ranging from Destination Moon to Forbidden Planet). Eventually, even the movies would succumb to the popularity of the space programme. Doris Day's character in The Glass Bottom Boat worked for NASA. Planet of the Apes used a space mission as a means of tossing its characters forward in time. 2001: A Space Odyssey portrayed a world where space travel was part of every day life.

While it is hard to gauge the impact of Apollo 11 on pop culture because NASA had already had such a large impact on it, the lunar landing would have a few immediate effects on pop culture. David Bowie's song "Space Oddity" was rush released on July 11, 1969 to coincide with the Apollo 11 lunar mission. In the United Kingdom it would even be used in BBC's coverage of the moon landing. It gave Bowie his first hit in the United Kingdom, reaching #5 on the charts.

While there can be little doubt that Planet of the Apes and 2001: a Space Odyssey started a new cycle in film towards sci-fi that would last into the early Seventies, it seems possible that Apollo 11 may bear some responsibility in this too. On October 20, 1969, Hammer Films released the space western Moon Zero Two. While the movie was meant to capitalise on the popularity of 2001: a Space Odyssey, one must wonder if the timing if its release had to do with Apollo 11. Sadly, it did not do well at the box office. The film Marooned, based on the 1964 novel by Martin Caidin, was released on November 10, 1969, just four months after the Apollo 11 mission and four days before the launch of Apollo 12. Based in part on actual NASA sketches from the Apollo Applications Programme, the movie became a hit in a large part because of the missions. Released the following day was Dopplegänger (also known as Journey to the Far Side of the Sun), which sought to capitalise on the first Moon Landing with the tagline, "Man has conquered the moon with the epic Apollo 11 flight! Now take another momentous journey!"

Another immediate effect of the Apollo Moon Landing would be on the drink Tang. Tang had first been used by NASA during the Gemini programme. It was not used on Apollo 11, but Tang would take advantage of the lunar missions nonetheless. The moon began figuring prominently in their adverts. In fact, Tang would even offer a toy Lunar Rover (first used on Apollo 15) in the early Seventies. The Apollo programme would also have an impact on other products as well. In 1970 Avon manufactured what they called Moon Flight: the Game, which was basically a bottle of shampoo in the shape of the Apollo Command module and Lunar module. AMT issued an Apollo 11 model kit that included both the Command Module and the Lunar Module. Several other toys capitalising on the success of Apollo 11 were also made during the period.

While it is difficult to determine the immediate impact of Apollo 11 on Anglo-American pop culture, its lasting impact is easier to see. On the Seventies sci-fi series Space 1999, the Eagle Transporters may owe their name to the Eagle lunar module. Based upon those conspiracy theorists who, against all reason, believe none of the Apollo missions ever happened, was the movie Capricorn One. Released in 1978, the movie dealt with a government conspiracy to fake the first landing on Mars.

More recently, Apollo 11 itself was dramatised in the 1996 television movie Apollo 11, the 1998 HBO mini-series From the Earth to the Moon, and the soon to be released film Moonshot. The 2008 animated movie Fly Me the Moon portrayed a highly fictionalised account of three flies who make it to the Moon with Apollo 11. The Apollo 11 mission has been referenced in everything from the movie Independence Day to the TV show Futurama to the TV show My Hero. Perhaps the most lasting effect of Apollo 11 may be the continued popularity of space oriented motion pictures. While much of this may be due to the success of 2001: A Space Odyssey, it is probably no coincidence that the past forty years have seen movies ranging from 1972's Silent Running to this year's Moon (directed by David Bowie's son, Duncan Jones).

Regardless of its impact on pop culture, the Apollo 11 Moon Landing has had a huge impact on history, one that we forty years later may not yet fully understand. The most immediate effect was that it was the Apollo 11 mission inspired many Baby Boomers and Gen Xers to pursue careers in science. Apollo 11 also provided a large number of contributions in science. Through the still operative Laser Ranging Retroreflector array we not only have precise measurements of the distance from the Earth to the Moon, but even in the Moon's orbit. Through the samples of soil and rocks taken from the Moon, we have not only learned a great deal about the Moon, but the Earth itself. The space programme which led to Apollo 11, the Apollo 11 mission itself, and the subsequent Apollo and space shuttle missions have led to advances in fields ranging from medicine to technology.

The most lasting impact of Apollo 11 may be the knowledge that we can explore beyond the Earth. While most of the past forty years NASA has occupied itself with space shuttle missions and robotic missions to Mars and elsewhere, NASA has plans to return to the Moon and even to set up a permanent base there. It is only next month that NASA will test the new Ares rocket, which will take astronauts back to the Moon. This could happen as soon as the next decade. Sometime after 2030 there are plans for man to land on Mars. While there are still those who maintain the Apollo programme was a big waste of money. I myself see it as only the beginning of man's exploration of space. In that case, Apollo 11 is truly one of the most pivotal events in human history.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Dal McKennon, Voice of Many Cartoons, Passes On

Dal McKennon, perhaps best known as innkeeper Cincinnatus on the Sixties show Daniel Boone and the voice of Gumby, passed on July 14. He was 89 years old.

