Will Ryan sits down with Janet Waldo, the voice behind many classic cartoon ladies.
Nine and a half questions? Why not ten? According to Will Ryan, everyone does ten questions. Today's hectic society expects concision.
In short, un-lengthy-osity-ous-ism-ness!
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Janet Waldo has starred in more animated series than most people are aware of. From Josie and The Pussycats to Precious Pupp to Penelope Pitstop, the oddly monickered spinoff character from Hanna-Barbera's Wacky Races series. She also had the lead role in Alice In Wonderland, an amazing one-hour prime-time special written by Bill Dana and featuring a backup cast which included Sammy Davis Jr., Zsa Zsa Gabor, Howie Morris and Hedda Hopper! A couple decades later she reprised the role in Through The Looking Glass, the first American made-for-video animated feature film (which included songs composed by her present interrogator). Her backup cast in this production included George Gobel, Phyllis Diller, Jonathan Winters and Mr. T! Janet also starred opposite a live-action Gene Kelly in the animated prime-time network special Jack And The Beanstalk.
This interview was conducted in the kitchen of her home in the San Fernando Valley, just down the street from the domicile of actor Richard Crenna, with whom she appeared on a classic episode of I Love Lucy (as opposed to all those non-classic episodes of I Love Lucy).
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Will Ryan: Are you familiar with the Scopes Monkey Trial?
Janet Waldo: Yes. As a matter of fact, my husband Bob co-wrote Inherit The Wind.
WR: Do you mean the world-famous play/movie/TV drama co-written by Jerome Lawrence and -- ?
JW: -- and Robert E. Lee.
WR: Do you ever get Janet Leigh's mail?
JW: Not really. But I certainly get good tables in restaurants! Whenever I make a reservation I make it as Janet Lee. They're just so sweet to me!
WR: A few years ago, Capitol released a Frank Sinatra "Duet" album, featuring performances by him and people he had never even met. I cannot ask them the following question, but I can ask it of you. What's it like, singing with Frank Sinatra?
JW: Oh! That was the greatest fun! You're talking about when I played Teenaged Tina on his radio show. Benny Goodman was on that one and that's the only time Frankie and Benny performed together.
WR: Ever sing with the Velvet Fog?
JW: Oh, yes! When I sang with Frankie it was a medley -- we took turns -- but with Mel Torme it was a real duet.
WR: Whatever happened to some singer named Tiffany?
WR: Is it true that you do a radio series where you're married to a man with a talking horse?
JW: Of course, of course! Alan Young plays my husband in the weekly radio drama Adventures In Odyssey, currently heard in over 1,600 stations in North America. You're on that show, too.
WR: Sometimes. Is your mom Blondie?
In a way. Penny Singleton, who played my mom on The Jetsons, is the star of all those Blondie films. You know, she and Alan Young and I were doing an autograph session at the Beverly Garland hotel last month and instead of bringing her cartoon 8x10s, she brought a lot of her pin-ups. They went like hotcakes!
WR: We're now in the 21st Century. Do you have any robots that help you with the housework?
JW: Everything on The Jetsons is happening now or coming soon! What I'm looking for is the Seeing Eye Vacuum Cleaner that we had, and they're finally about to come out with it! Videophones, moving sidewalks, Food-a-ry-ca-cycles (now known as microwave ovens)! It's just so exciting! It's like we were . . . Nostradamus!
WR: Have you seen this new movie Josie and the Pussycats?
JW: Not yet.
WR: Me neither.
WR: Wanna go?
JW: That's one question too many.
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Janet Waldo is currently heard on dozens of radio commercials throughout the country, as well as hundreds of animated episodes on the Cartoon Network and Boomerang. In the movie The Jetsons, Universal Studios (former home of the Blondie pictures) insisted that Joe Barbera cast a singer du jour named Tiffany in the role of Judy Jetson rather than Janet. The public outcry was overwhelming. Tiffany, with her rather husky voice, was terribly miscast in the part of the perky teenager. By the time the picture was released, Tiffany's top-ten career was pretty much but a memory. To this day Joe Barbera apologizes to Janet every time he sees or talks to her.
Will Ryan works with robots on the Annie Award-winning series Elmo Aardvark: Outer Space Detective! He is also president of Snappytoons Amusement Company, a production and design firm now affiliated with Eyth, Outcalt and Cabarga and specializing in the creation of animated films, theme parks and creative consumer environments.