1967: Plays Eagle Eye in a new, Hanna and Barbera produced, pilot show for TV called We'll Take Manhattan. The plot involved native American Indians laying claim to Manhattan. Walter Woolf King was Harrison Conroy, the president of a New York City Bank who is opening a new headquarters in downtown Manhattan. Then along came Lucas Greystone (played by Dwayne Hickman) followed by Eagle Eye (Allan), Chief Irontail (Ben Blue) and Laughing Brook (Leslie Perkins ). Greystone was an attorney, and the three others are his native American Indian clients: the last members of a tribe who claim they own the land that the bank headquarters is currently residing on. Greystone insists they own it, unless the bank pays them a load of money.
This was an interesting idea for a show, but what would have been the plots for a whole series?
Then it was an appearance in another television pilot show, playing Willie, this time the show was called, Alfred of the Amazon. Also in the cast were Leon Askin, Wally Cox, Paul Hartman, Susan Odin and Mako as Simba. The story concerned the bungling jungle adventures of two men who try to rescue a missing nurse who has been captured by headhunters.
During filming of Alfred of the Amazon Allan experienced the most harrowing thing to ever happen to him, let's here how he described it himself; "We were ready to wrap, it was the last shot of the day. The director wanted to get it in so we could move to another location in the morning. It involved Wally and I standing by a little palm tree. And his line was, "One thing I know about the Chirakawa -- they never attack at night." And with that an arrow comes -- ZONK -- right into the tree between us. The director said, "I'd like to get this in a hurry and then we can move on. I don't have time to rig the arrow on a wire because that's kind of involved, time consuming. So I'll just have whatshisname over here shoot the arrow, the crossbow there, into the tree and we can move on." So I said, "What do you want to do, Wally? I defer to you as the star." He says, "Well, I don't know. How do you feel?" I said, "Well, it's up to you." So he said, "Oh, okay." So we both stood there by the tree about six inches apart and he read the line and the guy shot the arrow into the tree and we wrapped and that was that. It was a moment of concern, I guess, but it all worked out okay."
1968: Allan makes his one and only movie appearance, as a Desk Sergeant, in the family comedy, With Six You Get Eggroll. Here Allan found himself in the same movie as the legendary Hollywood icon, Doris Day.
Also appearing was Brian Keith as Jake Iverson, Pat Carroll as Maxine Scott, George Carlin as Herbie Fleck and Barbara Hershey. Who was making her big screen debut playing Stacy Iverson.
The film was directed by Howard "Ernest T." Morris - he brought with him some of Allan's old friends from The Andy Griffith Show, notably screenwriters Ray Allen and Harvey Bullock. Both working alongside Gwen Bagni and Paul Dubov to create a marvellous screenplay/story.
Plot: Doris Day plays Abby McClure, a widow who owns a lumberyard and who has three sons. Later, she reconnects with old family friend and widower Jake Iverson (Keith) who has a teenage daughter. They start dating and eventually decide to get married. They're not prepared for the hostile reactions from their children, especially Jake's daughter Stacy, who wants to be the woman of the house, and Abby's oldest son Flip, who hates Jake.
Desk sergeant in With Six You Get Eggroll
In interviews given later, Doris Day said that the character she played in this film, Abby McClure, was the "real me" or words similar to that. She said she liked this movie and felt like she was playing a character close to herself. And, she also liked playing a character near to her own age. Doris gave one of her most genuine and understated performances, looked fabulous and Doris and Brian Keith had great chemistry - what a great romantic team they made. It was such a shame this was her last ever movie role following a 20 year career in the movies as her new TV show The Doris Day Show would premier just one month later in September 1968.
Allan would state later that the movie was a lot of fun and that he really enjoyed working with Doris Day and Brian Keith."
Next up he was approached by Hanna-Barbera Productions to provide the voice of a man in a lion's costume. The feline in question was an oddball character called Drooper. The show in question was, The Banana Splits Adventure Hour.
The Banana Splits Adventure Hour
Premiering on NBC on September 7, 1968, the series was an for 31 episodes on NBC Saturday mornings to September 5, 1970. The costumes and sets were designed by Sid and Marty Krofft and the series' sponsor was Kellogg's Cereals.The hosts of the show were Fleagle the Beagle Dog, Bingo the Gorilla, Drooper the Lion (Allan) and Snorky the Elephant. The format of the show was loosely based on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In.
