A Captioned World

IMAG1977The TV’s on. So is the captioning. For my dad it’s a godsend. He reads a lot better than he hears.

For me it’s a bit of a distraction. A worthy distraction, but a distraction.

Live captions follow live speech by five seconds or more. It removes the dialog from the action. You watch the touchdown and the replay before you read about it.

When it’s live, words are misspelled or a similarly sounding word is substituted for the correct on. Watching captions isn’t like listening. Context is missing.

The Tender Trap is on TCM at the moment. TCMs captions are great. Nicely formatted. In sync with the on-screen dialog. Out of the way at the very bottom of the screen.

When captions are on it’s hard not to look at them instead of the film. I find myself having to consciously move my eyes back to the actors.

All this is small peanuts. For my dad, for whom hearing is difficult, captions work.

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.