Growing up it felt like every movie I ever wanted to see had a trailer voiced by the same gravely voiced guy and just like one of those trailers “In a world with no internet…one man began a search that would last a lifetime” Tragically, I only found out the answer to this question after I learned that the voice of thousands of movie trailers Hal Douglas has passed away aged 89.
It seemed that every film in the 80’s and 90’s had that familiar voice on the trailers and it always puzzled me that despite having the most recognisable voice in Hollywood, he was equally almost completely anonymous at the same time.
Who could forget the Warner Brothers trailer for Letha Weapon in 1987 as Hal began “He was ready to retire…now he’s gonna wish he had”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GUorM4nTX7kHal even did his best to make the awful Waterworld from Universal Pictures sound appealing “The future…the polar ice caps have melted and the earth lies beneath a watery grave.”
The 90’s were ruled by Jerry Bruckheimer trailers and Douglas modestly begins within “After serving the last of his sentence, Cameron Poe is taking the first plane home to his wife and daughter” but its not long before he dramatically wades in with “Check your weapons. Take your seat. And say your prayers.” for the action fest Con Air.
Another Bruckheimer film The Rock “Secrets have a way of coming back to haunt you; The one you train to defend you…becomes your greatest threat”
However before you try and pigeon hole Hal Douglas, he even in 2006 his voice over genius was being used in the romantic comedy ‘The Holiday’ and the classic line “This Christmas…” and “Can a change of address, change your life?”
It was also refreshing to see that despite his success, he wasn’t afraid to laugh at himself, and famously made the hilarious movie trailer for the Jerry Seinfeld film COMEDIAN. The trailer sends up movies trailers and promos in general, and that infamous line “In a World…”
If you’re interested in learning more about Douglas, last year filmmaker Casimir Nozkowski made a short documentary entitles ‘A Great Voice’, about the most recognisable voices in cinema. If you want to learn more about voice over artists in general, I also recommend a very interesting documentary called ‘I Know That Voice’
It’s weird to think that 25 years ago, finding out information like this was incredibly hard to find but now we think any random thought and can find an answer within a few clicks but now I really do sound like Father Time, so will leave it right there.