March 18 is the anniversary of the birth of Edward Everett Horton. It’s possible that you don’t know who he is, but nearly everyone over the age of 50 will be familiar with his voice. He was the narrator of the Fracture Fairy Tales from the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show.
Horton was born in 1886 and died 84 years later on September 29, 1970. He had a long entertainment career beginning on the Vaudeville stage in 1906 then on Broadway, motion pictures, radio and television.
Even though he is perhaps best remembered for his narration of Fracture Fairy Tales, he is also considered a master of the supporting role, appearing in many films of the 1930’s. His film career began in silent pictures with his last role in the film Cold Turkey, released after his death. He also appeared as Medicine Man Roaring Chicken in the 60’s TV series F-Troop.
Horton developed his own variation of the double-take for his supporting roles. He would smile and nod in agreement when encountering a possible embarrassing situation and once he realized what was happening his face turned into a sober, trouble mask.
Edward Everett Hale, author of The Man Without a Country was Horton’s grandfather and he was named after him. Horton used his full name as his stage name through the encouragement of his father, who said there may be others using the name Edward Horton, but no one else else would be using Edward Everett Horton.
After his death the city of Los Angeles named a street in the district where he lived Edward Everett Horton Lane in his honor.