In a World Where…

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I love doing voice-overs. And fortunately I’ve gotten to do a lot of them. I did my first recordings back in the 80s as a member of the comedy trio Isaac Air Freight: 5 studio albums and 7 limited edition releases from our radio series The Isaac Air Show. (Here’s a link to the first voice-over I ever did: Prodigal Joe.) I went on to write and perform on a series of children’s recordings for the same studio.

Later, I performed with the comedy duo Mitch & Allen. 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’re the people who invade our lives without us ever knowing their names. Except for one:

Don LaFontaine. Don’t know the name? You know his voice. And you know his signature line, “In a world where…”  Often called “the golden voice,” he was the most successful voice-over artist of all time.

Shortly after we moved to Burbank, California, my daughter Beth enrolled in gymnastics. One day, she and her new back-flipping, cartwheeling buddy Skye insisted she sleep over at Skye’s house–that night!

Two hours later we motored up a hill. And up. And up. Until we reached a multi-million dollar mansion with a 180° panoramic view of Hollywood. Skye’s dad Don, a down-to-earth bald dude in loafers welcomed us, introducing us to Skye’s mom, a wonderful pop/R&B singer named Nita, and their other “golden children” (bi-racial). 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: This was that Don LaFontaine–the freakin’ Pope of voice-over!

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 we’d be interrupted by a buzzer. Don would say, “Excuse me,” slip into his booth, and record a line for, say, CBS (“Tonight on Touched by an Angel you’ll be touched!”). 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 stuff.”

He passed away just a few years later. I’m so grateful to have lived in a world where Don LaFontaine lived–both the artist and the person. Yes, I do voice-overs, but…

There will never be another “golden voice.”

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in Humor, Memoir, Popular Culture & Entertainment and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

28 Responses to In a World Where…

  1. Really great remembrance of such an unknown talent! Thanks for sharing him with us!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Mitch,
    I enjoyed reading your list of projects. I wanted to ask if you have any contacts for working as a voice over talent or, maybe, reading books or Bible lessons on audio. I worked in radio years ago, but have always been interested in doing some voice work even if just part time.

    Let me know.

    In Christ,
    Steven Barto

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That’s must have been great to hang out with a talent like that! Personally I’d love to do voice over work, but my voice would be more of an aluminum or rusted iron voice …

    Liked by 1 person

  4. revruss1220 says:

    How cool is that!! Thanks for sharing that “golden glimpse” into that rarified world. He was truly one of a kind.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. robstroud says:

    Really enjoyed this post. Not least of which because of how much my wife and I loved listening to Isaac Air Freight “back in the day.” So talented and creative! Congrats on your successful, and ongoing, career.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. smzang says:

    It surely would be neat to walk a mile in your shoes…
    (they’d be way to big to ever fill…no, I am not saying
    you wear canoes for shoes…just saying…)

    Liked by 1 person

  7. smzang says:

    too/ not to (second line)
    I’m cringing…that’ll teach me to edit before I hit enter…

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Jane Tawel says:

    Such a fun post. I am impressed by your voice over talents and resume — not easy. There’s a quirky movie based on Don’s signature line, “In A World”… the movie could have been better, but… you might consider writing your own movie script about voice over artists. Could be fun.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. WOW! You hung out with the greatest voice-over artist of all time?!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Pam Webb says:

    Audio books seems to be your next adventure. Or is that a story you have yet to tell?

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Charlee: “Wow, cool! Our Dada says he has totally heard of Don LaFontaine!”
    Lulu: “He said we should ask if you have seen or heard of the movie ‘In a World’, which is about voice-over artists?”
    Chaplin: “Here’s a link to the trailer!”

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Paula says:

    I’m sure you’re perfect for ANY voice. I’ve never heard you do any VOs, but anyone with a singing voice is usually a good bet. (We can’t forget the post with video of your ‘rock’ group singing.)
    I’ve worked as voice over talent for industrial videos, live sports events, and television commercials. It can be a lot of fun, but it’s just as challenging as being in front of the camera, isn’t it?
    Hey, did you do the voice overs for Zondervan in Grand Rapids? That’s and old stomping ground for me since we lived in that area while I was growing up. I live only an hour and a half away now. Cool city and growing by leaps and bounds.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mitchteemley says:

      Hey Paula, I didn’t know you VO, as well! No, Zondervan hired a producer in California to record their audio Bible, so that’s where I did the voice-over work. I have been to Grand Rapids, though, several times, but not for quite a few years.

      Like

  13. Paula says:

    Oops. “AN old stomping ground.” I always type the words ‘and’ and ‘the’ too fast. *smile*

    Liked by 1 person

  14. parkermccoy says:

    I’ve never heard of Don but that’s amazing. So cool you got to know him! It’s always a thrill to meet a giant in our chosen field. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I love this post, Mitch. Stories from the pre-2000 “golden days” in the VO biz were what inspired me to become a voice actor. The game has changed so much (especially over the last ten years) but at the end of the day we’re still just VO guys living the dream! Cheers

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Stem Acteur says:

    Great!! I like your idea for a movie script. Thanks for sharing him with us!

    Liked by 1 person

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