Wednesday, 16 June 2010

In a blog where the stakes are high...

Don LaFontaine is a man with one of the most recognisable voices of all time. Well, not right now. Right now, he's dead. But back in the long distant past of before September 1st 2008, his voice rang forth from speakers worldwide. Who was this man? This man was one of the greatest heroes of all cinema. (Besides anyone remotely involved in The Lion King, who I set aside on a personal level that cannot be touched by anything whatsoever. Ever.) Don LaFontaine was the man who did the voice for the trailers. Usually starting with "In a world..." or "This Summer...", he was how you knew you were at the cinema. (Besides the aroma of stale popcorn, darkness, comfy chairs, and big screen. Obviously.)

No one quite knows how his distinctive bass tones came into being. Some say he was the product of an illigetimate love affair between a tiger and a cement mixer. Some say that at the age of eleven, he removed his vocal chords, soaked them for a week in finest bourbon, and then reinserted them and gargled daily with gravel. Some say he found smoking so ineffective in keeping his demon-child tones, that he used to remove his lungs and paint them directly with tar. Some say a prophecy was made in ancient times that a man with a voice like thunder would shake the land of the silver screen, a man who would foretell what would be coming the following Summer, a man with the ability to look into the lives of hapless comedy protagonists, sum their misfortunes up in one sentence, and end... "Until now...". Possibly followed by a record needle scratching and the fast paced, upbeat music beginning.

However, his unique gravelly tones must have spawned a few problems. The temptation to lapse into clich├ęd phrases in uncomfortable situations must be enormours - not to mention the situations in which such deep and resonant tones may not be entirely appropriate. Imagine LaFontaine at a barbecue:

"In a world where the steaks are high..."

LaFontaine in a library:

"Mr LaFontaine? Would you mind being a little quieter?"

"In a world where the truth is kept silent..."

"What? Look, you're disturbing the other patrons."

"One man will discover they're out of copies of The Da Vinci Code."

"We can put you on the reserve list if you want?"

"On the way, he'll struggle against librarian adversity..."

"Honestly, Mr LaFontaine, if you don't lower your voice I may be forced to ask you to leave."

"... and the passive aggression that opressed a nation. He was always a mild mannered man..."

"If you don't get out, I'm calling security."

"...Until now."

At this point, LaFontaine's personal speakers start playing the rerecorded version"Lux Aeterna" from Requiem for a Dream (which plays in every trailer ever), he attacks the librarian from various camera angles, something blows up, there's a woman in a bikini, he dispatches the security guards with kung fu, there's a car chase (still in the library), and, finally, LaFontaine pumps his shotgun (which was probably in the stacks somewhere or other. They always have shotguns at libraries), says a witty one liner, and fires.

So, yes. I can see it being a problem.

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