Dal McKennon was born Dallas McKennon (under which he was sometimes billed) in La Grande, Oregon on July 19, 1919. He was a young child when his mother died and he was sent to a farm to live with an uncle and aunt. It was on the farm that he first started mastering the imitation of voices, practising imitating the animals there. While in high school he enrolled in drama classes. He was still in high school when his talent for voices led him to work at a local radio station. He attended the University of Washington for at time, before serving in the Army Signal Corps during World War II. He was stationed in Alaska.

Dal McKennon's first voice work was in the Walter Lantz cartoon Pigeon Patrol in 1942, where he provided the voice for Homer Pigeon. McKennon became one of Latz's favourite voice actors, voicing Buzz Buzzard, Wally Walrus, Homer Pigeon, Dapper Denver Dooley, and many incidental voices. Chances are extremely good that if one has seen a Woody Woodpecker or a Chilly Willy cartoon, then he has heard Dallas McKennon. Dal McKennon's talents were not used by Walter Lantz alone. He also provided the voice for the legendary comic strip characters Tintin and Professor Calculus in the movies De krab met de gulden scharen, De schat van scharlaken rackham, and Het geval Zonnebloem, all released in 1959. His vocal talents were also used by Disney, on such films as Lady and the Tramp, Sleeping Beauty, Mary Poppins, and Bedknobs and Broomsticks.

Dal McKennon received his best known role in 1959 when he became the voice of Gumby. Created by Art Clokey, the clay animation character had debuted on The Howdy Doody Show in 1956 and received his own show in 1957. In the beginning female actors (including Norma MacMillan, beat known as Sweet Polly Purebred on Underdog) voiced Gumby, along with Dick Beals (the voice of Speedy Alka-Seltzer). In 1959 Dal McKennon took over as the voice of Gumby, providing the clay figure's voice until the series ended in 1964. He would provide the voice for Gumby in the Eighties series Gumby Adventures, which debuted in 1988, as well as the voice of Gumby in The Puppetoon Movie (released in 1987). Ultimately, Dal McKennon became the actor most identified with the role.

In the early Fifties Dal McKennon created and hosted his own local children's show, Space Funnies, which aired on KNXT-TV (now KCBS) in Los Angeles. On the show McKennon played the host Captain Jet. He made his live action, feature film debut playing a miner in Bend of the River, released in 1952. His national television debut was a guest appearance the following year on Dragnet. He would have small roles in Good Day for a Hanging, Let No Man Write My Epitaph, Twist Around the Clock, Son of Flubber, The Wheeler Dealers, The 7 Faces of Dr. Lao, Clambake, The Cat from Outer Space, Hot Lead and Cold Feet, and Frozen Assets. He would have larger roles in House of the Damned and The Misadventures of Merlin Jones. He guest starred on such TV shows as The Tall Man, The Untouchables, Gunsmoke, The Virginian, The Rifleman, My Favorite Martian, Wagon Train, The Andy Griffith Show, and Bonanza. McKennon's most famous live action role may be that of Cincinnatus on Daniel Boone. Cincinnatus was a bit of a jack of all trades, filling the role of comic relief, innkeeper, doctor, fisherman, hunter, storekeeper, and trapper in the small village of Boonesborough.

Although he appeared in many live action movies and TV shows, McKennon's meat and potatoes would remain his voice work in animation. He provided the voice of both Courageous Cat and Minute Mouse on the TV show Courageous Cat and Minute Mouse. He also provided the voice for Q. T Rush in the animated series of the same name. On the various TV shows based on the Archie comic books, he voiced Archie Andrews, Hot Dog, Mr. Weatherbee, Pop, and Mr. Cleats. Starting with The Archie Show, the shows included The Archie Comedy Hour, Archie's Fun House, Archie's TV Funnies, The U.S. of Archie, The New Archie/Sabrina Hour, and Archie's Bang-Shang Lalapalooza Show. He also provided voices for the animated features Oliver Twist, Journey Back to Oz, and The Adventures of Mark Twain.

McKennon did voice work for more than animated feature films and TV shows. He was the voices of various characters in commercials for Kellogg's cereals in the Fifties, including Cornelius the Rooster and Snap, Crackle, and Pop. He also provided the voice for animatronics figures in attractions at Disney's theme parks. Among them are Ben Franklin in The American Adventure, Andrew Jackson in The Hall of Presidents, and Zeke in The Country Bear Jubilee. It is McKennon's voice which gives the safety speech on The Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, advising riders to hold onto their hats and glasses.

Although not quite as well known as fellow voice artists Mel Blanc or Alan Reed, there is every reason Dallas McKennon should be. The versatility of his voice can be seen in the range of characters he voiced, from the high pitched tones of Gumby to the lower tones of the Owl in Sleeping Beauty. On the various Archie TV shows alone he played seven different characters. He could be just as versatile as a live action actor. Not only did he play the friendly and funny innkeeper Cincinnatus on Daniel Boone, but several different heavies in Western TV shows (he once joked to an interviewer, "I specialised in barn burnings." Dallas McKennon was both a great voice artist and a great character actor. There is every reason he should be remembered.