The feedback sounds I’m listening to now at the beginning of my recorded interview, isn’t Apple’s fault. It isn’t even Bell’s. It was just one of the masterful sounds re-created by the voice of the talented Michael Winslow.
From the moment you begin talking to Michael Winslow, you immediately are taken back to the pure joy of childish antics, funny noises and sound effects that we are all guilty of being amused by in our youth.
Yes….just in our youth. It’s not like any of us still attempt to amuse our friends and spouses with some of these sound effects.
For those of you who might not a reminder, Mr. Winslow played the memorable character Larvell Jones in the Police Academy Film franchise. His talent for sound effects, throwing his voice and impressions became of the most beloved and popular characters in the series. Dubbed with the moniker `Man of 10,000 Voices`He has turned this unique set of voice talents into a 30 year career, spanning other films (Space Balls being his other notable cameo), TV series (Robot Chicken and Family Guy) all the way to Commercials and even Video Games. What might be a “fun at parties” talent for some, his vocal skills were both a career defining legacy but also a lonely child’s best friend growing up.
“It was always for, i didn’t have a lot of friends growing up living on Air Force Bases, Moving all the time every 2 years, just not good for a kid…so I ended up making up my own. Make up your own soundtrack, because there’s nobody there but you. You don’t make a lot of friends on an Air Force Base.” Or with salad as we learned on the Simpsons.
One demographic that was in “Full Force” here at Niagara Falls Comic Con to see Mr. Winslow, was our local boys in Blue, The Niagara Regional Police Force. It’s no coincidence that many 30 – 40 something police officers both here and abroad were fans of and influence by the Police Academy series.
“We have a (police officers) fan base all over the World. In every country. It doesn’t matter if I’m in Latvia or Dubai. it all seems to be the same reaction. Big time in the UK. REALLY big time in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, even the Hong Kong police are fans”
Now you might think that being known for sound effects and voice work might get tiresome, the last thing you’d ever want to do if you had Mr. Winslow’s skill set, the constant recognition or prodding from fans for Voicemail Messages and Ringtones. The last thing he would find himself doing is making sound effects in his spare time Quite the contrary.
“If that stupid squirrel gets into my porch at the house, it’s the Pitbull noise…because squirrels hate Hip Hop”
“For me it’s, it’s I don’t even think about. I’ve gotten past the point where I don’t even realize I’m doing it.”
This led to an amusing story about his time spent on an International Flight with Legendary Comedian and impressionist, the late Jonathan Winters.
“I’ve already been told every time I get on a plane. ‘Mr. Winslow (he begins in his best British Flight Attendant voice) Do not….DO NOT do the flight attendant call button sound. Please. Sir that’s not funny’ That’s good for a good 30 minutes of fun. They go and check every seat. ”
He breaks into an example of it with full mimicry of the scenario.
“I actually learned that from Johnathan Winters. He taught me that noise. it went on for over 20 minutes. Now Mrs. Winters (seated next to Johnathan on the flight) was not amused. She just sat there glaring at us both, face buried in the flight magazines”
Now that would be a flight I would have love to be stuck on, even next to a crying baby.
Niagara Falls Comic Con is happening all weekend long at the Scotiabank Convention Centre here in Niagara Falls. For tickets or more information visit http://niagarafallscomiccon.com/