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"In a world..."
March 13, 2014 12:13 PM   Subscribe

Hal Douglas, who for many of us was THE voice of movie trailers in the 1990's, has passed away at age 89. The Guardian pays tribute with a half dozen of his best trailers. And then, of course, there's the legendary trailer for "Comedian".
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI (59 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

 
Wow, there were two movie trailer guys? I thought Don LaFontaine was the only one. Their voices are pretty much in the same basso template, yet distinct.
posted by zsazsa at 12:20 PM on March 13 [3 favorites]


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posted by pointystick at 12:22 PM on March 13


Man had some pipes, that's for sure.

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posted by Thorzdad at 12:23 PM on March 13


there were two movie trailer guys?

There were six!
posted by ceribus peribus at 12:25 PM on March 13 [17 favorites]


I thought Don LaFontaine was the only one.

No, there are a couple of voice over guys.
posted by MartinWisse at 12:25 PM on March 13 [7 favorites]


So who was the first person to use "In a world..." in a movie trailer? Do we even know for sure?
posted by yoink at 12:26 PM on March 13 [1 favorite]


Dammit, ceribus.
posted by MartinWisse at 12:26 PM on March 13


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posted by Faint of Butt at 12:26 PM on March 13


The Comedian trailer is the best movie trailer, full stop.

"A renegade cop!" "Oh... I hate you." "A robot renegade cop!" "You're fired."

RIP.
posted by mhoye at 12:27 PM on March 13 [6 favorites]


The Lake Bell indie comedy "In A World" that came out last summer was pretty fantastic, but it mixes a bunch of fake voice over people from comedy with real voice over actors, but I've heard the way she talks about it being just a handful of guys that control the industry is pretty close to reality.
posted by mathowie at 12:28 PM on March 13 [9 favorites]


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posted by Rustic Etruscan at 12:30 PM on March 13


"Get out of the booth, Jack."

"No, I like it in here!"

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posted by Doktor Zed at 12:31 PM on March 13 [6 favorites]


yoink: So who was the first person to use "In a world..." in a movie trailer? Do we even know for sure?

This CNN obit credits Don LaFontaine.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:33 PM on March 13 [2 favorites]


I don't know if it was Douglas or LaFontaine, but I remember reading an article about him about fifteen years ago, and how his typical workday involved zooming around greater LA in his limo (which also served as his office), writing, rehearsing his scripts, always on his way to his next recording session.

I thought, man, now that's a superhero, particularly if his chauffeur had high-end powers or skills of his own.
posted by philip-random at 12:39 PM on March 13 [3 favorites]


In a world with no Hal Douglas or Don LaFontaine ....

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posted by tilde at 12:40 PM on March 13 [7 favorites]


Audiences everywhere... are mourning.

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posted by Rock Steady at 12:41 PM on March 13 [2 favorites]


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posted by jazon at 12:43 PM on March 13


LaFontaine was the "In a world..." guy.
posted by briank at 12:44 PM on March 13


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posted by vibrotronica at 12:46 PM on March 13


Speaking of superannuated announcers, it's amazing to think that Don Pardo, who was 57 years old when Saturday Night Live began in 1975, is still the voice of Saturday Night Live. It will be a sad day when they finally have to replace him.
posted by Atom Eyes at 12:48 PM on March 13 [20 favorites]


RIP, Hal Douglas, one of the greats.

Also, I've seen the Comedian trailer a million times, but I think this was the first time I noticed that the other guy is Tom Papa.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:48 PM on March 13


This CNN obit credits Don LaFontaine.

Yeah, though its vague about it (it also says he "popularized" it). I was wondering if anyone knows what is the earliest known trailer to use the phrase.
posted by yoink at 12:50 PM on March 13


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posted by Foosnark at 12:54 PM on March 13


Are you kidding me?

The "IN A WORLD..." guy and Abby Singer died the same day?

That is going to be an incredible pub trivia factoid in a year.

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posted by Sara C. at 12:54 PM on March 13


Damn, that Con Air trailer gives away the entire plot. I hate that.
posted by norm at 12:55 PM on March 13 [2 favorites]



posted by Smart Dalek at 12:57 PM on March 13


I don't see any videos on the Guardian page, even after turning adblock off on Firefox.

Works fine on Chrome. Bizarre.
posted by edheil at 1:02 PM on March 13


In a time of loss, in a vast sea of blue, a single dot stands alone.

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posted by salishsea at 1:07 PM on March 13 [4 favorites]


Yeah, though its vague about it (it also says he "popularized" it). I was wondering if anyone knows what is the earliest known trailer to use the phrase.

Yeah, who first wrote a trailer with the phrase? What film?

I'm betting it had something to do with the vending of elephant tusks.


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posted by Herodios at 1:12 PM on March 13



The "IN A WORLD..." guy and Abby Singer died the same day?

That is going to be an incredible pub trivia factoid in a year.


what

I am never going to pub trivia with you
posted by sweetkid at 1:14 PM on March 13 [6 favorites]


"In a world in which no one says 'in a world' anymore, this sentence is a logical impossibility.

Or is it?"
posted by yoink at 1:20 PM on March 13 [2 favorites]


Atom Eyes: Speaking of superannuated announcers...

