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What Was the First Voice Over You Remember Hearing?

By Stephanie Ciccarelli

August 17, 2010

Comments (38)

Woman cupping her earPeople are surrounded by media, much of which includes voice over, and first encounter voice overs at a very young age.

What's the first voice over that you recall hearing?

Find out what some voice actors have to say about their earliest voice over memories and add your story as a comment in today's VOX Daily.

Voice Overs That Become Part of Us

If you can go back in time to the first voice over you ever heard, or at least the one that sticks with you to this day as the most memorable, what would it be?

I asked a number of voice actors via our Voices.com Facebook fan page about their first recollection of voice over's influence in their lives and discovered the following:

"Mel Blanc, to be sure!"
-- Abel Kellam

"Boris Karloff doing How the Grinch Stole Christmas was wonderful."
-- PJ Delia

"Well, aside from television commercials which weren't really on my radar at that age I guess it had to be James Earl Jones as Darth Vader, although I would not have known what to call it then..."
-- Tyler Bamhill

"All those great voices on Rocky and Bullwinkle. They turned me on to character voices, as a kid. I grew up listening to those great voices of Boris and Natasha, the squirrel, and the professor. We had great fun playing the same games and adventures and using those voices -- even as kids! ... Those voices brought those places and people alive. Life would be so much poorer without those talents."
-- Carolyn Collins Petersen

"The first voice over I heard that really stood out was Mitch Craig on a radio station sweeper in Charlotte, NC, on a hot summer day in the 1980's. It was crisp, clear, heavy, and booming like thunder with a slight hint of reverb, and it sent chills down my spine as I thought: 'This must be the voice of GOD!'"
-- Kahuna Ric

"Mel Blanc doing Bugs Bunny. Then, all the other Warner Bros. characters. As a kid, I used to try to imitate the characters. I was fascinated, even then, with the concept of creating a personality with just a voice. His talent was/is awesome!"
-- Fred Symington

"Thurl Ravencroft - It was astounding to me that a voice a distinct as his singing 'You're a Mean One Mr. Grinch' which became a beloved classic was not credited for his amazing work - it showed me that it wasn't about getting credit for your work, but instead was all about the creation of a quality product for the benefit of the audience."
-- Sean Sullivan

"The first voice over actor that really broke through the cartoons for me was June Foray as Natasha and Rocky J. Squirrel. Maybe it's because she was a woman, or because I just loved the voices, or because I learned to replicate them, I don't know, but she was the first voice over I really noticed and fell in love with. It was such a thrill to meet her in person at VOICE... something I never thought would actually happen. (as it's been said before, commercial VOs didn't make the radar till I was much older)."
-- Moe Egan

"I have to speak to the cartoons from Saturday morning television, Mel Blanc primarily. There is also the voices of Batman, Robin, Superman, Wonder Woman and Aquaman from the 'Super Friends' cartoons. Sadly, I have inflicted them on my kids while I cringed at how cheesy shows were."
-- George Washington III

"I loved the voices from the original He-man cartoon: John Erwin, Alan Oppenheimer, Lou Scheimer, Linda Gary and Erika Scheimer. I also remember a recording way back of James Earl Jones reading 'The Raven' by E.A. Poe. I thought at the time 'No one will EVER read this story this well ever ever ever.'"
-- Elie Hirshman

"I would have to go with Bugs Bunny cartoons (Mel Blanc all encompassing) and my first cartoon Movie in the theatres that I saw was the first re-release of Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs... loved Snow White's singing... but the witch scared me and I made my mother take me out of the theatre... I was only 5. Finally got to see the whole movie when I was 28."
Maggie Mustico

"Like everyone it was the cartoon voices of Mel Blanc, June Foray, Daws Butler, Don Messick, etc. But also (and I'm not embarrassed to say it) hearing Rod Roddy on The Price Is Right. When he rambled off those product descriptions so smoothly and flawlessly... I thought that was the coolest and wondered how I could get a job like that. Now I know."

Jim Feldman

What About You?

What was your first voice over memory?

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Best wishes,

Stephanie

©iStockphoto.com/coloroftime

Related Topics: acting, actors, animation, Batman, cartoons, characters, Christmas, Disney, radio, reading, TV, voice overs, voice talent


Comments


    Ed McMahon

    Posted by:
    • Ken Karp
    • August 18, 2010 2:00 AM

      Cartoons in England are the first that come to mind and of those Ringo Starr narrating Thomas The Tank Engine in the '80's.

      Posted by:
      • Natale Donegan
      • August 18, 2010 2:00 AM

        I had records (which I still have) that I listened to over and over. Stan Freeberg (his History of the United States has many famous VO actors in it), Carol Channing (what a great speaking voice she had) reading Madeline and other wonderful stories, Vivien Leigh reading Peter Rabbit (to this day, I read it to my kids in her voice) Cyril Ritchard reading Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass and Boris Karloff reading Aesop's fables. They all have beautifully distinct voices and I think that's why I became an actor and VO artist.

