DID YOU GROW UP WITH ME, TOO?
by June Foray, with Mark Evanier & Earl Kress
Reviewed by Steven H Silver
There is also a good chance that you don't know the name "June Foray," but you've probably heard her voice hundreds of times in your life. Chances are that you've never, or only rarely, heard her speak in her normal voice. However, if you grew up in the sixties watching The Bullwinkle Show, or the seventies with the animated Horton Hears a Who, or the eighties with Adventures of the Gummi Bears, you can answer in the affirmative the title of Foray's autobiography, Did You Grow Up With Me, Too?
This all-too-slim volume recounts Foray's work in Hollywood, voicing everything from witches (always witches), to grandmothers, to little boys, to flying squirrels, to...pretty much whatever was called for in the world of animation. However, while animation is what Foray is best known for, she also describes the few times she appeared in front of the camera and her work looping for actresses whose lines needed to be re-recorded by other people.
Written with the help of Mark Evanier and Earl Kress, Did You Grow Up With Me, Too? is a chatty, almost stream of thought look back at Foray's days in the business. Almost stream of thought, because despite the frequent asides, Foray has clearly planned to speak about different aspects of her career in discrete sections. To this end, when she talks about Chuck Jones, she groups almost all of her work with Warner Brothers into that chapter. Stan Freberg and Jay Ward similarly receive chapters devoted to the work she has done with them.
And Foray does talk about the people she knows, although always in a professional manner. Did You Grow Up With Me, Too? is not a Hollywood tell-all book, but rather a fond reminiscence of friends, lost as still around, and the way they built up today's animation industry. Foray's fondness for Daws Butler, Freberg, Ward, Bill Scott, and others comes through with everything she says, but it does so in a way that is almost anonymous. She discusses their generosity, their professionalism, and so forth, but she tells very little about them as individuals. Their relationship and friendship with Foray is not examined, nor does Foray share many anecdotes, which, is fine. They are part of Foray's personal life, although it does contribute to the feeling that the volume is a little thin.
It isn't just that Foray doesn't tell stories out of class about her co-workers. She also doesn't reveal a lot about herself once she gets past her childhood and into her professional life. Foray depicts herself as humble, but aware of her competencies. She is awed by many of the people she works with, acknowledging their genius in the field and noting how thrilled she was to work with them all. Even while praising the generosity of her friends, Foray shows her own generosity of spirit, whether it was her efforts to get a Lifetime Achievement Academy Award for Chuck Jones, her work in establishing the Annie Awards, or her long years of service on the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Even if it is light on specifics, Did You Grow Up With Me, Too? is a fun, entertaining book. Perhaps its biggest weakness has nothing to do with what Foray elected to include, but rather what the medium itself couldn't include. Fortunately, the proliferation of DVDs means that when Foray discusses her vocal appearance in "Broomstick Bunny" or Mulan, it is relatively easy to put the book down for a few moments to insert the appropriate DVD and watch, and more importantly, listen to this talented and versatile actress.
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