Some day, I’ll do a little piece on why inventing Cindy Bear was a stupid idea. Not today, though, as I don’t want to distract from the purpose of this post—to pass on some random clippings about the woman who voiced her—Julie Bennett.
I don’t know much about Miss Bennett, but I do know whoever put the information on the internet, regurgitated by umpteen sites, that she was born January 24, 1943 is full of ( Yowp invites you to fill in the blank here ). By the late ‘40s, she was a fairly accomplished radio actress, as witnessed in this photo and caption from the St. Petersburg Times of November 20, 1949:
A “PRIVATE EYE” LOOK
Julie Bennett is a remarkably dramatic young woman as well evidenced by her supporting roles on Mutual’s "Martin Kane—Private Eye,” adventure series starring William Gargen, Sunday afternoons at 4:30 p.m. on WTSP.
The picture is a .jpg of a .pdf of a scan of a photocopy, but despite the poor quality, anyone can see the subject of the picture is not the age of six.
The Los Angeles Times’ Walter Ames did a little profile on her in his column of March 2, 1953. This should tell you a bit about her in the pre-Hanna-Barbera days:
Julie Is Pretty, Busy Girl
One of Hollywood’s prettiest, as well as busiest, young ladies is Julie Bennett whose voice has been heard on practically all of the top radio shows for the past five years and whose reddish gold-blond hair is now busy decorating filmed TV series all over the screens. I ran into Julie at lunch the other day just after she had completed a role with George Raft in his I Am the Law series. She’s a real looker and before I could get out of the eatery at least a half dozen of Hollywood’s top TV men had requested her name from me.
Julie was born in Beverly Hills and started her career at the age of 6 before studying under Max Reinhardt, [Oliver] Hinsdell and Florence Enright. She really started to move on her career when she departed our climate for New York in 1948. “I like to keep busy and New York producers certainly did that for me,” Julie told me. “It became quite a problem to keep up with the schedule of radio and TV shows and keeping them from conflicting was almost impossible.”
Julie says her toughest assignments came when she was called on to play dialect roles of a 76-year-old woman, a Mongolian native, and a pair of twins in which she talked to herself for 11 pages of script. I’ll keep you posted when you can see her on TV. She’s worth tuning in.
Her earliest appearance on the air, according to the Radio Goldindex, was on The Lux Radio Theatre on September 8, 1947. She was on a bunch of Luxes (what is the plural form of ‘Lux’ anyway?), as well as The Railroad Hour and Family Theatre.
Here are some random clippings from various newspapers. This isn’t mean to be a complete filmography or biography. It’s just some stuff I found interesting.
Feb. 24, 1949, Mt. Vernon Daily Argus
Tickets are now on tale at the box office of the Booth Theatre [New York] where the new farce-comedy "At War with the Army" will open on Tuesday, March 8th. Salty Gracie has replaced Julie Bennett in the role of Helen Palmer in this comedy which now in a two weeks' return engagement at the Wilbur Theatare, Boston. Gary Merrill is playing the leading role, that of Sergeant Robert Johnson.”
Oct. 3, 1949, Don Tranter's Comment On Radio, Buffalo Courier-Express
More programs new to the Monday lanes move onto the radio scene today, most welcome of which to listeners perhaps is Carlton E. Morse's I Love a Mystery ~- teeing off on a Monday-through-Friday basis over Mutual and WEBR from 7.45 to 8 o'clock. ... three feminine roles in this first sequence are to be handled by Julie Bennett, Laurette Fillbrandt and Vilma Kurer. The adventure is titled The Fear That Creeps Like a Cat—and it will consume about three weeks of broadcasting.
Jan. 8, 1951, TV listings
9:00—WNBT (4)—Lights Out, "The Bird of Time," With Jessica Tandy, David Lewis, Julie Bennett and Irving Winter.
Mar. 1, 1952
Radio and stage star Julie Bennett frequently heads the all-Broadway casts in original dramas on CBS’ “Grand Central Station.” She’s also heard often on “Theatre of Today” and “Gangbusters.”
March 20, 1952, Inez Gerhard “Star Dust” column
Julie Bennett, heard on NBC’s “Life Can Be Beautiful”, makes money from her hobby—dialects of all kinds. Radio producers call for Julie whenever a difficult or rare accent is needed, and she never fails to deliver. Asked to explain how she does it, she says she thinks it is because she studies accents carefully, and maybe her keen musical ear helps.