Allan was joined by some familiar voices in the casting of the show:
Fleagle: In costume Jeff Winkless - Voiced by Paul Winchell Bingo: In costume Terence H. Winkless - Voiced by Daws Butler Drooper: In costume Dan Winkless - Voiced by Allan Snorky: In costume James Dove in season 1 song segments & Robert Towers in most other segments (no voice just honking noises) Announcer: Allan Banana Vac: Allan Cuckoo: Paul Winchell Goofy Gopher: Paul Winchell
Allan saw off the year 1968, with another television voiceover this time as Brunik the Wild Hermit. This was in an episode of the Hanna-Barbera directed fantasy cartoon, The Adventures of Gulliver.The show in question was called, The Forbidden Pool. This was basically a modern day version of Jonathan Swift's classic novel of 1726.
Allan was joined in the cast list by Hanna-Barbera regulars Don Messick and Herb Vignan.
Plot: Gary Gulliver and Tag drank from the Forbidden Pool and became as small as the Lilliputians. Captain Leech caught up with the tiny group and forced Gary Gulliver to give up his map. Captain Leech had given Gulliver his word that he'd let them all go eventually, but then he sees that the map is as small as Gulliver, he then forced him and the others to come along with him to read it. Gulliver needs to drink from a spring that comes up only one day every eight years to become big again. But first he'll have to escape Captain Leech. Before Gulliver's unreal adventure is over, Brunik the Wild Hermit (Allan) appeared on the scene and cause trouble. But he'll also provide some help that was unintended.
1969 saw Allan join the cast of the new family comedy show, The Brady Bunch. Here, in this Sherwood Schwartz created show, Allan played Sam Franklin a butcher who dated the Brady's housekeeper, Alice Nelson.
In his recurring role as Sam the Butcher, Allan Melvin was sweet on live-in housekeeper of the Brady clan, Alice. An avid bowling fan, he gave the sassy maid extra discounts on her meat purchases. Sam would continue dating Alice for the next five years.
Sherwood Schwartz began by casting the children. He felt that to simplify which kids belonged to which parent, their hair color would match. Because he did not know who would play the parents, his goal was to find 3 blonde girls, 3 brunette girls, 3 brunette boys, and 3 blonde boys. The children would be cast according to which actors were chosen for the parents. Schwartz has said that Susan Olsen just won his heart on the first interview and that Mike Lookinland was the best actor (though he had blonde hair which was a problem).
The part of Carol was originally going to go to Joyce Bulifant (Marie, Murray's wife on the Mary Tyler Moore Show), but after screen-testing Florence Henderson, he felt she was the lady for the job.
Alice Nelson (Ann B. Davis) & Sam
The Brady clan
Next came Alice: Monty Margetts was originally chosen but after casting Florence Henderson, Schwartz felt that more of a comedienne was needed and thus, Ann B. Davis was cast into the role. Finally, Schwartz originally had Gene Hackman in mind for the role of Mike Brady, but was told by Paramount that Hackman was too much of an unknown at the time and he had never done television. Robert Reed, who had starred in the Defenders, tested for three different tv parts for Paramount. The Brady Bunch was his least favourite, yet he was cast as Dad.
This set the stage for blonde daughters Marcia, Jan and Cindy (Maureen McCormick, Eve Plumb, and Susan Olsen) and brunette sons, Greg, Peter and Bobby (Barry Williams, Christopher Knight, and Mike Lookinland with dyed black hair). They were chosen from over twelve hundred kids, 464 of which Sherwood Schwartz personally interviewed.
Sam Franklin (Allan): While he is frequently mentioned in dialogue, Sam actually appeared in only eight episodes, spanning all the five seasons. 21 November 1969: Sorry, Right Number 6 February 1970: The Big Sprain 12 March 1971: Alice's September Song 7 January 1972: Big Little Man 3 November 1972: The Show Must Go On?? 28 September 1973: Snow White and the Seven Bradys 7 December 1973: The Elopement 15 February 1974: Top Secret
The pilot episode, The Honeymoon, premiered on September 26, 1969 and the show ran for 5 seasons and 117 episodes. The last show, The Hair Brained Scheme, was aired on March 8, 1974.
