Saturday, July 29, 2017

JUNE DIES IN JULY - the Queen of Voices, June Foray

Sometimes, June Foray would autograph this image for fans...a collage featuring SOME of her many voices. She nearly reached her 100th birthday in September, but fell a few months short. 

She could be called on for just ONE word. As "Midnight the Cat," for "Smilin' Ed's Gang" and later the TV version, "Andy's Gang," all she had to say was..."Nice!" Some fans of that show might remember the old "Buster Brown Comic Books" that were hawked on the show and given away by the sponsor with each pair of shoes. The artist for the comic books was Hobart Donovan, who also wrote many of the radio scripts for the adventures on the show. She and June were married. He died in 1976.

Foray's most rigorous assignment was probably on the iconic "Bullwinkle Show," where she would routinely switch between chipper heroic Rocky the Flying Squirrel, and the lower, hoarser voice of villainess Natasha Fatale. 

Little girls who grew up playing with one of the first "talking dolls," the Chatty Cathy, were hearing June's voice. In a sinister twist of fate, a "Twilight Zone" episode about an evil talking doll had...yes...June Foray voicing it. 

By the time people began to realize the genius satire behind "Rocky and Bullwinkle," my hero Paul Frees was long gone. June Foray, and for a long time Bill "Bullwinkle" Scott did the interviews, attended the memorabilia show events and delighted fans with a wave, a smile or an autograph. June was well aware of the adulation, which may have been a bore at times. It led to the somewhat tart title of her autobiography, "“Did You Grow Up With Me, Too?” She also penned a pretty amusing book of satiric poems, that some would say recalls the style of Dorothy Parker.

The book traced her life from her beginnings as June Lucille Forer in Springfield, Mass., to her very busy radio career which included "The Jimmy Durante Show," Steve Allen's early "Smile Time" series, and "The Stan Freberg Show" during the waning days of radio. Yes, June supplied the female voices for Stan's Capitol singles including "St. George and the Dragonet." 

Meanwhile, in films, she worked with Disney (Lucifer the Cat in "Cinderella" among others) and for Looney Tunes ("Witch Hazel" and "Granny"). She had fans for her role as Cindy Lou Who in "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" and "Mrs. Caudron" on "The Garfield Show."

She was still active in 2013, voicing "Rocky" for an animated short. "My body is old," she said, "but I think the same as I did when I was 20 years old.”

June's range was just about limitless. She often did a "Marjorie Main" type of coarse harridan, but was more often asked to voice sweet little old ladies or stereotypical witches. No question, the two most unique voices were Rocky and Natasha, and you'll hear them below on "The No-Goodnik Song," which is mostly a duet involving Natasha and Boris Badenov (Frees). She was a legend in her own time.

June Foray
  The No-Goodnik Song with Paul Frees   Instant download or listen on line. No Zinfart passwords, malware or spyware anywhere.

1 comment:

Timmy said...

Definitely a huge talent.