June Foray, the most famous female voice artist of all time — check her Wikipedia page to see the astounding number of characters she’s played since she started in 1937! — turned 99 years old yesterday.
My friend Mark Evanier, who has known June for a long time (and hired her many times, in addition to helping her write her autobiography) posted another entry about her on his blog for her birthday, and I realized it was about time I shared my own June Foray story.
On September 23, 1988, I had the honor of having June in the studio of the morning show I then hosted on WCXR/Washington, DC. She was in town to appear at a local animation gallery that was selling some cels from the original run of the series. I knew the store owner, who called and asked if I wanted to have June stop by. It took but a micro-second for me to answer yes.
On the morning in question, June was accompanied by a voice artist from Alexandria, Virginia, named Kerry Joels. They brought a copy of one of the original “Rocky and Bullwinkle” scripts from the early 1960s to do on the air. June was going to read the parts of Rocky and Natasha, while Kerry would be Bullwinkle and Boris (originally voiced by Bill Scott and Paul Frees, respectively). Since I’d seen all the “Rocky and Bullwinkle” shows over and over while growing up, I was thrilled — even more so when June told me I could read the part of the narrator (originally voiced by William Conrad).
I chatted on the air with June about her career for several minutes (sadly, the audio of that conversation is lost), took a commercial break, and then we launched into the script. We didn’t have a chance to rehearse, but I knew that, to maintain the spirit of Jay Ward’s original productions, our pacing would have to be quick if the bit was going to work. Fortunately, I saved that portion of the show in my audio archives, and present it here for the first time since we performed it live on that memorable morning 28 years ago.