Thursday, January 3, 2019


I've been putting one voice and character into another's for years. Favorite targets have been songs, swapping unlikely candidates into the singer's role. But movie characters are sometimes fun as well.

The most recent is Gomer Pyle. As with everyone chosen for such fun, I mean no disrespect for Gomer. He's got the over-the-top high voice and the deep accent, he's loud, and he's a little naive. But basically he's a good hearted guy who ends up in odd situations. Nonetheless, his voice alone is enough to make him perfect for substitutions.

Last night was the first. It was Gomer Pyle, Vampire. My girls have never seen Dracula, but they've seen Gomer, so they still laughed. I was doing Bela's lines from the 1931 version. (I'm not going to phoneticize, you'll just have to hear it in your head if you can.) "Listen to them, the children of the night. What music THEY make! The spider spinning his web for the unwary fly. For the blood is the life, Mr. Renfield."......."This is very old wine. I hope you will like it."....."You know too much to live, Van Helsing."...."Come here." The kids got a good laugh out of this. Unfortunately I forgot the line "To be really dead! That must be wonderful!" Next time.

This morning, for some reason, I kept getting Bob Ballaban's lines from "Close Encounters" in my head, in Gomer's voice. "He said the sun came out last night. He sang to him." "Before I got paid to speak French, I was a cartographer. This number here is a longitude."  Of course the translations into French would also be a hoot, but, not being fluent, I can only imagine.
Gomer will no doubt appear again, he's too identifiable not to.

As I mentioned, I've been doing this for years, so it's worth mentioning some old favorites.

There's "Sweet Caroline", voiced by Peter Lorre in manic mode, rather than Neil Diamond. "Hands....Touching hands....Reaching out...TOUCHING ME....TOUCHING YOU!!!!! (suddenly sweet voiced) Sweet Caroline...." etc. I'd been doing this one for the girls for years, but the highlight was when I took them to see a science show at OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry), and the guy put on a tape for backing music. It was not only "Sweet Caroline", but it started at that line! "Hands...." We all started laughing. We were in the front row, and the guy looked down at us like, "What? What's funny?" Shook his head, and went back to his show.

Sometimes it's fun to imagine entire careers switched, but use just two songs to illustrate. My favorite for this is probably Robert Plant and Maurice Chevalier. "You need cooling...Baby, I am not fooling! Way down inside...I'm going to go give you my love, woh ho HO!" (rolls eyes)...and then "Thank heaven! For little girls! Little girls! Push, push!"

I am thoroughly convinced Elvis could have done most of the classic rock canon, but I am especially fond of putting him in prog situations, complete with altered arrangements. Imagine "Prince Rupert Awakes", from King Crimson's "Lizard" album, done by the King himself in his early '70s style, with gospel backing singers, horns and tamborine on the chorus.

Little Richard would have been great on Yes' "And You And I". But it would have to be changed up to have the same pace as "Slippin' and Slidin'", with a piano part to match. Same time and breaks though, just faster. "Polical ends our sad remains...The ocean revealed is the oceans made..Wooo!"

Back to KC again: Tom Jones on "Starless"- not kidding, that one could work!

Back to Little Richard again, for our finale:

"Ladies and gentlemen....from Yorba Linda Kansas.......LITTLE RICHARD NIXON!!! (Thunderous applause)

(He steps up to the mic in front of the piano. He says, in Nixon's voice, "I woke up this morning. Haldeman and Erlichman were not in sight. I asked my friends about it. But all they lips was tight." And the crowd goes wild! [crowd noises]

The crowd noise settles down, and in Little Richard voice, he says, "I am not a crook! Shut up!"

I no doubt have more, but these are the ones I can think of off the top of my head. Hope you enjoyed them.

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