Sunday, 1 March 2015

The Golden Dayton Allen

Show business wasn’t the be-all and end-all for Dayton Allen. He was a radio announcer, first at WAAT in New Jersey, then as the host of an occasional, 15-minute show on WINS in 1941, specialising in imitations of Franklin Roosevelt and Groucho Marx. He moved on to cartoon voices at Terrytoons, replacing Sid Raymond as the voices of Heckle and Jeckle. Television came along and, besides voicing commercials, he was one of the stock players on The Steve Allen Show opposite Ed Sullivan. But he wouldn’t go to the West Coast when Allen and the rest of the cast moved, continuing to work in New York until he decided to leave the spotlight behind.

Dayton talked about his non-entertainment interests this syndicated interview taken from the Yonkers Herald-Statesmen of February 5, 1959.

Comic Dayton Allen Likes Finance

Dayton Allen put in 12 years at Terry Tunes, playing the voices of Heckle and Jeckle, plus all the other creatures inhabiting the cartoon world. He impersonated puppets on Winky Dink and Howdy Doody. He’s got about 60 spot commercials going for him on TV. He's the Wise Owl, the voice of a bank and he boasts that he made over $4,000 for less than five minutes work, saying, “The finest beer served anywhere,” on a dozen spot commercials for Pabst.
You'll get a chance to see Dayton Allen for yourself this Sunday night on the Steve Allen Show (they're not related). Will he be doing the commercial: He will not! Dayton Allen will appear in the role of a stand-up comic.
I had a chance to read and hear his routine the other day and if he plays it half as well on the show as he did with his mouth full of roast beef, TV may have another comic on its hands. Allen has a zany, off-beat and irreverent approach to humor which could make him as a comic or cut short his comedy career in a hurry. The Steve Allen spot casts him in the role of a slightly screwball doctor in celebration of National Surgeons Week.
Talking to Dayton, it's almost impossible to believe he's ever done kiddie shows. As he puts it, “The best shows we did were the rehearsals, and they were not for the kiddies!”
It's hard to carry on a straight conversation with the guy, but I found his weak spot. He becomes deadly serious when you turn the discussion to money—gold specifically.
Dayton Allen apparently hears voices when it comes to gold and to the stock market. Actually, he's a dedicated student of economics and, much as he loves show business, would drop it in a hurry to get into finance if the right opportunity came along. Just to prove he has a sincere interest in gold, he and his wife own 400,000 (that's four hundred thousand) shares of Canadian gold stock. “We bought it for pennies,” he said, “and expect it to be worth a dollar or two per share in the very near future.” He went on to advance some frightening (if true) theories on our inflation and on the world's monetary structure.
He denies that there is any connection between his obsessive interest in gold and the fact that he got into show business at the age of sixteen running films for inmates of a mental institution. “I am probably the cheapest guy in the world,” he admits cheerfully. “I didn't know banks had withdrawal slips until I was thirty-two.”

Allen returned to Terrytoons in the ‘60s to voice Deputy Dawg. He also did an astounding cheap-looking five minute syndicated TV show where he played all kinds of characters handing out goofy advice or information; it was designed to be used to fill part of the 15 minutes remaining in a half hour after the network news broadcast. Allen’s brother, Brad Bolke, was a voice-over man as well, and is best known as the voice of Chumley in the Tennessee Tuxedo cartoons.

Allen died in 2004 in North Carolina, where he had been selling property.


  1. Allen did make at least one west coast working trip, when he appeared as Dr. Willoughby on an episode of "The Munsters" (given the New York influences in the cast of the show with Fred Gywnne and Al Lewis, that might have been the impetus to bring Allen 3,000 miles west for a one-shot appearance).

  2. So Bradley Bolke was his brother!!! That explains a lot. Bradley sounds like the slow dumb version of him (his character voices I mean).

  3. 3/8/15 Wrote:
    Interesting to see Dayton Allen, the man behind the voice of Deputy Dawg at his prime. As Allen himself would put it: "Why Not?"

  4. For a time in the late 1950's, Heckle and Jeckle were voiced by Roy Halee (father of the same-named record producer famous for his work with Simon & Garfunkel). This must've been from Allen's sojourn away from Terrytoons.