        Posted by:
        • Lucy Ford Tullo
        • August 18, 2010 2:02 AM

          I love radio drama.. It's the first voice acting performance I've ever heard.

          Posted by:
          • Pocholo Gonzales
          • August 18, 2010 2:02 AM

            I did lot of local radio commercials back in a day when I was still handling a local FM Station in the province. Radio broadcasting was actually my first love. I also worked with one of the Philippines' premiere radio drama actress Eloisa Cruz Canlas, aka "Lola Sela Bungangera."

            I remember when I was a little kid, I used to listen to the radio program of 'The Voice of America'. I was not yet in school during those times, so spent almost all my time listening to the radio instead of playing. I really loved listening to the program and tried to copy the tone of their voice, diction and accent. No wonder I spent most of my career in radio broadcasting.

            Posted by:
            • James Hernandez
            • August 18, 2010 2:03 AM

              The usual cartoons when I was a kid, yeah......but when I first thought about the actual RECORDING of the voice......was on Michael Jackson's Thriller album......the Vincent Price monologue for the song Thriller. I was just a kid but I remember listening and picturing him in a studio.....recording the whole thing. I could even feel when he was in a closer proximity to the mic on certain breaths, words, or lines.......I was fascinated. And hooked. I guess I was an audio nerd even back then.

              Posted by:

                Loved Rod Serling on The Twilight Zone as a kid and have wanted to sound like him ever since!

                Posted by:
                • Charles C. Urban
                • August 18, 2010 8:23 AM

                  For me it was a Disney storyteller. I have no idea, to this day, who she was. But I used to have a little TV looking device with a turntable on top and kind of a slide thing of pictures you'd put down into it to see pictures as you listened.

                  The Disney storyteller was so good that I actually (at 3 or 4 years old) wondered who she was and wanted to be a Disney Storyteller.

                  Of course, I didn't realize what VO was... and until I kind of "fell" into it when I was 18... still didn't know.

                  I'd love to know who that storyteller was, though I doubt she's still around.

                  Posted by:

                    My first memory was the intro to the Lone Ranger TV show, cloud of dust and a mighty Hi O Silver!!!!!

                    Posted by:
                    • Dean L
                    • August 18, 2010 9:25 AM

                      Certainly cartoons, but the two that stick out to me most were Casey Kasem and radio imaging voices.

                      Posted by:

                        Speed Riggs doing the tobacco auctioneer's chant for for Lucky Strike Cigarettes. Set the bale in at $32.00 and "Sold American" at $36.00

                        Posted by:

                          Two voice overs spring to mind, one from the US and one from the UK, as heard in my youth, living in the land of Oz.

                          From America on radio and heard on tape right across Australia it was "Garner Ted Armstrong And 'The World Tomorrow' ", a daily religious programme. And on the light hearted comedy TV front it was my weekly dose of Wilbur Post's friend "Mr Ed, The Talking Horse" - "Oh Wilbur, you've done it again !" The audio memories remain embedded in the brain.

                          Regards,
                          IAN in Oz

                          Posted by:

                            Got to be Rocky and Bullwinkle, Beany and Cecil, Casper, Flintstones.
                            When I started recording audiobooks, my first one had Russian bad guys in it and I'd never done a Russian before. My husband (who does a zillion character voices) told me, "Just think about Boris Badenoff--'moose and squirrel'--and talk like your mouth is full of marbles." It worked! I had Boris in my head on every line!

                            Posted by:

                              Probably "The Story Lady" who would read kids books on radio in Connecticut along with Johnny Olsen and Don Pardo on TV game shows.

                              Another inspiration was recently deceased Bob Shepard who passed away recently at 99 and was "Voice of God" at Yankee Stadium from 1951 to 2008. He was more proud of his college public speaking teaching than his Yankees work.

                              David

                              Posted by:

                                Apparently, I'm a lot older than those whose responses are below. The voices I remember go back to the days before television to radio & the one that stands out the most is the voice (I have no idea who it was) that said, "The weed of crime bears bitter fruit. Crime doesn't pay. THE SHADOW KNOWS"

                                There were 78 rpm records "Willie the Whale who wanted to sing at the Met" which introduced me to Opera, still reverberates in my memory.

                                Bill Rapp

                                Posted by:
                                • Bill Rapp
                                • August 19, 2010 10:10 AM

                                  Stephanie,

                                  Although I was yet to become aware of commercial voice-overs, the first radio voices that I remember in my youth were Fibber McGee (Jim Jordon) and Molly (Marian Driscoll). I was glued to the old Philco upright radio when the wacky crew from 79 Wistful Vista Avenue came over the airwaves. I always listened for the opening of McGee's closet, not knowing it was the handiwork of the sound effects man. And my favorite character on the show, other than Fibber and Molly was Throckmorton P. Gildersleeve (Harold Peary). To quote Archie and Edith Bunker, "Those were the days."

