Sunday, April 18, 2010

Allen Swift 1924-2010

Allen Swift, kids show host and voice actor, has died at the age of 86. The death was reported by animator Gene Deitch, who noted that Swift was "the last of my American buddies" and frequently visited Swift on trips to New York City from his home in Prague.

Deitch used Swift quite a bit in his cartoons. Here's a fun example, a 1962 Tom and Jerry cartoon called "Dicky Moe". Deitch made 13 T&J cartoons in Prague with varying results - it's said that the animators only watched about five of the Hanna-Barbera cartoons to get the characters down. But when Deitch played with the Tom and Jerry formula, the results were better than if he just stuck to the cat-and-mouse chases. Every so often he'd call in Allen Swift to do some dialogue in the otherwise silent cartoons and that made the cartoons so much more interesting.

(This is the English version. Leave it to me to link to a version that doesn't even have Allen Swift in it!)

In addition to being in cartoons, Swift also presented them, on a kids show for Channel 11 in New York, as "Captain Allen Swift", presenting a daily dose of Popeye cartoons. Swift's voice work eventually took him away from TV hosting and his replacement was that fine old Irishman, Captain Jack McCarthy.

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