About Winstead Sheffield Weaver
Winstead Sheffield Weaver (May 11, 1911 – January 17, 1983), who used the professional name Doodles Weaver, was an American actor and comedian on radio, recordings, and television. He was the brother of NBC executive Sylvester "Pat" Weaver and the uncle of actress Sigourney Weaver.
Born in Los Angeles, Weaver was given the nickname Doodlebug by his mother when he was a child. He attended Stanford University, where he engaged in numerous pranks and practical jokes. He was a contributor to the Stanford Chaparral humor magazine.
Radio and recordings
On radio during the late 1930s and early 1940s, he was heard as an occasional guest on Rudy Vallée's program and on the Kraft Music Hall.
Weaver signed on in 1946 as a member of Spike Jones's City Slickers band. He was still appearing with Jones in the 1958 NBC variety show Club Oasis. Weaver was heard on Jones's 1947-49 radio shows, where he introduced his comedic Professor Feetlebaum (which Weaver sometimes spelled as Feitlebaum), a character who spoke in Spoonerisms. Part of the Professor's schtick was mixing up words and sentences in various songs and recitations as if he were suffering from myopia and/or dyslexia. Weaver toured the country with the Spike Jones Music Depreciation Revue until 1951. The radio programs were often broadcast from cities where the Revue was staged. One of Weaver's most enduringly popular recordings is the Spike Jones parody of Rossini's William Tell Overture. Weaver gives a close impression of the gravel-voiced sports announcer Clem McCarthy in a satire of a horse race announcer who forgets whether he's covering a horse race or a boxing match ("It's Girdle in the stretch! Locomotive is on the rail! Apartment House is second with plenty of room! It's Cabbage by a head!"). The race features a nag named Beetlebaum, who begins at long odds, runs the race a distant last—and yet suddenly emerges as the winner.
In 1966, Weaver recorded a novelty version of "Eleanor Rigby"—singing, mixing up the words, insulting, and interrupting, while playing the piano.
Weaver was a contributor to the early Mad, as described by Time's Richard Corliss:
Among the funny stuff: Doodles Weaver's strict copyediting of the Gettysburg Address, advising Lincoln to change "fourscore and seven" to eighty-seven ("Be specific"), noting that there are six "dedicates" ("Study your Roget"), wondering if "proposition" isn't misspelled and, finally exasperated, urging the writer to omit "of the people, by the people, and for the people" as "superfluous."
Films and TV
Appearing on The Colgate Comedy Hour, Weaver did an Ajax cleanser commercial with a pig, and the audience reaction prompted the network to give him his own series. In 1951, The Doodles Weaver Show was NBC's summer replacement for Sid Caesar's Your Show of Shows; it was telecast from June to September with Weaver, his wife Lois, vocalist Marian Colby, and the comedy team of Dick Dana and Peanuts Mann. The show's premise involved Doodles dealing with an assignment to stage a no-budget television series using only the discarded costumes, sets, and props left behind by more popular network TV shows away for the summer.
He also hosted several children's television shows. In 1965, he starred in A Day with Doodles, a series of six-minute shorts sold as alternative fare to cartoons for locally hosted kiddie television programs. Each episode featured Weaver in a first-person plural adventure (e.g., "Today we are a movie actor"), portraying himself and, behind false mustaches and costume hats, all the other characters in slapstick comedy situations with a voiceover narration and minimal sets. The ending credits would invariably list "Doodles... Doodles Weaver" and "Everybody Else... Doodles Weaver."
He portrayed eccentric characters in guest appearances on such TV shows as Batman (where he played The Archer's henchman Crier Tuck), Land of the Giants, Dragnet 1967, and The Monkees. He appeared in more than 90 films, including The Great Imposter (1961), Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds (as the man helping the Tippi Hedren character with her rental boat), Jerry Lewis's The Nutty Professor (1963), Pocketful Of Miracles (1961) and, in a cameo, It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963). He appeared in Six Pack Annie in 1975. His last movie was Under the Rainbow (1981).
The four-DVD collector's boxed set Spike Jones: The Legend was released October 30, 2007. It features Weaver's appearances on 1951-52 Spike Jones TV specials.
Weaver took his own life at age 71 on January 17, 1983, via a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Rudy Vallée delivered the eulogy at his funeral.
Weaver's book, Golden Spike, remains unpublished.