                                  Don Foster

                                  Posted by:
                                  • Don Foster
                                  • August 19, 2010 10:11 AM

                                    CHICKENMAN!! Oh, how I loved them...they were the ultimate. This is one good place that spawned the vision of my future. One day I'm gonna get over to the Radio Ranch in LA.

                                    Posted by:
                                    • Laurie Allen
                                    • August 19, 2010 10:28 AM

                                      My favorites and those which impacted me the most have to have been the very early Looney Toons.Bugs and Daffy were literally off the wall and Porky's delivery was noticeably different than it eventually became.

                                      Posted by:

                                        My dad was a Top 40 dj; so his voice was the first one I remember on the radio. But my first voice over awareness outside my family was Tony The Tiger. He was GRRRRRRREAT!

                                        Posted by:
                                        • Susan Pierce
                                        • August 23, 2010 4:33 PM

                                          First I remember are Whitefang and Blacktooth on the Soupy Sales show on TV

                                          Posted by:
                                          • Jack Hamlett
                                          • August 24, 2010 6:12 PM

                                            Walter Cronkite...Without a doubt...he closed every newscast with his catch phrase..."And That's The Way It Is"

                                            Posted by:
                                            • zookmatthews
                                            • December 7, 2010 12:28 PM

                                              Mel Blanc's magic has been well-documented here already. I also loved the legendary cast of "Rocky & Bullwinkle" and the amazing work of Paul Frees for Disney. Geniuses all.

                                              Posted by:

                                                Probably Tony the Tiger in Frosted Flakes as a kid.

                                                Posted by:
                                                • Laura Upton
                                                • May 28, 2011 4:44 PM

                                                  The first one that I have a true memory of, and thinking it was neat, was "Life cereal, even Mikey likes it"

                                                  Posted by:
                                                  • Terry Jones
                                                  • May 28, 2011 4:44 PM

                                                    Paul Winchell the voice of Tigger from Walt Disney or Phil Harris who did so many Disney voices perhaps George Sanders as Shere Khan the Tiger.

                                                    Posted by:
                                                    • Nick Montague
                                                    • May 28, 2011 4:45 PM

                                                      Salem cigarettes. That was a very, very long time ago.

                                                      Posted by:
                                                      • Jeff Skinner
                                                      • May 28, 2011 4:45 PM

                                                        Whoever the guy was that did the voice over for Roger Ramjet and Bullwinkle (I realize I should know this) ;-(

                                                        Posted by:
                                                        • Mark Boudreaux
                                                        • May 28, 2011 4:46 PM

                                                          This is, CNN. People have me say that all the time.

                                                          Posted by:
                                                          • Dan Gasio
                                                          • May 28, 2011 4:47 PM

                                                            I think it was the control voice on "The Outer Limits" saying they had taken control of my TV set! :)

                                                            Posted by:
                                                            • Doug Jeffery
                                                            • May 28, 2011 4:47 PM

                                                              An early voice I remember that really caught my attention as a toddler was Ken Nordine. It must have been the Taster's Choice coffee ads. Rod Serling's National Geographic Special narrations. Danny Dark, who was the voice of NBC. My friend, the late Billy Moore doing "The Wonderful World of Disney" intro. Bill Young's concert spots. Back home in Pittsburgh, my mentor, Porky Chedwick (still on the air at 93), doing ads for bell-bottom jeans--but I never held that against him.

                                                              Posted by:
                                                              • Ed Weigle
                                                              • May 28, 2011 4:49 PM

                                                                Promos for ABC shows in the 70s.

                                                                Posted by:
                                                                • Tony Penny
                                                                • May 28, 2011 4:50 PM

                                                                  My earliest was Raymond McGrath, " Your host on Inner Sanctum" as to actual voice overs...probably Barry Gordon...

                                                                  Posted by:
                                                                  • Jim Platt
                                                                  • May 28, 2011 4:51 PM

                                                                    Most memorable was the introduction to "Tales from the Darkside" tv series. Awesome!

                                                                    Posted by:
                                                                    • Tony Pasquale
                                                                    • May 28, 2011 4:52 PM

                                                                      Before TV, radio was king and everything was voice-over.

                                                                      Posted by:
                                                                      • Jim Hull
                                                                      • May 28, 2011 4:52 PM

                                                                        My first moment of realization about "voiceover" was the voice of the Wizard in that green flaming throne room scene in "The Wizard of Oz."

                                                                        Posted by:
                                                                        • Chris Hiler
                                                                        • May 28, 2011 4:53 PM

                                                                          Casey Kasem in super friends or whatever.

                                                                          Posted by:
                                                                          • Vega McClintock
                                                                          • May 28, 2011 4:54 PM

                                                                            Paul Harvey. Good Day!

                                                                            Posted by:
                                                                            • Dan Harder
                                                                            • May 28, 2011 4:54 PM

                                                                              Fred Foy doing the intro to The Lone Ranger with the William Tell Overture in the background has inspired me all my life. Now that I am a voice actor it becomes even more clear to me how talented (and lucky) he was. He was also a very generous man, as he did accede to requests to perform his signature line many times.

                                                                              Posted by:

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