That Voice 
In a world where "In a world ..." has been used to introduce thousands of movie trailers, one man stood out from the crowd. A man whose voice was cut from stone and whose intonations carried the certainty of doom or glory. Don LaFontaine didn't set out to be "that guy from the movie commercials"; he started out as a production assistant writing copy for the promotional clips, recording the music, recording the voice-over artist, and mastering the final version that would be sent to a studio's advertising office for release to the public.

A one-man army of audio-visual production, all of that was to change when the voice talent his studio had engaged failed to show up for a recording session. LaFontaine, with little other choice available, read the copy himself. It wasn't the voice that was supposed to be on the trailer for "Gunfighters Of Casa Grande", but it was a placeholder so that the people at Columbia Pictures could get a feel for how it was going to sound. They liked it; they didn't want it changed and released it to the waiting public. LaFontaine pocketed the voice-over fee and decided it might be fun to do more of this.

He took his work seriously, but didn't take himself too seriously. For years, until he became extremely famous, he would often record outgoing messages for people's answer machines for free, as long as they let him do what ever he pleased. He also had few reservations when it came to parodying himself, as he did for one of his numerous guest voice actor roles -- "In a world . . . there, I said it. Happy?"

He inspired, and continues to inspire, voice-over artists. However, since he left this celestial orb five years ago today, movie trailers don't sparkle quite the way they used to.

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