TÊTE À TÊTE WITH AN ANOMALY:

Walter Tetley Enter now this chamber of the home page, and meet a man, whom surely only an extremely small percentage of the population knows anything about. Walter Tetley was born June 2, 1915 in New York City. Some of the earliest information, that I know about him, is that, even when he was well into his twenties, in the 30s and the 40s, he was still playing boys in the movies. This, coupled with the fact that he portrayed a perfect child-like voice, for Mr. Peabody's side-kick, Sherman, when he was already well into his forties, leads me to two conclusions.

I always knew that Walter's voice had to be really quite high, in real life, since there was not even the tiniest trace, of a grown man, behind Sherman. The quality of Sherman's voice had yet one other characteristic, that made Walter a rare commodity.Sherman was 100% all boy. Many boyish cartoons, have been voiced by women, over the years. Though many of these actresses have done a good job, if you listen, very carefully, you can detect the tell-tale sign that the voice is, in fact, female. Not so,with Tetley's Sherman. Not only was there not the slightest trace of a man, but there was not the slightest trace of an adult PERIOD (or a young girl, either, for that matter). As I said, Sherman was 100% all boy.

When I later read, in 2000, about the fact that he was still playing boys, at a time when he was in his mid to late twenties, I realized my second conclusion.........that, not only did this grown man talk very much like a boy, but he probably was quite small (and most likely had a "baby face"). Thus history was made, and his fate was sealed, that he would NEVER become a "movie star". Yet his juvenile voice did land him a spot, in the Animation Hall of Fame, when he decided, on that fateful day, in 1959, to provide the voice of Sherman...........everybody's all American, bookish, boy scout-like hero. He was 44-49 years old, when he breathed life into that foil of Mr. Peabody..........In doing so, he was the rarest, of anomalies, among grown men...............

Long before he did cartoons, he still had enough work to keep him busy, in Hollywood. Besides the occasional film role, he was popular, as a child impersonator in the medium of radio. It is actually here where Walter attained his greatest fame and his strongest following of loyal and devoted fans. Most records show that he dabbled in radio, for the very first time, somewhere around the mid to late 30s. Then, beginning in the early 40s, he played Leroy, in the radio series, The Great Gildersleeve. In this show, Tetley played the loveable, little nephew, of the character of the title name. He played this role for at least 13 years (some accounts say longer----as long as 17 years).

During this same general era, he also played another puerile character: Julius, on The Phil Harris and Alice Faye Show. Julius was known for having a "much rougher edge" and a nastier disposition, than Gildersleeve's Leroy. For many more interesting details, on Walter's radio career, (much of which was provided through the generosity of our readers), visit our feature, Peabody's Pony Express

Another noteworthy fact, about Walter's pre-animation career ("pre-animation", as far as Jay Ward Productions, is concerned): in the early 50s he was tapped, by Capitol Records, to record many of the juvenile voices, for their children's and adult's albums.

Finally.......a footnote, regarding his his career in the animation field: Tetley actually did do at least a few cartoon voices, even as far back as the 40s and the 50s. According to Keith Scott, in his book, The Moose That Roared, Walter did at least one cartoon, for the Warner Brothers Studios, in the 1940s. Never mind the fact that the credits always say that Mel Blanc did everything.......There were many, many voice artists, over the years, besides Blanc, who did voices, but were never credited. The reason for this was because Mel's contract indicated that he would get exclusive credit for all voices.



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