Hal Douglas: You’ll Know The Voice

hal douglasI got an email from Rick Allison this morning. It was an email forward from his voiceover agent, forwarding an email from Sarah Douglas.

Dear friends and family,

I want to share with you that Hal moved on from this life last night.
He died just as he lived- with grace, courage, and tranquility. My mother and I were by his side.

If you are so moved, join us in thought and prayer as we surround his soul with love and peace for the next stage of his journey.

Onward Hal!

With warmth and gratitude,

The name Hal Douglas probably doesn’t mean anything to you, but you know his voice. You’ve heard it a thousand times. He voiced everything!

How was it possible to have a voice so rough and simultaneously so clear? That was Hal’s gift. There’s really nothing more you could do than marvel at it. Certainly no one could compete with it!

The New York Times wrote about Hal five years ago.

Mr. Douglas says he can’t keep track of what trailers he recorded yesterday, much less over the almost 60 years he’s been behind a mike. He did “Philadelphia” and “Forrest Gump,” “Men in Black” and “Coneheads,” “Stranger Than Fiction” and “Marley and Me.” He recorded a voice-over for the Broadway play “Equus,” narrated programs on the History Channel (in the days before “Ice Road Truckers”), and served as the voice of the WB network.

“The fact is, my voice has been out there,” he said. “And it hangs out there. You sit down in the theater and sometimes in three out of four trailers I’d be on them.” – NYTimes.com

Hal’s name came up often in my conversations with Rick. We’re grownups. We discussed Hal like we’d discussed Mantle or Mays as kids. He was larger than life. A certain part of both of us wanted to grow up and be Hal, if only in front of a microphone.

There are other deep throated, beautifully phrased v/o guys. There was only one Hal. He will be missed.

Is It Dog Friendly?


Last year as we decided where to move, Doppler was a large concern. We wanted a dog friendly place. That’s part of why we chose Orange County.

IMAG0677-w1400-h1400Because of weather, life is lived more outdoors. And most places without roofs welcome dogs. You see dogs at the mall. You see dogs in Home Depot. You see dogs on restaurant outdoor patios.

That’s where we took Doppler tonight.

IMAG0670-w1400-h1400Woodbury Town Center is our local shopping center. It’s got a Ralph’s (supermarket), Home Depot, Staples, Trader Joe, Walgreen’s, banks, medical, dental and vet offices and a bunch of smaller shops. There are about a dozen restaurants clustered together in an outdoor courtyard.

We sat down outside at The Counter. It’s a build-your-own burger place. Doppler supervised quietly from Helaine’s lap.

IMAG0680-w1400-h1400The waitress saw me taking a photo with my cellphone and pointed toward a nearby fountain. She said it was perfect for sunset shots. She was right.

We wouldn’t take Doppler into a store with food, but other than that she goes nearly everywhere. We’re never the only people with a dog.

Local Strawberries Come Home

strawberry field irvine aerial


Irvine produces a lot of strawberries! It’s likely the farmland will become housing at some point. Not yet.

Meanwhile, the satellite image (thanks Google) at the top of this post shows one of many strawberry fields in my part of town.

If there’s a crop that lends itself to the anal retentive it’s strawberries! The fields are geometric works of art. The plastic wrapped raised beds run straight as an arrow. My office isn’t as neat.

Helaine stopped for some at a local farm stand. They are exquisite. We’re told they’ll be available through the summer.

Is this a fair trade for pizza? No, it is not.

You take what you can get.

Amazon And Us

amazon logoMy dad and I were on the phone yesterday. He told me he just ordered corn flakes via Amazon.

A click in the evening brought the flakes 36 hours later.

“How do they do it,” he asked?

My mom and dad, now living comfortably near my sister and her family in frigid Wisconsin, aren’t very mobile. Grocery shopping is tough.

We’re big Amazon users here too. I’m looking around my office at loads of items delivered to me. I’ve ordered on-line when I could have just gone to Home Depot, under five minutes away.

Is this a good thing? Over the short term it’s great. I get what I want with less hassle and for what’s usually the best price.

Amazon figured out how to get things to me fast using a variety of delivery services. It’s a data driven company. There’s a method to their madness, but no two packages come via the same route.

Over the long run I’m much less convinced all of this is a good thing! Staples announced they’re closing 300 stores in the US. Radio Shack is lopping off over a thousand. Retail’s in trouble. Malls are in trouble. Even Walmart is worried. Amazon is trying to hide in the corner, softly whistling.

At the same time, Amazon’s become adept at extracting favorable tax rates and incentives. A Google search for “tax incentive amazon” shows a half dozen states considering or already offering large sums of money to Amazon.

