Legendary actress, June Foray, the voice of such renowned cartoon characters as Natasha, Rocky the Flying Squirrel, Witch Hazel and little Cindy Lou Who, will be making a special appearance this evening, January 5th, at the Coffee Gallery Backstage in Altadena at 8 PM and performing in word and song with Will Ryan and the Cactus County Cowboys. Be there or be square!
First awakened by the jingling of a loosened ornament from her Who Christmas tree, little Cindy-Lou Who's plaintive cry of "Why Santy Claus, why," startles the Grinch and one of the great scenes from Chuck Jones' classic "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas" unfolds. The acting is subtle and impressive; Jones often said, "An animator is an actor with a pencil," and no where in this film is that more evident than here.
Original production cel of Cindy-Lou Who with its matching original production background. In the 1970s while the production art from the film was stored at UCLA's film library, a water pipe burst and many pieces suffered water damage as seen in the background of the above piece.
Of course, this post is really about the incomparable June Foray, the voice of Cindy-Lou Who. Chuck Jones writes in his Chuck Reducks, "One of the few misconceptions about June is to think of her wonderful talent as "voice over." Nothing could be further from the truth. June is worthy of the gift-word: actress. She imbues a part with herself, be it a Mama Bear or the deadly cobra Nagaina in Rikki Tikki Tavi. As a vocal Grandma Moses, she brought the redoubtable Granny to life for Friz Freleng; for me, she did the loving mother seal in Kipling's The White Seal. She created three different witches named Hazel for Disney, MGM and Warner Bros., all with different personalities but all with undeniable knowledge of Shakespeare's squacky trio. She could transfer her throat from a sweet Cindy-Lou in How the Grinch Stole Christmas! to a bellowing Red Riding Hood in Little Red Riding Rabbit… From Natasha to (an asexual) Rocky, she dominated Bullwinkle and company for many years. Indeed, she is one of the few actresses I know who would understand John Barrymore's assertion that "an actor cannot say 'pass the butter' without understanding who said it, where it was said, and under what circumstances it was said." In fact–and I speak with the deepest respect for him–I can only compliment Mel Blanc by saying that he could be called the a male June Foray."
Our reception for legendary voice actress, June Foray (Witch Hazel, Granny, Cindy Lou Who, Rocky the Flying Squirrel, Natasha Fatale,) started off with a beautiful sunset over the Tustin Marine Corps Base (just to the southwest of our gallery) and went on into the night with a crowd of collectors & well-wishers. Miss Foray, a vibrant 93 years old, spoke during the evening with hundreds of her fans, food was consumed — there was even music (coming soon!) All-in-all a lovely evening. More video to come, watch this space.
(P.S. that's Craig Kausen, Chuck's grandson, on the left of the last photo.)