Grabbing my camera bag and reporter's notebook,  I said to my wife, "I have to leave in a few minutes to get a big scoop."  She said, "What flavor?"  I smiled.  "Funny you should mention that..."  Because I was off to Myers Park to do a story on the ice cream man, and later that day would be covering a story about an ice cream social.

Somehow that seemed appropriate in the wake of the very sad news that June Foray passed away last Wednesday at the age of 99.  Most of Foray's fans wouldn't recognize her if they saw her, but would instantly know who she was if they heard her.  She was the voice of Rocky the Flying Squirrel, Natasha Fatale (of Boris and Natasha), Nell Fenwick (whose love for Dudley Do-Right's horse, named Horse, was in counterpoint to Do-Right's love for Nell) and George of the Jungle's better half, Ursula.

Foray appeared -- well, was heard on Tom and Jerry; Sylvester and Tweety; Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!; How the Grinch Stole Christmas; The Jetsons; The Flintstones; The Simpsons; and a wealth of animated features.  But she may have been most famous for her portrayal of Rocket J. Squirrel, straight man -- straight squirrel? -- to the moronic but lovable Bullwinkle J. Moose.

That's where the puns come in.  She wasn't the one who uttered the puns.  She was Bullwinkle's (voiced by Bill Scott) foil, often invoking 'hokey smoke!' in response to the moose's whoppers:

Rocky: Do you know what A-bomb means?  Bullwinkle: Sure.  A bomb is what some people call our program.

Rocky: You know what a mirage is.  Bullwinkle.  Sure.  It's where you park your car.

Rocky:  Boy, they don't call him 'Wrong Way Peachfuzz for nothin'!"  Bullwinkle: You mean they gotta pay?

Bullwinkle: Who are all those people, Rocky?  Rocky: Lots of them are Washington senators, Bullwinkle.  Bullwinkle: Where's their baseball suits?

Rocky: (looking at frozen dollar bills) It's all in a block of ice.  Bullwinkle: What do you know!  Frozen assets!

Bullwinkle: Twenty six bucks.  That's antihistamine money, you know.  Rocky: Antihistamine money?  Bullwinkle: It's not to be sneezed at!

Rocky and Bullwinkle's humor could always be taken on two levels.  Kids and adults.  They were optimistic and funny for the kids, with plenty of intellectual, current and historical references for grownups.  Even when the kids didn't get the grownup jokes, they laughed, because Foray and Scott said them funny.

Hokey Smoke!  Any voice Foray did meant good, innocent fun.  The other day I watched a documentary about Rocky and Bullwinkle, Of Moose and Men, on Youtube.  When it was over my face felt funny.  It took a moment to realize this, but I had been smiling for a solid hour.  All of the characters June Foray voiced do that.  She was a wonderful artist who leaves a hole in the world. In today's world we really, really, REALLY need someone to make our faces feel funny.