I believe that Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was the first film I ever saw; I'm sure it was the first Walt Disney film. Something about the quirky singing-voice of Adriana Caselotti really made an impression (pun intended) on me; as my Mom recently reminded me, I'd go around the house singing all the songs from the film - just like Snow White.
So, how did this redhead become the voice of the innocent, raven-haired heroine? Study, study, study ... and I'd be lyin' if I said I didn't learn a lot from another redhead named Lou ... and a blonde named Kat, and another blonde named Blu working with a brunette named Romano, etc ...
Since I started with my voice-over agents, any time a "sound-a-like" was called for, I'd get a call to audition. In 1989, Disney had just started a new character voice division, headed up by the very talented Les Perkins, and they had sent several audition scripts and tapes to my agent's office for many of the "classic" Disney characters, in order to get closer voices to the originals. So, needless to say, when I got a call to pick up a script and tape of part of the soundtrack from Snow White, I was thrilled! When I went in to do the audition, I felt pretty confident ... but, how many times have you thought to yourself, "oh, I've gotta land THAT part!" and been dead wrong! So, I forced myself to forget about it.
Well, surprise, surprise! About a week later, I was on my way to a San Fernando Valley recording studio to record the story of Snow White for the read-along series that Disney produces to help kids learn how to read.
Our director, the aforementioned Les Perkins, a brilliant voice-actor in his own right (he performs the voice of the Mad Hatter,) is a perfectionist ... just like me ... and he wanted all of us to be as close as possible to the originals, so he brought bits of the soundtrack for each character, which helped tremendously!
Since that first session, I've had many opportunities to portray Snow White, but the most memorable has to be last year, when a whole group of us "character voices" were sent to Florida for the 20th anniversary of Walt Disney World. Before we left, Minnie (Russi Taylor) and Mickey (Wayne Allwine) helped to brief us "novices" on what to do during radio and print interviews, as this was the reason we were going.
In Florida, I would arise around 4:00 a.m. (yeouch! this was truly a sacrifice, since I usually sleep 'til the crack of noon) and listen to the tapes while getting ready. Then, off to do the interviews with disc jockeys and reporters from literally all over the world. Most of them were just great, but on occasion, a "rock-jock" would ask questions about the sexual side of Snow White's life, "living with those little dudes," so to speak, and I would remember what Minnie & Mickey told me ... I'd say something like, "Oh, I don't understand. I live in a beautiful castle in Fantasyland," - anything to keep Snow White pure, innocent and in character!
My favorite moment occurred when all of us - Minnie, Mickey, Goofy (Bill Farmer,) Captain Hook (Corey Burton,) Donald Duck (Tony Anselmo - who also animates Donald!) and yours truly, were being interviewed one evening by a Texas radio station for their "Children's Hour" live broadcast. After hearing a few familiar voices, a good-sized crowd had gathered around us, and the disc jockey asked me, "Snow White, you told our listeners that you cook, clean, wash and sew for the Seven Dwarfs and for the Prince all day, yet you never get tired of it all ... how do you do it?" I laughed gently, and answered, "Well, I whistle while I work ... maybe you should try it." Then I started singing "Whistle While You Work," and as if on cue, everyone joined in with me! It was Disney magic at work; pixie-dusted once again!