Since its first airing in syndication in September 1975, an episode of the show has been broadcast somewhere in the United States and abroad every single day of every single year through at least 2008.
Allan said this about his time on this show: "It was fun. The kids were all capable and a lot of fun to work with, very talented, good kids. Ann B. --- there was talk for a while that we were going to get married and maybe a spin-off; nothing ever happened. I think it could’ve worked and I think that, really, they took the show off before they really had to. They went into syndication early with it, I think, because the ratings were still good when they took it off. There’s a tremendous following still."
What else did Allan do in 1969? Well..........
Hanna-Barbera Studios employed Allan to do more voiceover work for them, this time in a cartoon called It's the Wolf!. This toon was originally a reguler segment of the Cattanooga Cats animated television series. In these short animations, Allan would use his dulcet tones for the dog character known as Bristle Hound.
It's the Wolf! followed the comic exploits of a wolf named Mildew (voiced by Paul Lynde), who aspires to catch and eat a sure-footed little lamb named Lambsy (voiced by Daws Butler), but is always thwarted in this plan by the dog Bristle Hound (voiced by Allan). Bristle Hound would apprehend Mildew (usually after hearing Lambsy's cries of, "It's the wool-uff!"), pound him, and toss him sailing into the air, with Mildew screaming a phrase such as "Spoil Sport!" as he flies into the horizon and lands with a thud. Showing modest responsibility, Lambsy never fails to recognize Mildew. In total 22 shows were produced.
Allan also appeared in another segment of Cattanooga Cats when he did the voice of Phineas Foggs' chauffeur, Bumbler in Around the World in 79 Days.
This cartoon was loosely based upon the novel, Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne, this was an adventure segment involving balloonist "Phinny Fogg" (conceived as the son of the main character Phileas Fogg in the novel and voiced by Bruce Watson) and reporter teenagers Jenny (voiced by Janet Waldo) and Happy (voiced by Don Messick), who set out on a globetrotting adventure to sail around the world in 79 days and beat the original record set by Phinny's father.
The trio are in competition for both the record and a US$1,000,000 prize against the sinister Crumden (voiced by Daws Butler), who supposedly was the butler of the original Phineas, aided by Phineas' chauffeur, the idiotic Bumbler (voiced by Allan), and Crumden's pet monkey, Smirky (voiced by Don Messick). Unlike the other segments, Around the World in 79 Days was a serial with a continuing story, however, as with many shows made during this period, it had no specific ending. In total 17 shows were produced.
Between 1969 and 1971 Allan was sighted three times on Love, American Style. The basic format of this show was the ups and downs of love and romance, in America during the late 1960s and early 1970s. It was especially clever that short, hilarious comedy sketches, were included between each mini-episode.
A Happy Days pilot and the animated series called, Wait Until Your Father Gets Home first aired on this show.
The length of the shows varied between 30 and 60 minutes, as the earlier episodes started out at the hour mark, only to cut to a half hour, and still later back up to the hour mark.
1969: Allan appeared in as a bartender in Love and the Modern Wife/Love and the Phonies/Love and the Single Couple in the segment called Love and the Modern Wife.
1970: In Love and the Happy Couple/Love and the Understanding in the segment called Love and the Happy Couple.
1971: In Love and the Bowling Ball/Love and the Check/Love and the Hiccups/Love and the Liberated Lady Boss in the segment called Love and the Bowling Ball.
Over the years Allan did numerous voiceovers and appearances for television commercials. By far the biggest of these was when he acted out the part of Al the Plumber on the Liquid-Plumr® adverts. The makers of this chemical drain opener, The Clorox Company, liked Allan so much that they kept him on as the figurehead of their advertising campaign for the next 10 years! Interestingly, all the ads were directed by a very good friend of Allan, Howard Morris.
1970: Allan pops up as Mister Wheeler in an episode of Green Acres called The Cow Killer........
Then it was back to voiceover work by providing the impressions for the live action puppet movie, Pufnstuf. Here he voiced H. R. Pufnsnuf (a talking dragon who is also the mayor of Living Island), the West Wind, the Living Island Boat, the Polkadotted Horse and the Stupid Bat.
