“I never thought of it a great voice,” says Hal Douglas, who happens to be the owner of one of the most recognizable voices of all time.
Filmmaker Casimir Nozkowski sat down with Hal Douglas to discuss his work, techniques, and the current state of his voice in the all too short nine-minute documentary which leaves the viewer wanting to hear him describe more about his life and career.
Douglas was born in Stamford, Connecticut and served briefly as a pilot in World War II. When he returned, he attended the University of Miami to study radio and theatre. He began his voice-over career in radio in the 1950s and went on to become a producer for several prominent advertising agencies in New York City. He finally moved into doing voice-overs for commercials, promos, and trailers by the early 1970s, and continued doing so into the late 2000s.
Over his expansive career his voice has been heard in thousands of movie trailers and commercials and is he is well known as the promo voice for ABC, ABC Family, A&E, The History Channel, CBS News, NBC Sprots, and The WB. He has recorded so many trailers through the years that they are often mistaken for Don LaFontaine’s work. Because many of his movie trailers began with the words “In a world,” there is controversy over whether his voice immortalized those words or Don LaFontaine, who laid claimed to the infamous catchphrase.
As with most voice-over artists, Douglas demonstrated good camaraderie by lending his voice briefly to the hit voice-over skit 5 Men and a Limo, featuring Don LaFontaine, John Leader, Nick Tate, Al Chalk, and Mark Elliot. He can also be seen parodying himself in the popular trailer for Jerry Seinfeld’s documentary Comedian.
Douglas lives in Northern Virginia with his wife Ruth and daughter Sarah. Sarah makes an appearance in the documentary short, titled A Great Voice, briefly discussing what it was like in her early years hearing her father’s voice on TV. Douglas, now 89, occasionally still does voice-over work from his home based studio.