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Sound Uniques


cigarjoe
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Do voices take on a life of their own because of being attached to an actor? Someone we see in over and over and hear over and over? What if their voices were just as good but and would go unnoticed if they were a neighbor down the street. It's hard to believe this since the voices are so wonderful. Look how many of the greatest stars have great voices? It is the rule and not the exception, look how many we can come up with? Quite a few. Could there be some unconscious goings-on that make us fall in love with voices and perhaps overrate them? Not to divert from the thread, it would be interesting as well to cite those actors who have terrible voices, this list might even be smaller. Would John Gilbert have made it in the talkies if he hadn't already so established himself in the silents? And yet there are actors who have great voices who don't have extended careers and lasting fame on the glory end, i.e., Howard Da Silva.

Failing all of this, it might be considered that an actor's voice may be just important as looks and acting ability for success, that an actor doesn't just happen to have a good voice, it's a big part of what got him/her famous. It's not, for instance; wow, he can really act ... and he has a good voice too.

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It's not just character actors, of course. Jimmy Stewart and Cary Grant are two examples of major stars who had incredibly distinct voices. I'll never forget Dana Carvey doing his X-rated impressions of each of them on Bob Costas' great, long-forgotten late night show circa 1991. He made Costas laugh so hard, he fell out of his chair!

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Image result for percy kilbridePercy Kilbride 

A few days ago, we were watching State Fair (1945), in which Mr. Kilbride (better known as Pa Kettle) plays an Iowa storekeeper with a penchant for Ralph Waldo Emerson.  Listening to Percy, it struck me that his voice is not only very distinctive, but that he uses it like he's singing, varying the pitch and tone as says the lines more than most actors who aren't actually singing.

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On 8/1/2018 at 12:51 PM, cigarjoe said:

Actors and actresses that had unique sounding voices, voices that became their signatures:

Andy Devine Image result for andy devine

Sterling Holloway Image result for sterling holloway

Percy Helton Image result for Percy Helton

Edward Everett Horton Image result for Edward Everett Horton

 

On 8/1/2018 at 12:51 PM, cigarjoe said:

Actors and actresses that had unique sounding voices, voices that became their signatures:

Andy Devine Image result for andy devine

Sterling Holloway Image result for sterling holloway

Percy Helton Image result for Percy Helton

Edward Everett Horton Image result for Edward Everett Horton

Wow, yes! Can I add actor Dick Elliott to your lists since I think he sounds a bit in that creaky, squeaky way like Devine and company. Though in a million movies, he might be most famous to folks as Mayor Pike in "The Andy Griffith Show" or as the guy on the porch in "It's a Wonderful Life" who tells Jimmy Stewart to just kiss Donna Reed and not talk her to death.

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23 hours ago, laffite said:

An afterthought. Would it be interesting to listen closely to people you know and evaluate their voices. Do they have voices that would resonate better if they were actors? Would they be more distinctive?

I think the good days of interesting voices are over, due to the lack of dialects in the US, caused mostly by mass communication which irons out such regional differences.

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There was a certain type of wily, rural type in films as personified by one of my favorite character actors, Arthur Hunnicutt, whose rambling style with his Arkansas accent is hilarious. I've seen films where I swear the other actors look like they are having to contain themselves from one of his amusing monologues that seem almost improvised. He was corn pone, but so crafty and always on the take even against folks like Ma and Pa Kettle, and I love seeing him in action. I am kind of reminded of his vocal style even in Gabby Hayes or someone from later, like Slim Pickens.

By the way, William Demarest and William Frawley always sound a bit alike, which is probably why they got similar parts and they even had Demarest replace Frawley in "My Three Sons" on tv.

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Great topic. Actors today don't seem to have as distinctive voices, that's for sure. Actors get less vocal training today, as a rule.

I've always loved the actresses with low-pitched, but very womanly and beautiful, voices: Nina Foch. Barbara Baxley. Barbara Bain. Lisa Cameron, who was on Another World for a couple of years, who looked and sounded much like Barbara Bain.

Women with distinctive voices of another kind: Tallulah Bankhead. Carol Channing. Ethel Merman (speaking as well as singing). Selma Diamond. Thelma Ritter.

I've always loved Audrey Hepburn's voice, which is probably the female equivalent of Cary Grant's transatlantic accent. Shirley MacLaine makes her all-American voice also sound distinctive.

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GEORGE BURNs had a distinctive voice, and fairly unique...

EDDIE "ROCHESTER" ANDERSON

EDGAR BUCHANAN

In fact, many of those old "sidekicks" had unique voices.  like:

GEORGE "GABBY" HAYES

PATRICK BUTTRAM 

AL "FUZZY" ST. JOHN

SMILEY BURNETT

SLIM PICKENS

CHILL WILLS

RUFE DAVIS

And there's probably several I'm overlooking.  ;)

Sepiatone

 

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15 hours ago, CaveGirl said:

I've always thought Marvin Kaplan sounds like Arnold Stang.

It's funny that you compare Marvin Kaplan and Arnold Stang.  As you may know, they were teamed as co-owners of a service station in It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.  Here they are in that movie with Jonathan Winters, who, enraged, tears down their brand-new service station with his bare hands -- a hilarious sequence:

Image result for marvin kaplan arnold stang

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On 8/3/2018 at 9:10 AM, BingFan said:

It's funny that you compare Marvin Kaplan and Arnold Stang.  As you may know, they were teamed as co-owners of a service station in It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.  Here they are in that movie with Jonathan Winters, who, enraged, tears down their brand-new service station with his bare hands -- a hilarious sequence:

Image result for marvin kaplan arnold stang

Love it and thanks!

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