A Familiar Voice from the Shadows

A distinctive voice coming from a man walking in the shadows is a set-up if most of the people in the audience can identify the voice’s owner.  The voice fans in the audience might identify the source before the actor steps into the light and be pleased they didn’t need to see the guy’s mug to I.D. the perpetrator.  The celebrity dominated culture in theUnited Stateswould have been sorely disappointed if the image of the speaker’s face didn’t solve the “who dat?”” puzzle of the familiar voice.

If, thanks to computer wizardry, Rod Serling had stepped out of the shadows most of the viewers on the younger side of the age demographics for the Superbowl audience would have known that it was the Twilight Zone guy.

What would the reaction to a technological cloning have been if it turned out that the voice and the face belonged to be Edward R. Murrow?  How many kids on the outside of a School for Journalism would have recognized the “Londoncalling” voice and associated it with daredevil reporting of the highest caliber?

Obviously using the voice and image of W. C. Fields would have had a sabotage effect.  Would today’s hipsters recognize, let alone appreciate, Fields’ voice?  Do they still sell the posters featuring the once famous comedian?  They were ubiquitous in the late Sixties, don’t cha know?

If the computers had produced that Superbowl ad with St. Ronald Reagan stepping out of the shadows, Republicans all acrossAmericawould have wept openly.  It’s morning inAmerica, again, folks and a cinematic cowboy is here to make you feel safe and warm.

Could the folks who want to see the Bush gang hang possibly misinterpret the Cling Eastwood commercial and see it as an endorsement of Dirty Harry tactics that include a complete disregard for the rules of war that were proclaimed at the Nuremburg War Crime Trials? 

In some long ago news broadcast we heard a news story that asserted that female infants would pay more attention to the voice of a male stranger than they would to their mother’s voice.

According to a reliable source, over a decade ago a young UCLA coed, who was working as an interviewer for a phone survey, called the provided phone number and started to convince the young man who answered the phone to participate in the poll.  He heard her voice and offered to come fromNew York Cityfor a date in L. A. the following weekend.  Since she wasn’t hurting for male attention, she politely declined.

When Johnny Carson made a casual comment about “the late John Carradine,” he got a phone call from the actor saying:  “John, at my age it’s hard enough to get work without you announcing to the world that I’m dead.” Carsonnoted the quality of the voice he was hearing before he moved along to the fact that he then issued an invitation to come on the Tonight Show.  Carradine got subsequent invitations to return to that show.

We have read somewhere a story that alleged that David Brinkley one time called into a Washington D. C. contest seeking a David Brinkley sound-alike.  He came in second place. 

When future radio fans look back on the Post Dubya era, we wonder which voices from 2012 will be the most recognizable. 

Uncle Rushbo, of course.  Who else? 

We have, in past columns, lamented the fact that there seems to be room in the smorgasbord of contemporary culture for a competition for would-be voice over actors, but, alas, our suggestion has fallen upon dead ears.

The World’s Laziest Journalist has begun to do the preliminary fact checking needed as preparation for doing a column on story telling competitions.  As luck would have it, the only item produced by several Google searches is something called the <a href =http://www.porchlightsf.com/calendar.html>Porchlight competition held in San Francisco CA</a>.  So maybe we can enter that contest and get some material for a “been there done that” first hand account column about that competition. 

Maybe some reader will have additional information to add to the comments for this column and thereby adding to the potential for doing a future column on story telling competitions.

We note that the Liars Hall of Fame seems to be an example of a variation on the tall tales in the field of exaggeration variety rather than an actual Hall of Fame whereby someone who spread the WMD alarm is accused of providing an entry for consideration by the Liars Hall of Fame induction committee.

Don’t some (all?) of the best raconteurs have bits of Irish ancestry in their blood?

Rather than a closing quote <I>per se</I>, we will recount a story that we heard St. Ronald Reagan tell in 1980.  While he was campaigning inIowa, he knocked on a farmer’s door.  The man was flabbergasted.  “I know you!  You’re the actor.   I forget your name.”  Reagan suggested that as a hint he would supply his initials.  The man heard “R. R.” and immediately turned toward the interior of the house and called out:  “Mama, come quick and meet Roy Rogers. 

OK you won’t let it slide?  You want a real quote as the closing quote?

“Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player

That struts and frets out his hour upon the stage,

And then is heard no more’ it is a tale

Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,

Signifying nothing.”

A friend in L. A., chef Teddy B. Owen, may have provided the best closing quote for this column when he said:  “The voices in my head have the call waiting feature.”

Now the disk jockey will play Carly Simons’ “You’re So Vain” (Tell me you can’t hear Mick Jagger’s distinctive voice singing backup), Clint Eastwood’s recording of “Born Under a Wandering Star,” and Judy Collins’ version of “Amazing Grace.”  We have to go gargle.  Have a “stifle talk about unionizing” type of week.

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