Tuesday, September 02, 2008

in a world

Movies were on my mind this morning even before I heard the sad news about Don LaFontaine's death. Don was, of course, the ultimate movie trailer voiceover announcer. YouTube has some great footage including a short documentary about "the voice" and routine by comedian Pablo Francisco. I especially enjoyed seeing "5 Guys in a Limo," which featured Don and four other voiceover guys in a skit for an industry function.

I was lucky enough to get Don to appear in one of the live radio dramas I directed at KLOS. As you would expect, he was the consummate professional, eagerly taking direction from me and waiting for me to point at him before he delivered his lines. It's no accident that I chose to stand next to Don in the cast photo.

A Christmas Carol radio play - December 11, 1998 - (left to right): Frank Murphy, Don LaFontaine, Christine Cavanaugh, Jess Harnell, Jenna Elfman, Mark Hamill, Brian Phelps, Roxann Dawson, Robert Urich, Henry Winkler, Mark Thompson

My original plan for today's entry was to gripe about the summer box office reports. With Don's passing, I've lost some of my vitriol on the topic. Hollywood touts the amount of money movies bring in but rarely mentions the number of tickets sold. A news story I heard on ABC this morning said that the movies collected $4.2 billion this summer, up slightly from last year's $4.18 billion. This came despite a four percent drop in attendance. The increase was due to higher ticket prices. I just want to hear the Hollywood studios publicly acknowledge that attendance is down because ticket prices are up. Every time they raise prices, they increase the divide between the blockbusters and the bombs. If tickets cost less, the average person would be willing to take a risk on seeing more movies in the theater rather than waiting for them to turn up on DVD or HBO. Don't even get me started on the concessions.

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Blogger Tony W said...

Frank to say you have been around the block would be a understatement you have worked with some awesome people.About those concessions i never thought i would be sneeking food into a theater.

Anonymous Sandy Weaver Carman said...

Frank, thank you for sharing your memories of Don. I hope you don't mind, but I posted the link to your blog on the VO-BB site (voice over bulletin board, to the uninitiated) so that others could share what you wrote. He truly was one of a kind...and I bet he would have been ticked about the movie ticket price-hikes, too!

Anonymous Ryan Kazinec said...

I'd have to agree with Tony, you have worked with and met some pretty cool people in your time.

I have a quick concessions story. My wife and I took my nieces to see Cars (a couple of years back) and they waited as I went up to buy some refreshments. I reached the front of the line and was asked if I would like to buy a combo. I looked at the pricing board/header and was a bit confused; there wasn't any prices for the combos. I decided to ask how much are the combos? The attendant quickly spouted off the prices. I quickly did the math and figured out that there was NO discount for buying the combo and called him on it. He shrugged his shoulders in a bit of embarrassment and said, "yeah I know." As I placed my order I asked,"what is the point of the combos?" The poor kid couldn't give me an answer.

Blogger Peter O'Connell said...


What an awesome story. Sadly you'll probably enjoy that photo even more with Don's passing...you can say you worked with one of the best.

Best always,
- Peter

Anonymous Jere said...

I think the reason they made combos was to get people to buy more food, thinking they are getting a discount. Just remember it is a combo, not a value meal (which often isn't a value either.

Blogger Chris F. said...

I'm not terribly crazy about how the studios figure these things out either. Are they still trying to make us believe that Titanic which was short on the acting and script surpasses Gone With The Wind? Easy to say when ticket prices are around $6 as opposed to a quarter then. I will give them kudos on the costume and set designs though.

I've posted my own thoughts on this matter a few weeks ago.


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