Voices Carry

I was reminded this weekend of something I discovered quite by accident some years back, but which still gives me a certain delight.

When Ian and Dixon were small, putting them to bed involved playing one of two roles: Reader or Stayer. Either you could be the one who read them a bedtime story, or you could be the one who stayed in the room after the story was over until they fell asleep.  Kelly has a very animated style of reading, but the kids soon made it clear that they wanted her nearby for comfort as they nodded off, which meant that I ended up as the more-or-less-regular Reader.

This is okay with me. I have a lot of practice reading (and extemporizing) aloud, and partly because I'm an auditory processor, I'm a pretty good mimic. Thus, when reading aloud, I would almost always pick a voice for each character, often one based on a movie or record, so that I could keep them straight more easily. I used a lot of comedy albums for this purpose, making various characters from literature talk like Mr. Praline or the 2000 Year Old Man or Al Sleet (Your Hippy-Dippy Weatherman), but for some books, these voices just didn't work.

The Wind in the Willows was such a book. How does one properly voice a rat, a mole, a badger, and a toad?

Luckily, I realized, I already had an answer for that:

Yes, thanks to the immortal production team of Cosgrove and Hall, and a few too many afternoons watching Nickelodeon after classes at UNC were over, I knew exactly what a brash, bold rat (or mouse), a naive, awkward mole (or hamster), a brusque badger, and an egomaniacal toad ought to sound like, and I spent the entirety of the book using the voices of DangerMouse, Penfold, Colonel K and Baron Greenback to bring Kenneth Grahame's book to life and put the boys to sleep.

But until now, I've never publicly thanked the Cosgrove-Hall team for their bedtime assistance. It's well past time.

Cheers, lads! You're terrific! You're magnific!

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This page contains a single entry by Peter Cashwell published on July 6, 2009 8:14 PM.

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