Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The June Foray

June Foray is still alive, she's 92 and even still working in the voice-over industry that made her famous. She is best known as the voice of many animated characters including both Natasha Fatale and Rocky the Flying Squirrel, Cindy Lou Who, and Jokey Smurf. She was born in 1917, in Boston, the second of three children. She was first on the radio at the age of 12 in a local Radio drama on WBZA.

The WBZA calls are not a typo, but they may be unfamiliar even to Boston-area readers. WBZ and WBZA were sisters stations in Boston. The callsign was first used in in 1924. In March of 1931, WBZ and WBZA swapped call letters moving WBZ to Boston and WBZA to Springfield. WBZA carried a simulcast of WBZ until it went dark in 1962. June claims to have been on the station at the age of 12 that would have been about 1929, which fits right into the window. More here. In an article in Nostalgia Digest she indicated that the first appearance was not on WBZA but another unnamed Boston area station but that WBZA was at least contemporary to the appearance. She was quoted as follows:
"Well my teacher had a radio show and I was on it. Then there was a weekly radio show on WBZA, the local station. They had a group of actors and I had the hubris to call them..."
Her first work in Network radio was about 15 years later in 1943 on Cavalcade of America a program sponsored by DuPont about American history. In 1945 she was on Smile Time, a comedy program on the Don Lee Network and simultaneously on the Buster Brown gang Program on NBC. She went on to appear on Lux Radio Theater and an innumerable list of programs. She appeared on Steve Allen's 15-minute morning program in LA, on 1330 KFAC-AM. In 1948 when Steve Allen launched "It's a great Life" on CBS Radio June came too. She stuck with radio while she moved in to TV work even picked up a spot on the Stan Freberg radio show in 1957 also on CBS.

In 2008 the ASIDFA gave out it's first June Foray award and June was it's first recipient. The award is given to "individuals who have made a significant and benevolent or charitable impact on the art and industry of animation." More recently she made the web 2.0 leap in October 2006, she appeared in the podcast "The Radio Adventures of Dr. Floyd" portraying Susan B. Anthony. Last year she finally wrote her autobiography "Did You Grow Up With Me, Too?"