Allan was reunited with some old friends when he played Earl in an episode of Mayberry R.F.D. called Hair. This series was a continuation to The Andy Griffifth Show. The producers decided that instead of finishing the TAGS show completely, they would instead continue it with more or less the same cast except for the lead roles.
Two spots on the comedy show Arnie followed - firstly as Moe in The Friendship Gap and in 1971 as Mr. Towbin in The Giftof the Majors. In early 1971: a new comedy show was launched on the CBS television network, that show was called All in the Family.
In the UK Allan Melvin is fondly remembered for his role as Henshaw on The Phil Silvers Show - yet in America most people recognize him for his roles on this monster-hit of a sitcom and it's equally hilarious sequel.
All in the Family was originally broadcast on CBS from January 12, 1971 to April 8, 1979. In September 1979, the show was revamped, and given a new title, Archie Bunker's Place. This version of the sitcom lasted another four years, ending its run in 1983. Produced by Norman Lear, the show was loosely based on the BBC television comedy series Till Death Us Do Part.
The main character, Archie Bunker (Carroll O'Connor) being based on his British counterpart, patriarch Alf Garnett (Warren Mitchell).
Some of the differences between the British and American shows:
On All In the Family, Else′s counterpart Edith was a dingbat, and loyal and loving wife, Else Garnett was a smart, but long suffering woman who was bitter about her unhappy marriage and smoked heavily. She often lashed out at her husband and often her family due to her poor living situation.
On AITF, Mike and Archie Bunker were always at odds and rarely got along. In Till Death Us Do Part, Alf and Mike while never agreeing with each other, were civil to each other for the most part and often when to the pub together. Alf and Mike also attended the world cup together and Mike was protective of his father-in-law.
Where the Bunkers were living in comfortable surroundings despite their working class status, the Garnetts lived in a poor housing area in lower class Wapping.
Archie and Barney Hefner
All in the Family broke ground in its depiction of issues previously considered unsuitable for U.S. network television comedy, such as racism, homosexuality, women's liberation, rape, miscarriage, breast cancer, menopause and impotence.
In the yearly Nielsen ratings from 1971 to 1976, the show ranked number 1. As of 2010 it has, along with The Cosby Show and American Idol, been one of only three shows to top the ratings for at least five consecutive seasons.
Allan had previously worked with producer, Norman Lear on the TV pilot Barnaby and Mr O'Malley. This meeting planted seeds that eventually led to him getting a part on this show.
The very first time Allan appeared on All in the Family, in the episode called Archie in the Lock-Up (first aired 2 October 1971), it was as Sergeant Paul Pulaski of the New York Police Department. In this show Archie came down to the police station and made rude remarks about the Polish and Allan as Pulaski promptly threw him in the can!!
It was a few months after this that Allan was reincarnated as Barney Hefner. He even remained with the show when it was changed to Archie Bunker's Place. Only the main star, Carroll O'Connor (Archie) stopped in the series longer.
Allan said this in the early 1970s: "I went in the same season from Pulaski to Barney Hefner. I think they make allowances for the fact that the audience will accept certain changes. I guess they figure since it was a one-shot I wasn't that established. I've been Barney ever since."
Few characters on television ever seem to have jobs, but Barney Hefner was a bridge inspector. Although he seemed never to work at it. In fact he never seemed to inspect any bridges! All he ever said was that they were safe......probably how he got to spend so much time with Archie!!
As Archie's oldest friend, Barney was very much like him in terms of his thinking and values. But not to the extreme that Archie goes to......he was more temperate. He was married to a woman named Mabel but Mabel died (during the 1975-1976 season) and Barney married Blanche (played by Estelle Parsons). Blanche left Barney numerous times, always for repairmen and exterminators. Barney divorced her in 1979, but Blanche was the only one to gain anything out of the divorce, with Barney being ordered to pay alimony.
