I received an email a few days ago from the daughter of Dallas McKennon, saying that he had passed away this week, just short of his 90th birthday. Dallas was a respected voice artist, well-known in the animation world for providing voices to hundreds of cartoons characters. Dallas was best known for voicing characters such as Gumby, Archie and Buzz Buzzard and also voicing many Disney characters in films such as Sleeping Beauty, One Hundred and One Dalmatians, Mary Poppins, Lady and the Tramp,
and Bedknobs and Broomsticks
. One of his lesser-known roles was playing the voice Tintin in several of the Belvision/Larry Harmon animations.
I was privileged to have had contact with Dallas and his family some years ago whilst I was researching about Tintin. I sent them some sound clip samples of the 1960s Belvision/Larry Harmon cartoons and he identified his voice in several of them. They were very polite and helpful and also sent me a nice photo of Dallas, as he looked at the time the cartoons were produced. The cartoons stories which included Dallas's voice were The Secret of the Unicorn/Red Rackham’s Treasure, The Shooting Star
and The Black Island
Whilst Dallas voiced Tintin (as well as Snowy and a few other characters), Paul Frees – another legend of the voice-over – supplied Captain Haddock and the bulk of the other character’s voices. In a book about Paul Frees (called “Welcome, Foolish Mortals...The Life and Voices of Paul Frees”) Dallas mentions that he and Paul Frees added the voices at a studio called ‘Radio Recorders’ which is where Elvis Presley recorded many of his hits. Dallas also recalls how he fell out with Paul Frees during one Tintin recording session – apparently Frees had quite a legendary ego! – but they got along very well after that.
I hope some of my fellow Tintinologists who enjoyed (or indeed, still enjoy) those old cartoons and hearing his chirpy, cheerful-sounding voice will join me in raising a glass of Loch Lomond (or whatever you happen to be quaffing) to Dallas McKennon, one of the great voices of Tintin.
Dallas McKennon R.I.P.