Everything I buy online I don’t buy in a store. Amazon fills the gap with fewer employees earning less money. I’m not paying today. I’m paying tomorrow. The jobless require assistance. It’s not the workers fault.

George Jetson at WorkIf the Jetsons had properly predicted the future, where George comes to work and immediately puts his feet up on his desk, we’d be fine. I grew up with that fantasy. But labor saving hasn’t meant making life easier for labor. The effect has been quite the opposite.

The convenience offered by buying online is huge. It’s only when you see the whole picture, it becomes suspect.

These are complex choices. I’m not rushing to a decision. It’s confusing.

Busy Tuesday (As Told Late Wednesday)

LA drive

Busy Tuesday. Part planned. Part surprise.

Up the 5 in traffic. That’s the norm.

We’re 45 miles from Los Angeles. An hour without traffic. Hours with. Plan on an hour and a half, then pray.

I met Gary Brown on the edge of Beverly Hills at a Starbucks. Gary was news director at Channel 3 in Hartford. Friendly competitors.

He and I are both fascinated by the inner workings of television and television news. We had a lot to talk about.

Gary’s an agent. Not mine.

It was a sunny, mild day. We agreed coffee and a window seat at Doheny and West Olympic is great for people watching.

Next stop Sherman Oaks. My friend Howard Lapides… my best man Howard Lapides… manages acts and puts deals together. I can’t explain it. He probably can’t either.

His office sits above Ventura Blvd. with a picture postcard view of the San Fernando Valley and mountains to the north. A little hazy this day.

Hollywood is unusual because so many people work short term jobs. Once production’s done, next. In most case a new employer. A new everything. Howard assembles the deals that put all those non-connected people together… I think.

We’ve been friends over 2/3 of our lives.

He had an appointment at 6:00. I asked if I could tag along. We went to Louise Palanker’s home not far away.

Louise Palanker is a writer, producer and performer in radio, television, stage and stand-up comedy. As Senior VP of Creative and co-founder of Premiere Radio Networks, she wrote, produced and performed in over 20 programs for the network. – Wikipedia

The Showtime documentary, “Family Band: The Cowsills Story,” was “a film by Louise Palanker.”

IMAG0657Today she was sitting in a former bedroom, now an acoustically treated podcast studio. With her, a gaggle of teens.

Louise and crew were about to go live on “Our Place Network,” a website and podcast for teens. In the center of the room, a handful of inexpensive security cameras on tripods.

The equipment is of the “We’ve got a barn, let’s put on a show” variety, but the content was great. Louise was the conductor, but it was the teens who gave advice. Good advice.

It has to have more weight coming from a peer.

The questions I heard all related to the inherent awkwardness of being a teen. They are trying to find their way. They are unsure.

IMAG0659I have no idea how many people watch, but it makes no difference. This is proof-of-concept. What the podcast is isn’t as important as what it can become.

I said goodnight and headed to the 101. Through the valley, past Hollywood and Downtown, then south via the 5 past the mouse and home.

About an hour.

Dinner at In-N-Out. Double double.

Too Much Technology Run Amok

I bought a new car a few months ago. Traded my SLK230 for an SLK250. Higher number. Smaller engine. Well played Mercedes. It’s been 15 years since my last new car. Lots has changed. I like having Bluetooth. I like satellite radio. This car feels more substantial… and it’s a lot less noisy. And then […]

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I Am Very Dweeby

My audio studio is taking shape. A mic stand came this morning. Now my MudGuard, Blue Yeti microphone and wind screen are all at eye level. I am so dweeby. Part of this afternoon was spent getting a cable at Fry’s. I love Fry’s. They have a full aisle of cables! Now there’s an extra […]

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The Oscars As A Synergistic Social Media Triumph

Did you watch the Oscars? We did. I suspect numbers will be up this year. It has little to do with Ellen’s performance or anything on-the-show, though she and it were very entertaining. The Oscars has written the playbook on leveraging social media. It is the synergistic wunderkind! Truly a two screen show. If you’re […]

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Moose On The Loose In Irvine

We spent the evening with our cousins. My plan was to write about the night. It’s on hold for now. As we left the house I saw a small black and white dog at the corner. He was piddling. There was no one with him. I wish I knew the breed, but he was adorable. […]

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My Office–My Studio

I’ve cut some voice tracks recently and was upset to hear the finished product. I used my office and a Blue Yeti mic, which in spite of its name is pretty good. The problem is the acoustics of the room with echoing at high and low frequencies. The track was boomy, making my read less […]

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