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Appreciation

In a World of Don LaFontaine, A Reel-Life Figure of Speech

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Don LaFontaine, known for his dramatic voice in movie trailers, has died. Video by AP
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By Hank Stuever
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, September 3, 2008

In a world of people who all coyly say "In a world . . ." and everyone gets the joke . . .

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In a world where the trailers are almost always better than the movies . . .

In a world where everything sounds pompous, intense, serious, heart-stopping, but narrated. . .

In a world of people who all have some sort of private omniscient voice-over running things inside their heads, sometimes God, sometimes Mom, and sometimes Don LaFontaine . . .

In a world where marketing is far more important than content . . . came one man . . . with a Voice.

In a world that had outgrown the voices of dictators and newsreels and Walter Cronkite . . .

In a world Don LaFontaine never made, but understood . . .

In a world where the most compelling parts of politics and sports and wars aren't the speeches anymore but the movies, the clip montage . . .

In a world that believed deeply in the potency of the words Coming Soon. . .

In a world that moved so fast it got ahead of the Voice, and so a lot of movie trailers don't have voice-overs anymore, not his Voice (or worse, they mock the idea of the Voice by mimicking the Voice.) . . .

In a world where editing is all . . . In a world of jolts (Monster in the bathroom mirror! Horrible screech! Quick cut!) . . .

In a world where the font choice is more important than the Voice, because every moviegoer now has the Voice implanted in his or her head, like standard software, so when we read the type, we read it to ourselves in Don LaFontaine's Voice . . .

In a world where eyewitnesses describe real things, real events as being "like, in a movie" . . .

In a world where Don LaFontaine could become famous for voicing 5,000 movie trailers and countless other things we heard on television, where he could show up at the Oscars and be known, where he could pop up in car insurance commercials . . . in a world where people looked nothing like they sounded, especially Don LaFontaine . . .

In a world suddenly without Don LaFontaine, who died Monday at 68 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, of lung failure, brought on by undetermined causes . . . (Cedars-Sinai being a world where the famous newly dead go on to other coming attractions).

In a world, in a world.

In a world where we'll be talking like him forever, to one another, for dramatic effect . . .



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