While compiling a list of our five favorite celebrity narrators, only two stipulations were used: First, this list only deals with scripted american programming. Documentaries don't count, nor do any overseas imports. Second, the narrator in question can not have appeared on screen as a regular character on the series (although in some instances, the narrator is a future version of the main character, played by a different actor).
That being said, here are our five ...
It's always fun when stuff like this happens, where you recognize a beloved TV character's voice elsewhere. I surfed around YouTube and found a video of Sutherland in the recording studio, along with Gary Oldman, who played James Gordon on The Dark Knight, among dozens of other films.
It seemed like a respectful decision, but it felt a bit wrong to me. The voice over was a simple sentence: "This is the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric." That's it. It felt like a good way to pay tribute to his immense contributions to television news and to bridge the years between his era and the current one. And, shockingly enough, it wouldn't have felt creepy at all, just comforting.
Cronkite's family must have felt the same way, as they've given CBS permission to keep using his voice at the top of the broadcast. How long CBS will keep doing it is anyone's guess. But if Billy Mays can keep selling Oxi Clean from the Great Beyond, why can't Uncle Walter keep introducing the news?
-- Why bother with the Outstanding Mini-Series category? There were only two nominees worthy of a nomination. Exactly how many mini-series are even produced anymore? This is an outmoded TV format. Kill the category.
-- What's going on with the writers? 30 Rock dominates the comedy category and Mad Men dominates the drama category. What are the chances that the lone nomination in each category wins? I'd say slim and none. I call for limitations; only two episodes per series. Writing is such a subjective thing anyway. If you like 30 Rock's scattershot humor, you're more likely to vote for it compared to a traditional sitcom like Big Bang Theory. The latter should have snagged a nom for The Lizard-Spock Expansion episode.
Case in point is a recent set of Hyundai ads starring the voice of Kelsey Grammer. In the ads, Grammer compares the attributes of the Korean car company's Santa Fe SUV with a much more expensive Land Rover. Of course, this being a Hyundai ad, the Santa Fe comes out favorably, matching the Land Rover in every category except cup holders.
The first thing I noticed is that, yes, the show is going to have voiceovers! Some people hate voiceovers, some people love them. I remember that Robert Parker hated the voiceover on Spenser: For Hire, when it was actually one of the cool things about the show. There's a lot of voiceover in this pilot script, and while I don't mind it, I wonder if it's too much.
And all through the house, a heck of a lot of voice talent was stirring ... even the ones who have a voice like a mouse. When was the last time you saw Eddie Deezen? It's probably been awhile, however he's been heard a lot -- most recently in Kim Possible. As far as all of the other voice over actors in this piece? Legendary. You've got everyone from The Unit's Dennis Haysbert to SpongeBob's Tom Kenny to Don LaFontaine, trailer announcer extraordinaire reading you this classic tale.
Gather around your computer, and warm everyone with this holiday classic. I can't imagine all of this VO talent assembling again, so enjoy it while you can.
Okay, kids, for this addition of "The Five" we're going to talk about those voices we love so much. I'm going to focus entirely on television announcers, but I'm expanding the topic to include anyone whose job in television is (or was) centered around their vocal cords. That's why you won't see Mel Blanc or Daws Butler on my list, though they most certainly would have been on it otherwise. Everyone on board? Okay, let's do it:
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