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Billy Bletcher was an American actor, comedian, and voice artist, perhaps best known as the original voice of Spike the Bulldog in the Tom and Jerry cartoons.

Career

Bletcher ap­peared on-screen in films and later tele­vi­sion from the 1910s to the 1970s, in­clud­ing ap­pear­ances in sev­eral Our Gang and The Three Stooges come­dies.

He was most ac­tive as a voice actor. His voice was a deep, strong and boom­ing bari­tone. Bletcher pro­vided the voices of var­i­ous char­ac­ters for Walt Dis­ney An­i­ma­tion Stu­dios (Black Pete, Short Ghost and the Big Bad Wolf in Three Lit­tle Pigs and its spin-offs). He au­di­tioned to play one of the dwarfs in Dis­ney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937). How­ever, Walt Dis­ney dis­ap­proved for fear that peo­ple would rec­og­nize Bletcher from the stu­dio's Mickey Mouse and Don­ald Duck short subjects.

His boom­ing voice can also be heard as "Don Del Oro" the Yacqi In­dian god in the 1939 Re­pub­lic se­r­ial, Zorro's Fight­ing Le­gion. He also pro­vided voice work for Ub Iw­erks as the Pin­cush­ion man in the 1935 an­i­mated short Bal­loon Land, as well as Owl Jol­son's dis­ci­pli­nar­ian vi­o­lin­ist fa­ther in the 1936 Warner Bros. short sub­ject based on the song I Love to Singa and the men­ac­ing spi­der in Bingo Cros­byana.

In 1939, Billy Bletcher and Pinto Colvig were hired to per­form ADR work for the Munchkins in The Wiz­ard of Oz. In MGM films, he voiced Spike the Bull­dog and on some oc­ca­sions even Tom and Jerry, in Tom and Jerry, and in Warner Bros. many char­ac­ters, most no­tably the Papa Bear of Chuck Jones' The Three Bears. He por­trayed the vil­lain­ous wolf in Lit­tle Red Rid­ing Rab­bit (1944).

Bletcher did voice act­ing for the 1944 Pri­vate Snafu World War II train­ing film "Gas", where Bletcher plays the vil­lain­ous Gas Cloud. Bletcher also played The Cap­tain in Cap­tain and the Kids with MGM car­toons.

In 1950, he played sev­eral char­ac­ters on The Lone Ranger radio pro­gram as well as ap­pear­ing in episode 27 of the TV se­ries.

In 1971, Bletcher played one of his final roles, Pappy Yokum in a tele­vi­sion adap­ta­tion of Lil Abner. In 1978, he was orig­i­nally hired to voice the Weed on The Plas­tic Man Com­edy/Ad­ven­ture Show, but had to drop out due to illness.

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