10 Classic Voice Over Clips You
Were Never Supposed To Hear
By Billy James
As 21 seasons of ABC’s America’s Funniest Videos demonstrate, everybody loves a good blooper.
The world of voice over is home to lots of classic outtake reels, which a few years ago were spread via snail mail as lo-fi copies on cassette.
Today, most of the best are available online with a well-worded Google or YouTube search.
As a connoisseur of fine flubbery, I for one welcome the new easy access to insta-bloopers. Especially since I don’t own a cassette player anymore.
Herewith, a totally unofficial list of 10 classic clips you were never supposed to hear, but owe it to yourself to check out.
1. ORSON WELLES:
This justly-famous piece is the gold standard of in-studio irascibility.
Orson Welles teaches an impromptu master class in Bad Attitude to a hapless booth director who just wants the "in” part of "in July” emphasized in a frozen peas commercial. (Which, come to think of it, is sort of a dumb bit of direction.)
Rob Paulsen says his Pinky & The Brain co-star Maurice LaMarche had committed this entire piece to memory, and used snippets from it to warm up his voice before a session as the Welles-inspired Brain.
Rob notes that Maurice was utterly delighted when the show’s producers wrote the scenario into an actual episode, the relevant section of which you can watch here:
2. ORSON WELLES:
PAUL MASSON WINE
He’s baaaaaaaack - and he’s snockered!
Citizen Welles has apparently sampled a bit too much of the sponsor’s product before attempting this on-camera gaffe-a-palooza.
Maybe the slogan should have been "We will drink no wine before its time.” (And by "its time” we mean "an hour or so after the commercial shoot is over.”)
3. MEL BLANC:
PORKY GETS HAMMERED
Legend has it that the denizens of Warner Brothers’ famous Termite Terrace animation shop banged out the accompanying animation to this bit of Bad-Boy Porky by working during their lunch hours for several days.
Voiceoverists ever since have been very glad they did. (With the possible exception of Bob Bergen.)
4. WILLIAM SHATNER:
James T. Kirk lapses into Shatnerese at a recording session for the Star Trek animated series.
We were a tad skeptical about the Good Captain’s "I meant to do that” till we saw the accompanying video of him using the same Alternate-Earth pronunciation in an actual episode of the original live-action Trek.
And I checked – the Shatnerized version made it into the finished ‘toon as well ...
5. WILLIAM SHATNER:
THE SHAT HITS THE FAN
The second double-honoree on today’s list: Shatner needles a booth director in true Evil Kirk style after the poor guy gives him an ill-advised (and rather badly delivered) line read.
6. DAVID PROWSE:
Not technically a blooper, but interesting nonetheless: lanky Brit David Prowse as the original voice of Darth Vader.
This is what cast and crew heard as Prowse was running the lines during filming, before James Earl Jones ADR’ed his Sithian menace onto the final soundtrack.
7. ERNIE & CASEY:
PIG WHISTLES & DOG STORIES
Speaking of NSFW, we know many of you are expecting links to Casey Kasem’s famously out-of-character in-studio rant, as well as that exquisitely profane t10-minute mixtape of ABC promo legend Ernie Anderson’s greatest not-for-air hits.
In the interest of historical completeness, I did offer ‘em. But The Landlord feels they’re not quite appropriate for linkage, due to their frequent use of coarse Anglo-Saxonisms and barnyard epithets. And let’s face it: that was probably the grown-up call.
Yes, I know the snickering adolescent goober in you wants to hear ‘em. But VoiceOverXtra has what some folks in this business used to call "standards.” So don’t even ask.
As with most things on the Internet, if you’re into it, you can find it.
8. DAWS BUTLER:
No collection of in-studio tomfoolery would be complete without this classic.
Daws Butler works some brilliant parody magic with John Harmon, Shepard Menken, and Herschel Bernardi.
Click here for the audio, hosted on Harlan Hogan's website.
Even today, when a VO recording session goes long enough and badly enough, someone in the room who’s familiar with this bit is quite likely to inject a hearty "Blooper’s Soap!” to lighten the mood.
9. VARIOUS ARTISTS:
LA studio legend Marc Graue has a top-notch (and occasionally NSFW) collection of bloopers on his website, including many of the clips referenced above, as well as fits of ‘tude from Adam West, Jack Palance, Marlon Brando and several shall-remain-anonymous fluffers.
Click here to the blooper page on Marc's website ... and don’t miss the Renee Zellwegger and Martin Scorsese clips!
10. CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER:
Here’s sort of a non-outtake outtake that seems appropriate for the holiday season: Colonel Von Trapp’s actual vocal performance of the tender Rogers & Hammerstein classic on the set of The Sound of Music.
Herr Plummer, an inexperienced singer, was quite nervous about filming this scene - and with Julie Andrews in the room, who can blame him?
Click here for this performance. Personally, I think it’s actually an authentic and moving rendition, and might even have worked as well in the final film as the replacement version performed by vocalist Bill Lee.
Well, that’s it for this go-round, o frantic ones. Till we meet again, face front - and keep thy webs untangled! Excelsior!
ABOUT BILLY ...
Billy James is a longtime voice actor based in Charlotte, NC. He’s also the co-host of Premiere’s syndicated John Boy & Billy morning radio show. (But try not to hold that against him.) For a slightly skewed take on news from the world of VO, check out billyvoice.com/blog.
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