In a world where movie trailers set the stage for our entertainment choices and a lot of revenue for a certain Southern California town, Don LaFontaine reigned supreme over the audio content of those promotional shorts. From 1964 until his death in 2008, LaFontaine’s voice imparted the importance of what you were invited to see. Movie trailers weren’t his only voiceover work, but it’s what he was most known for. LaFontaine came about that deep, resonant voice naturally, and suddenly, when the adolescent’s voice broke in 1953.
As you might expect, being of an age when a boy’s life primarily consists of playing flappy with Mr. Happy and otherwise spending the remaining 12 seconds of the day when he wasn’t doing that making fun of his friends and being made fun of in turn, LaFontaine stated he was afraid to speak the next day at school after his voice changed and thus, initially refused. When his teacher became frustrated with this now mute student and forced him to speak, LaFontaine uttered a phrase he no doubt would say countless times to execs the world over, “What do you want me to say?” This apparently prompted his already frustrated teacher, who thought he was putting the voice on, to send him to the principal’s office.
He would later recount that this caused him to feel even more self-conscious about his voice. However, it didn’t take long for his friend’s to realize his baritone vocals allowed him to be “everybody’s dad” on the phone- i.e. he could be used to call the school, represent himself as their father, and let the secretary know his kid was sick and would be missing school that day. Some of these instances apparently were his first paid voice acting gigs.
Read about the exceptional life of Don LaFontaine at Today I Found Out.
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