via the new york times.
Sheldon Allman, a songwriter and actor who was the singing voice of Mr. Ed and composed the theme songs to “George of the Jungle” and other television shows, died on Jan. 22 at his home in Culver City, Calif. He was 77.
The cause was heart failure, his family said.
In “Mr. Ed,” the popular sitcom about Wilbur Post’s talking horse, the voice of the title character was provided by Allan Lane. But whenever Mr. Ed sang, it was with the voice of Mr. Allman, who also wrote all of his own songs, like “The Pretty Little Filly With the Pony Tail” and “The Empty Feed Bag Blues.”
Mr. Allman also wrote the theme music for “Let’s Make a Deal” and for the cartoons “George of the Jungle,” “Super Chicken” and “Tom Slick,” which were parts of a half- hour animated series that had its debut in 1967. The program was short lived, with only 17 episodes produced, but it found popularity largely because of the comic theme to “George of the Jungle,” which repeatedly warned the clumsy vine swinger to “watch out for that tree.”
When a live-action film of “George” was made in 1997, starring Brendan Fraser, the one-minute tune was recorded by a trendy rock band, the Presidents of the United States of America, and integrated into the film’s full score.
Mr. Allman wrote the three cartoon themes with Stan Worth in one productive afternoon in 1967.
“Stan came over to my house,” Mr. Allman recalled in 1997. “We started at 1 o’clock, and by 4 o’clock we had three songs.”
In 1960 Mr. Allman made a comedy album, “Sing Along With Drac,” on which he sang monster-theme parodies of popular songs, including “Fangs for the Memory.”
He also collaborated with Bobby Pickett, the singer of “Monster Mash,” on a musical about Frankenstein, Dracula and the Wolfman called “I’m Sorry, the Bridge Is Out, You’ll Have to Spend the Night,” which bears a resemblance to the 1970’s film “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” but was written in 1966.
Mr. Allman, who was born in Chicago, moved to Los Angeles in 1949 and began writing music, singing in nightclubs and acting in film and television. He appeared in the films “In Cold Blood,” “Dirty Harry,” “Hud” and “All the President’s Men,” and in the television shows “Little House on the Prairie,” “The Twilight Zone” and “I Dream of Jeannie.”
He is survived by his wife, Dr. Lorraine Allman; a daughter, Anne Allman Huddleston of Los Angeles; and a brother, Sam Allman of Vancouver, British Columbia.