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The Most Famous Promo Guy of All Time

 
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Bruce
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Joined: 06 Jun 2005
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Location: Portland, OR

PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2022 7:50 am    Post subject: The Most Famous Promo Guy of All Time Reply with quote

We rarely got to see him but heard him hundreds/thousands of times during the 70s and 80s, possibly the most famous voiceoverist of all time. Here he is on David Letterman’s show from many moons ago:

https://youtu.be/u3TmBdHUiy8


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Bob Bergen
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2022 10:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was fortunate to be in an all day Saturday workout group when I was a teen with the top tier of vo talent. Ernie came by from time to time. It was like watching Michelangelo at the mic.

Note in the Letterman interview how he uses his hand when working. The first time I met him, and the first time at the mic in front of him, he critiqued the hell outta me. I used to stand at the mic with my hands in my pockets. A combination of nerves and inexperience. After a take, he yelled out (cleaning up what he said a bit for this page), "KID! What the hell are you doing with your hands in our pockets, pleasuring yourself? Use your damn hands to conduct emphasis! Right now you are just reading. Right now you are boring the crap outta me. Right now you are an amateur wannabe who will never go beyond where you are right now. If you want to work in this business, then that the last time you perform a voiceover with your hands in your pockets."

.....and it was! Back then we called that tough love. He, along with others who were that direct and blunt are beyond responsible for my career. They gave me the kick in the pants I needed to strive to be in their league.

Here's another video of Ernie at work:
https://youtu.be/dErRrsUTaEk?t=156

Ernie HATED the conversational read. He was not shy about his disdain for the trend. In the early 90s he one time said to me, "Kid you might stand a chance now beyond those silly voices!" I could never master that classic announcer style. Part of it was my pipes, part was I just couldn't master the style. I think he felt the industry lost the luster when the reads got more conversational. He lost respect for the content.

Here's one more, his final interview. If colorful language is not your thing, do not watch. But this is the Ernie I remember.
https://youtu.be/u4jP_REbCGg
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Philip Banks
Je Ne Sais Quoi


Joined: 20 Jun 2005
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Location: Portgordon, Scotland

PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2022 12:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What a delightful man!
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johnmilesprod



Joined: 03 Feb 2005
Posts: 23
Location: San Francisco, CA

PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2022 9:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I grew up outside of Cleveland and watched him all the time on local WJW-TV. My older brother LOVED his "blow up something" segments on his horror show- Shock Theater. He often clashed with station management and was a major celebrity in Cleveland before heading West along with Tim Conway, who was also from the Cleveland area. Walk into any bar in NE Ohio and mention Ghoulardi and you'd get a hand slap and chuckle. The two of them created many funny segments on local TV (experimented) before Ernie departed Cleveland to L.A. and hit it big as a booming promo voice.

He hated voicing from a booth, so he often VO'd from outside the booth with a 416.Some of his VO promo sessions were loaded with XXX commentary as he recorded. (Um, "salty language") A real blast from the past character.
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Bob Bergen
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2022 11:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

johnmilesprod wrote:
He hated voicing from a booth, so he often VO'd from outside the booth with a 416.Some of his VO promo sessions were loaded with XXX commentary as he recorded. (Um, "salty language") A real blast from the past character.


He was indeed a character. Very sure of himself and buyers paid top dollar as he had the talent to back up his, shall we say, personality. Paul Frees was the same way. Salty and demanding. As salty as Ernie could be, he was also a pure delight to chat with.

Another lesson I learned from Ernie was the value in the word "no." He would say, "Ya gotta risk using the word no if you ever want to get a yes, or grow a career!" He saw his career blossom as soon as he was willing to walk away from a gig if the buyers weren't interested in paying what he felt he was worth. Every time I have said no in my own career the buyers have come back with a yes. Even when I really meant no. There have been times I just didn't want to do a job. But often playing hard to get gets em more interested. I give Ernie the credit for teaching me this valuable (and often hard) lesson.
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Lee Gordon
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Joined: 25 Jul 2008
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2022 11:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bob Bergen wrote:
There have been times I just didn't want to do a job.


That's why there's the I Don't Want to Do It Price™.
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ccpetersen
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Joined: 19 Sep 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2022 2:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lee, SO true.
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Bob Bergen
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Joined: 22 Apr 2008
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2022 3:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lee Gordon wrote:
Bob Bergen wrote:
There have been times I just didn't want to do a job.


That's why there's the I Don't Want to Do It Price™.


TRUE! And sometimes I have asked for an enormous amount just so THEY say no....and they've said yes. OY!
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Philip Banks
Je Ne Sais Quoi


Joined: 20 Jun 2005
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Location: Portgordon, Scotland

PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2022 3:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I once quoted the "know they will refuse price" to a production company and an email came back.

"They went for it, sorry! Script attached. Mike"
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Bob Bergen
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2022 5:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Philip Banks wrote:
I once quoted the "know they will refuse price" to a production company and an email came back.

"They went for it, sorry! Script attached. Mike"


Right???? So, I have asked my agents to follow up with the following:

"We tried to out price our client in a way to sway you to hire someone else. The fact is, our client just is not interested in voicing this project. But we thank you for considering him."

Even that has not worked at times. But if I am not interested, there's no dollar amount to sway me. But again, it's a great way to negotiate more money for jobs we want! Ya just have to risk the word no.
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chrisvoco
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Joined: 14 Mar 2014
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2022 7:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have some audio clips of Ernie's imaging for The Buzzard somewhere here.

Mr. Bergen mentioned Paul Frees. The United States is *still* a Stan Freberg Production, you know.
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Philip Banks
Je Ne Sais Quoi


Joined: 20 Jun 2005
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Location: Portgordon, Scotland

PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2022 11:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bob Bergen wrote:

Right????


If I genuinely do not want to do the job as opposed to would "prefer" not to do it I simply decline with a "thanks for thinking of me" plus the name of one or two suitable people to consider. This particular job would take up a weekend and as my wife was working away from home I concluded that I may as well treat the 2 days as "school days" and pay off another chunk of the mortgage or buy a hat.

Should my agent pitch me for a job and I get it, I accept with thanks and without comment. When I signed with my current agent the first job was a "I can afford TWO MASSIVE YACHTS and a Twix" job. The client turned out to be a company with which I would've preferred not to be associated. Luckily, this company insisted on an NDA. Would I sign? I was DELIGHTED to sign. Sometimes we win and sometimes we simply blunder around buggering it up like everyone else Laugh
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todd ellis
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2022 4:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
simply blunder around buggering it up


this has been my business plan since 1997. i should embroider it on a throw pillow.
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