Feb. 2, 1953, Los Angeles Times
BUSY LASS—Julie Bennett has a featured role with Gordon MacRae in “Carousel” on KFI tonight at 8 and also appears with Burns and Allen Thursday on their TV series. She's also set for next week's Racket Squad.
October 30, 1955
Julie Bennett, Vamp in New TV Theater.
Walter F. Kerr, Los Angeles Times
Tomorrow the curtain goes up on NBC Matinee Theater, one of the largest and most ambitious projects of its kind ever undertaken in television. NBC Matinee Theater will provide a daily, hour-long drama "live" in compatible color five days a week, Monday through Friday. Every weekday, 52 weeks a year, this series will unfold coast-to-coast with a with an different story enacted by an entirely different cast. Julie Bennett stars, Albert McCleery is the executive producer, and the series will be seen locally at noon on NBC (4).
The series will open with the appropriately titled play "Beginning Now," by J. P. Marquand, whose short story was adapted for the program by Frank Gilroy. Julie Bennett, known for her vamp roles in both TV and motion pictures, portrays a woman who almost breaks up the family of John Kelsey (Louis Hayward).
Feb. 4, 1955, Hal Eaton, Long Island Star-Journal column
...Waste of pretty puss: Julie Bennett narrating "Tom and Jerry" cartoons...
Sept. 30, 1955, Stephen H. Scheuer syndicated column
Julie Bennett's due to appear in a forthcoming episode of "Superman." But don't worry, fellas, no plastic surgery or special make-up is required. She's not playing the lead!
Nov. 21, 1955, Mel Heimer ‘My New York’ column
The NBC's Matinee Theater on TV seems strikingly adult fare for a daytime program. The lovely Julie Bennett was seen on its first program recently, and seems headed for a career of playing Other Women.
March 30, 1956, Earl Wilson’s column
Pretty Julie Bennett will add glamour to Jack Webb's net series.
May 14, 1956, Walter Ames, L.A. Times
Julie Bennett reports things are jumping on the New York scene. She left Hollywood last week for a vacation. Sid Caesar discovered she was in the big town and grabbed her for a role in his 8 o clock KRCA (4) show tonight. She’ll play, of all things, a sexy Broadway actress who sets the plot for the commuter skit.
June 18, 1957, Steven H. Scheuer TV Key-Notes column
THAT JACK Webb's no dope. Thursday’s Dragnet rerun features a scintillating performance by Julie Bennett, who's good looking enough to make most people forget how formula the show is.
Aug. 13, 1958, Walter Winchell column
Things Like This Make You Think: That voice of Brigitte Bardot in the trailers for her new film belongs to a starlet named Julie Bennett. Has a nicer figure, too. (Is that possible?)
March 13, 1959, Hal Eaton, Long Island Star-Journal column
Julie Bennett, one of TV's most versatile thesps, proves it in the dubbing of
"FBI Story." Enacts off-screen voice of Jimmy Stewart's three-year-old grandchild!
April 10, 1961, wire service photo
Bob Hope special with (left to right) ol’ Ski Nose, Phil Harris and Beverly Gregg.
Sept. 12, 1963
Damage of $2000 Caused by Blaze at Brown Derby
...Diners in the undisturbed area included actors Robert Young and Tom Noonan and singer Julie Bennett...
Dec. 3, 1964
on Johnny Carson Tonight Show (with Marni Nixon, Bill Cosby and Phil Foster)
Sept. 26, 1972, AP Columnist Bob Thomas
[Plug for Mark Spitz on a Bob Hope special]
The skit included three kisses by Julie Bennett, a busty redhead who portrayed his nurse.
Jan. 23, 1970
Love American Style “Love and the V.I.P. Restaurant.”
Julie’s cartoon work wasn’t strictly for Hanna-Barbera. Jay Ward borrowed her for the Fractured Fairy Tale “The Fisherman and His Wife” and a couple of others when June Foray was engaged elsewhere. She co-starred in Mr. Magoo’s version of Snow White. And she made some appearances at Warner Bros. when the cartoon studio was winding down; “Dog Tales” (1958) and “The Mouse on 57th Street” (1961) immediately come to mind. And, as you can see above, she did some work at MGM by 1955. It might be her in 1956’s “Busy Buddies” (and MakeItUp-Pedia has it wrong; Janet Waldo is not in that cartoon).
Before she used her Southern belle drawl as Cindy Bear, she can be heard as Sagebrush Sal in Quick Draw McGraw’s Masking For Trouble, broadcast October 17, 1959, likely her first appearance in a Hanna-Barbera cartoon.