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Bradley Bolke, who provided the voice of Chumley the walrus opposite Don Adams on the Tennessee Tuxedo cartoons of the 1960s, has died. He was 93.
Bolke died Tuesday in Dobbs Ferry, New York, Rick Goldschmidt, the official historian and biographer for Rankin/Bass Productions, told The Hollywood Reporter.
Bolke played the dimwitted Chumley, the South Pole sidekick to Adams’ wise-cracking penguin, on Tennessee Tuxedo and His Tales, which aired on CBS from 1963-66 and then for years afterward in reruns. The duo resided in the Megapolis Zoo, and when they had a problem, they consulted with their friend Phineas J. Whoopee, the “Man With All the Answers.” (Larry Storch voiced Whoopee.)
Bolke also portrayed shoe-pounding Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev on the landmark comedy album The First Family, which was recorded in front of a live studio audience on Oct. 22, 1962, the same night that President John F. Kennedy was delivering a television and radio speech on the Cuban Missile Crisis to the American people.
The First Family, with Vaughn Meader voicing JFK, was a sensation, selling more than a million copies a week in its first six weeks and winning the Grammy Award for album of the year.
Bolke also is heard every holiday season as the big-nosed elf Jangle Bells on the Rankin/Bass stop-motion classic The Year Without a Santa Claus, which premiered in 1974 and starred Mickey Rooney as Santa and Shirley Booth as Mrs. Claus.
“It turned out to be a classic, but it’s the same thing with The First Family. It was another job,” Bolke said in a 2012 interview with The Journal News of White Plains, New York. “You come home and you don’t realize it’s going to become a classic.”
A native of Mount Vernon, New York, Bolke also did the voices of the Ghostly Trio for ABC’s The New Casper Cartoon Show, which ran on Saturday mornings in the ’60s and starred Norma MacMillan as the friendly ghost.
His late brother was Dayton Allen, who played a “man on the street” on Steve Allen programs, voiced Deputy Dawg in cartoons and was Phineas T. Bluster on The Howdy Doody Show.
Survivors include a niece.
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