All in the Family Awards:
Emmys: Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series – Carroll O'Connor, 1972, 1977–1979 Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series – Jean Stapleton, 1971, 1972, 1978 Outstanding Actress in a Supporting Role in a Comedy Series – Sally Struthers, 1972, 1979 Outstanding Actor in a Supporting Role in a Comedy Series – Rob Reiner, 1974, 1978 Outstanding New Series – Norman Lear, 1971 Outstanding Comedy Series – Norman Lear, 1971, 1972, 1973 (with John Rich); Mort Lachman and Milt Josefsberg, 1978 Outstanding Direction in a Comedy Series – John Rich, 1972; Paul Bogart, 1978 Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series – Burt Styler, 1972; Michael Ross, Bernard West and Lee Kalcheim, 1973; Bob Weiskopf, Bob Schiller, Barry Harman and Harvey Bronsten, 1978 Outstanding Live or Tape Sound Mixing – Norman Dewes, 1972 The show was also nominated an additional 34 times.
Golden Globes: Best TV Actor, Musical/Comedy – Carroll O'Connor, 1972 Best TV Actress, Musical/Comedy – Jean Stapleton, 1973, 1974 Best Supporting Actress, Television – Betty Garrett, 1975 Best TV Show, Musical/Comedy – 1972–74, 1978
There were also 21 nominations.
"I had worked with Norman (Lear) on a pilot called Barnaby and Mr O’Malley a few years prior to this and I enjoyed working with him and found he was a creative guy, and then had the opportunity later of doing All in the Family which was, of course, a great departure from anything that had existed before. The show broke new ground for a new wave in television, the Bunkers were the first REAL family in TV and it was exciting to be a part of this honest and forthright transition to reality. It was a great cast and everyone's input was welcomed. I was Carroll O'Connor's friend and neighbor on the show and I still am today. Working with Carroll and Jean was an experience, and I guess what really impressed me the most was the sense of freedom of thought and expression, so that you weren’t channelled in like you were in so many shows prior to that.
The thinking was very loose at the table; you could sit around and contribute and if they liked it they put it in, if not they’d reject it. But you had a sense of being able to participate and I thought that was very effective. I think that showed in the show itself, there was a relaxed kind of attitude with everybody and I think they profited by that. I remember Cliff Norton on one episode on Archie Bunker's Place; he was playing my lawyer when I was suing Archie. I had fallen off a barstool. He had a lot of this legalese and doctor junk that he had to memorize about the lower lumbar region and sacroiliac, and he got through it beautifully, did it all in one take and then they said, "Cut and print." and "boy, was that beautiful." We were all relaxed and telling jokes then, waiting for the next set-up, when suddenly the director came over and said, "Say, you know Cliff, I think I'd like to shoot this scene again from that angle over here." Well now that stuff leaves your mind once you've accomplished it. It's like climbing a mountain -- once you're up there, you know, you can forget all about it, which he did. And his eyes spun, I saw his face, and he had to try it again and then we were in deep trouble. He started to go and go and go, and had to break, and finally we got it, but it's so nervous a time for the actor, very difficult. Of all the characters I've played, Barney Hefner was the easiest one to get into. He was a lot like Allan Melvin, he's sort of just relaxed and goofy and laid back and a little dumb, the clothes were comfortable and the role was and the people I worked with were." Allan Melvin speaking after the show ended its run.
1972: Stars alongside Van Johnson in a TV pilot, Man in the Middle. VJ played Norman the father of a conservative family with Allan as Norman's business partner, Harvey.
The TV series called The ABC Saturday Superstar Movie featured Allan in two of their segments; firstly in Yogi's Ark Lark he made a comeback as Magilla Gorilla and contributed with some additional voices too. Then he featured as Drooper on the animated version of The Banana Splits in Hocus Pocus Park. For some reason Allan's voice for Drooper changed halfway through the show. There was quite a few lines in this show that are definitely not him, but someone doing a very poor imitation. Maybe there was a problem with the voice recording, and some of the lines had to be reedited........and the original artists, Allan and Howard Morris, who provided the voice of Hocus, had other prior commitments. Not sure..........
Allan joined the cast of a charming animated comedy about the Boyles, a lovable dysfunctional American family living in the suburbs of Los Angeles in the early 1970's. That show was called, Wait Till Your Father Gets Home. A sort of milder version of the modern day Simpsons!!
The series was created by Harvey Bullock and R. S. Allen - executively produced by Hanna-Barbera. First broadcast in the United States from 1972 to 1974, it showcased the generation gap clashes between dad Harry (voiced by Tom Bosley) and his three modern day kids, Chet, Alice and Jamie.