Holy shit, Atom Eyes! Not to take anything away from memorializing Hal Douglas, but while I knew Don Pardo had been around forever, I didn't realize that he has actually been around forever!

Don Pardo
Born: February 22, 1918 (age 96)
Years active: 1938–present
(via Wikipedia)
posted by mosk at 1:26 PM on March 13 [4 favorites]


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posted by trip and a half at 1:56 PM on March 13


🌎.
posted by tonycpsu at 2:22 PM on March 13 [2 favorites]


The Comedian trailer was funny, but man did that feedback at the beginning take my migraine to another level. Oy.
posted by ocherdraco at 2:26 PM on March 13


There's actually a pretty funny movie called "In a World..." that touches on voice acting and competition to replace Hal Douglas. It's streaming on Netflix and worth a watch IMHO.
posted by stubbehtail at 2:28 PM on March 13 [1 favorite]


Awww.

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posted by blurker at 2:40 PM on March 13


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I'm just hoping Pete Stacker carries on the tradition.
posted by JoeZydeco at 3:00 PM on March 13


The "Comedian" trailer is so meta it makes my brain hurt; I never tire of it. My family and I recite parts of it almost every week.

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posted by ZenMasterThis at 3:03 PM on March 13



Damn, that Con Air trailer gives away the entire plot. I hate that.


I eventually came to embrace the trailers that gave away the whole story.
They were basically telling me, you don't need to see this movie.

This has saved me a lot of money over the years, and hours upon hours of my life.
posted by philip-random at 3:24 PM on March 13 [3 favorites]


But Con Air is awesome. In the way that things like Con Air are awesome.

NIC CAGE RAGE Y'ALL
posted by sweetkid at 3:39 PM on March 13 [5 favorites]


We now live in a world where great trailer voiceovers have been replaced by that annoying BRRRRRRRMMMMMMM sound.

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posted by kira at 3:40 PM on March 13 [1 favorite]


But Con Air is awesome. In the way that things like Con Air are awesome.

I said... put... the bunny... back... in the box...
posted by brundlefly at 3:52 PM on March 13 [4 favorites]


I always thought Pablo Francisco was impersonating this guy until he worked Don Fontaines name into his act later (YouTube)

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posted by dr_dank at 3:57 PM on March 13


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posted by valkane at 4:19 PM on March 13


Peter Thomas. Born 1924. Still alive, and does VO jobs at his house in Tuscany via a dedicated ISDN line. If you're USIan, he's the voice of Nova and Forensic Files - and also from the animated Norelco ads with Santa every Christmas in my childhood. I worked on a coordinator job for a pharma's national sales meeting some years ago, and he was chosen as "The Voice of God" for every full presentation. Dude is a boss.

For Hal:


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posted by droplet at 4:41 PM on March 13


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posted by tribalspice at 4:59 PM on March 13


I wrote the strangled metaphor that opens this trailer and having Hal Douglas voice it was absolutely the most fun I had in the film business. It may also be the most fun thing associated with the movie in question, but that's another matter
posted by Hogshead at 5:05 PM on March 13 [11 favorites]


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posted by chaosys at 5:09 PM on March 13


This CNN obit credits Don LaFontaine.

Yeah, though its vague about it (it also says he "popularized" it). I was wondering if anyone knows what is the earliest known trailer to use the phrase.


Wikipedia: "... in 1963, [LaFontaine and Floyd Peterson] went into business together producing advertising exclusively for the movie industry. LaFontaine claimed that this company first came up with many of the famous movie trailer catch phrases, including his own future signature phrase, 'in a world...'"

Washington Post obit: "In an interview last year, Mr. LaFontaine explained the strategy behind the trademark phrase. 'We have to very rapidly establish the world we are transporting them to,' he said of his viewers. 'That's very easily done by saying, 'In a world where . . . violence rules.' 'In a world where . . . men are slaves and women are the conquerors.' You very rapidly set the scene.'"

Wikipedia: "Because many of [Hal Douglas's] trailers have begun with the words 'In a world', there is controversy over whether his voice has immortalized them. (Don LaFontaine claimed to have actually created the catchphrase.)"

Anyway, one for each of them:

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posted by pmurray63 at 5:51 PM on March 13


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posted by GrapeApiary at 7:24 PM on March 13


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posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:39 PM on March 13


This never fails to crack me up (from the Comedian trailer), and is my absolute favorite line:

"When your life is no longer your own..."

"Wha-what does that even mean?"
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:38 PM on March 13


"A girl." "No." "Two girls." "NO!"
posted by mhoye at 10:05 PM on March 13


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posted by Gelatin at 2:52 AM on March 14


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posted by gingerest at 4:14 AM on March 14


We're down to three... (yt)

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posted by InspiredChaos at 1:09 PM on March 14


The best part of the Comedian trailer is seeing Douglas's face. He's very expressive, but on top of that you get the weird effect of hearing a voice you know really well coming out of an unfamiliar face. It's sort of like watching an animated movie and hearing Sarah Vowell's voice come out of Violet Parr. I have the impression I'm hearing Hal Douglas's voice dubbed over that guy making faces in the studio.
posted by straight at 3:44 PM on March 14


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posted by radwolf76 at 1:25 PM on March 17


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