Each episode of the North American English dubs would open and close with a live actor named Mrs. Maple on a kitchen set. She was implied to be the only human living in Maple Town and would introduce the episode, bringing up what was going on in Maple Town and what that episode's plot would be.
After chatting with the viewers for a bit and mentioning elements of the episode's story, she would turn to look out of a window into Maple Town, which had the animation added in (probably with Chroma key).
|Mrs. Maple (Janice Adams) looking out her window into Maple Town|
Later episodes of the English dub made Mrs. Maple's role less important; she'd give more of a summary of what to expect in the episode rather than the longer introductions she did early on.
Mrs. Maple was portrayed by Janice Adams. According to her listing on IMDB, Maple Town seems to be her only acting credit - nothing else before or after is listed. There's no other information about Janice Adams so any acting background, her current whereabouts, etc. are unknown.
This is the only post where I really plan to discuss her character. She isn't really important, even to the English dubs, so I won't mention Mrs. Maple much from here on.
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