The show was the first primetime animated sitcom to run for more than a single season since another family comedy, The Flintstones. Funny how Allan was prominent on both of these shows!
Allan provided voices for three of these animated shows. They were: Season 1, Episode 5: Help Wanted aired 10 October 1972 Voice: Rep for Chicano Movement - Season 1, Episode 24: The Neighbors aired 20 February 1973 Voice: Charlie - Season 2, Episode 15: Papa the Coach aired 25 December 1973 Voice: Mr Adler
1973: Allan voiced Magilla Gorilla for a few more Yogi's Gang toons - they were Mr Bigot, Mr Sloppy (here he contributed the title characters voice - full name, Mr I.M. Sloppy). and Lotta Litter (here he also did the tones for the Chief Ranger).
Of course, during the runs of All in the Family and Archie Bunker's Place Allan still kept up his television voiceover work. In 1974 he worked on the theatrical cartoon, Hoot Kloot providing a host of different impressions for this western themed DePatie-Freleng Enterprises produced animated series. This cartoon show eventually secured a spot on The Pink Panther Show.
Sheriff Hoot Kloot
Next up for Allan was more impressions for These Are the Days. This was an animated television series from Hanna-Barbera, originally broadcast on ABC from September 7, 1974, to September 27, 1975. Although critically acclaimed, the series only lasted 16 total episodes. Set at the turn of the century, in an old town called Elmsville. It portrayed the everyday lives of the Day family, which consisted of a widow and her three children, along with her father (the kids grandpa). Each episode featured the various family members and their interaction with friends and neighbors, usually ending with a lesson learned. The show ran in a similar fashion to the popular television show The Waltons.
Allan then managed to get himself into the world of martial arts!
Firstly he did numerous voices and noises for The Great Grape Ape and Hong Kong Phooey - the title character being the "number one super guy" who travels about the city in his Phooeymobile, fighting crime with the aid of his manual, The Hong Kong Book Of Kung Fu......in this animated series Allan was reunited with his old Bilko show friend, Joe E. Ross who voiced the part of Sergeant Flint.
Then in 1975, Allan was again given the chance to sharpen his martial arts skills......when he appeared behind the microphone, as a Demon, in One Step to Darkness. This was an episode of the Emmy Award winning show Kung Fu. The Demon fought against David Carradines character, Kwai Chang Caine.
Allan Melvin's face had become very familiar to millions of people over the past 30 years. But it is perhaps his voice that had put him on an even higher pedestal. Magilla Gorilla being his best known voice-over portrayal.
From 1975, these are the KNOWN television shows that used the dulcet tones of Allan:
1975: The Secret Lives of Waldo Kitty Released 6th September Voice: Tyrone the bulldog
Waldo Kitty and his girlfriend Felecia were cats who were constantly bullied by the bulldog, Tyrone. Each episode of this cartoon featured wraparound live-action segments of two cats and a bulldog playing the parts, with voiceovers. Waldo would inevitably be bullied by Tyrone and begin wishing he was a famous character, and the scene would shift to a cartoon version of whichever character he wished to be.
Wacky and Packy Released November 01 The modern day animated adventures of a caveman and his mammoth. Voices: Announcer / Caveman Wacky / Mammoth Packy
The Tiny Tree Released 14 December
A delightful seasonal tale about a little girl who is injured in an accident and confined to a wheelchair. When Christmas arrives, the forest animals decorate a small tree outside her window to give her a happy holiday. The Tiny Tree was co-produced by DePatie-Freleng Enterprises and Bell System Family Theater. Apart from Allan, Its strong cast included Buddy Ebsen, Paul Winchell, Janet Waldo and Frank Welker. The special was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Any Area of Creative Technical Crafts. Despite this, for some reason, it has never had an official video release.
1976: Voice work comes for Allan on The Scooby-Doo/Dynomutt Hour........here, in the Dynomutt segment of the show, he used his vocal chords as Grub in the episode called The Day and Night Crawler. He also did a few imitations for the Scooby Doo side of the hour too! This year also saw Allan provide additional voices for the Columbo-like series, The Mumbly Cartoon Show.