The guy who says "Welcome" on AOL...

The article on the guy who says the messages on AOL really interested me, but I have something that’s been bugging me for a long time; who the heck is that guy who is always in the movie previews? Any of guys know? It’s always the same guy with the really low voice. Who is it???

Well, the only time i’ve actually seen the guy is in a BLOCKBUSTER VIDEO commercial. Where these two people come up to the desk clerck and asks, “what’s this movie about?”
The Clerk then says, “John?”
The guy who does the voice comes out from under the desk and starts to explain the movie. I thought it was hilarious!

I remember that commercial, too. I don’t know whether or not it was the real guy, though.

I’ve got a source that knows the answer to that one, I’ll check it out for you. The bottom line: there are about three voices, they get hired by all the studios who make the trailers.

OK, here’s the Straight Dope, from my friend Eric in Hollywood (he works for a company that makes previews of coming attractions, technically called “trailers” or “spots.”)

Eric says: "There are actually several people you hear. Among them are Don LaFontaine and Hal Douglas. The untrained listener could easily confuse them. There’s also Andy Geller who narrated the spots for ARMAGEDDON and GODZILLA, Percy Rodriguez who does comedies like I LOVE YOU TO DEATH, Mark Elliot who is almost exclusively Disney, and a few others whose names I’m forgetting.

"They are not under contract to the studios, so they bounce from project to project, and are basically cast and even represented like actors. Agencies rep them. I’m not sure if these agencies are devoted solely to the voice over artists (as much as the word ‘devotion’ can be used in this town) or if they are voice-over divisions of larger, more comprehensive agencies. Incidentally, they seem to make pretty serious money.

"I am not sure how industry-wide this practice is, but my company hires the voice-over artists you hear on the spots that we make. I’m sure studios may request one narrator (or voice-over artist) from time to time, but it seems to me that the ‘casting’ is left to us. There are some guys you get for action, others you get for comedy, and so on. A few, like Don, can do it all.

“I’ve always been interested to note that there are never, ever female narrators in trailers or on TV spots.”

Once or twice I’ve heard female voices in promos – always for TV-movie chick flicks, and always with a “just about to start crying but fighting it back” catch in the voice.

John W. Kennedy
“Compact is becoming contract; man only earns and pays.”
– Charles Williams