A world where I get to do voice-over is more fun.
My world just got funner.
Back in the 80’s my work with two comedy acts led to a series of comedy and children’s albums. By the mid-2000’s I’d done radio, audio books (“Get paid to read?!”), and the now-classic Zondervan Dramatized Audio Bible, for which I narrated most of the Psalms as King David.
I’ve always had huge respect for great voice-over artists. They are the people who invade our lives without us ever knowing their names.
Except for perhaps one: Don LaFontaine. Don’t know the name? You know his voice. And you know his signature line, “In a world where…” He was the most successful voice-over artist of all time.
Shortly after we moved to Burbank, California, my daughter Beth enrolled in gymnastics. When I came to pick her up one day, she and her new flipping, leaping, cartwheeling buddy Skye insisted that she sleep over at Skye’s house–that night!
Two hours later we motored up the hill. And further up. And further up. Until we reached a multi-million dollar mansion with a 180° panoramic view of Hollywood. Skye’s dad, a down-to-earth bald dude in loafers welcomed us, then introduced us to Skye’s mom, a wonderful pop/R&B singer named Nita, and their other “golden children” (racially mixed). I still love that term–and the attitude that goes with it.
Skye’s dad and I talked while she and Beth ran off to play. And then something clicked. First name: Don. Last name: LaFontaine. Holy…! This was the freakin’ Pope of voice-over, Don LaFontaine!
Every time Beth and Skye hung out, Don and I hung out. We sat in his recording studio basement–directly wired to the studios and television networks–and talked showbiz. The only nuisance: about every 20 minutes Don would be interrupted by a buzzer. He’d say, “Excuse me,” and slip into his booth to record a one or two sentence line for, say, CBS (“Tonight on Touched by an Angel you’ll be touched!”), then pop back in. Once I asked, “How much did you just make?” He shrugged and said, “I don’t know. $15 or 20 thousand–my agent handles that.”
There has never been another Don LaFontaine.
A few years after we relocated to Cincinnati, Ohio, Don passed away. I’m so grateful for the brief time I got to spend with “the golden voice.”
I recently started doing voice-over work for a video advertising company in Cincinnati called Epipheo.
So my world just got a little funner.
Here’s an animated promo I did for a New Zealand employment agency last month (I’m the voice of the jerky Ricky Gervais-lite boss).
This one’s for you, Don!