Saturday, January 27, 2007

Oooh baby, left turn ahead...

In reading your comments about GPS systems a question occurred to me. If you could pick the voice, who would it be?

At first I thought, maybe someone like James Earl Jones. But considering he’s Darth Vader I could just imagine that heavy breathing while the car was idling at a stop light. And God forbid I don’t follow one of his instructions.

I’m sure men and women would make different selections. I can’t see too many guys going with Barry White. “Oooooh baby, turn left ahead. You know you want to do it. Come on, baby, do it. Turn left. Now. Ohhhh yeah!”

Guys might prefer that late night bedroom voice a la Allison Steele, the sexiest sounding disc jockey in the history of radio.

If you really have esteem issues you might want your mother’s voice. Or your drill sergeant’s. “I can’t BELIEVE you ain’t at that intersection yet, you Goddamn maggot pussy!”

There’s always Simon Cowell but he’d stop you after thirty seconds and tell you it’s pointless to go any further.

And Dick Tufeld, the voice of the robot on LOST IN SPACE. “Danger! Danger! Dead end ahead.”

If you used William Daniels you could pretend you were in Knight Rider.

For just classic great radio voices (you might not know the names but you’d recognize them when you heard them) : Dan Ingram, Robert W. Morgan, Jon Miller, Neil Ross, Randy West, Mike McCann, Gary Burbank, Lyle Dean, Dave Williams, Gary Owens, Bill Drake, Humble Harv, Laurie Allen, Charlie Van Dyke, Howard Hoffman, Mark Elliott, and Rick Dees.

Randy Thomas has great pipes. She’s the “Hooked on Phonics” spokesman. Also the booth announcer for the Academy Awards. “This is Ken’s second trip to Calabasas, first to 10835 Ventura Blvd.” (Randy also will be announcing this year's Superbowl halftime show. If you used her voice you could probably get your car into VIP parking in certain places.)

I always liked that throaty tone of Kirstie Alley. And if you wanted to feel important, how about that guy who does all the movie trailers? “YOU have arrived at YOUR dessss-ti-nationnnnn.”

And then there’s Seth MacFarlane who could give you a lot of voices. Same for Harry Shearer. You’d never fall asleep at the wheel if Robin Williams were reeling off directions in thirty different accents.

Kiefer Sutherland could do it but you’d have trouble hearing him. Half the time you’d be yelling “WHAT??!” at the screen.

People I would least like as my GPS guide: Barbra Streisand, Joan Rivers, Bobcat Goldwait, Gilbert Godfried, Rosie O’Donnell, Fran Drescher, Danny Bonaduce, Judy Tanuta, Joe Cocker, Jaimie White, and Tim McCarver.

But if I had to choose one voice and one voice only… it would have to be Vin Scully. “Pull up a chair, put on your seatbelt and spend a little time…going to 320 Kimber Road.” I might just give an address in New York and let him take him the whole way.

Who would your custom GPS voice be?

50 comments:

JoeyH said...

If he were alive, Rex Allen Sr. Narrated all those great Disney nature films on "Wonderful World of Color." Or maybe Mason Adams (With a name like Smuckers, it has to be good). Perhaps Douglas Rain (voice of HAL 9000). Females? How about Jennifer Tilley?

Joel said...

I like Vin Scully.

Phil Rizzuto would make you laugh for the whole ride. You'd get hopelessly lost, but at least the ride would be fun.

Other than that, I suggest Billy West as either Zoidberg or Marge Schott.

Stan said...

You nailed it Ken. It has to be Vin. Got a satellite radio just so I could listen to the first three innings of Dodger home games from here in nova SCotia.

Paul Duca said...

I said I'd go with Ken...he's already had some practice.
There's a Beaver Cleaver aircheck where he states "If you were supposed to pick her up at 7 o'clock you're two minutes late, bozo". I can picture that voice coming out of the dashboard. Or at least any of the other radio voices Ken suggests (Howard Hoffman certainly could prove getting there IS half the fun--especially with his help).

zazupitts said...

Barbara Feldon...or Yogi Berra. I'd never get to where I was going.

Dave Lifton said...

Given that her voice already follows me around everywhere, it would be illogical for my GPS system to not have my mother's voice on it.

VP19 said...

My GPS announcer: Harry Kalas, voice of the Phillies, NFL Films and countless commercials.

Speaking of great voices and rock DJs, there's an aircheck of Alan Freed from 1960, after his banishment from New York radio, at KDAY in Los Angeles (he apparently didn't stay very long because he wanted to host some stage shows, which was against station policy). He sounds in fine form, and KDAY's station sound is sort of a precursor to Bill Drake's KHJ some five years later, although nowhere as tight. Of course, by then Freed sadly was no longer with us.

Devin McCullen said...

A couple more who are no longer available: Johnny Cash, and the "Voice of God" himself, John Facenda. "Make a right turn and you will see the frozen tundra of historic Lambeau Field." Also, as a Mets fan, I have to mention Bob Murphy, who is alive but not in great voice these days.

Joel's right, Rizzuto would be fun. "Holy cow! You'll have to make a left turn and then a right 50 feet later. And then you're on the bridge!"

Seinfeld would work pretty good, he's got a pleasant voice and all he has to do is throw out a yada yada and everybody will start in with the references.

poor man said...

Audrey Tautou.

I may not always understand her, but I wouldn't really care if I got lost.

poor man said...

Audrey Tautou.

I may not always understand her, but also I wouldn't care if I got lost.

poor man said...

Audrey Tautou.

I may not always understand her, but I wouldn't care too much if I got lost.

Helen said...

How about Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer? You'd be terrified into driving the right way. Take a wrong turn on PAIN OF DEATH. And you wouldn't have to worry about red lights, or speeding, or any road rules, really. You'd get everywhere in 20 minutes or less, too.

Sample soundbites:

"Turn left...YOU'RE RUNNING OUT OF TIME!"

"The next right turn will bring you to your destination. I give you my word."

The 24 ticking clock sound effects would certainly add some tension and excitement to your drive, possibly causing some 'fun' blood pressure levels.

Also, I saw on Eddie Izzard's website that you can get his voice for your TomTom. That's almost reason enough to buy one, in my book.

Murph said...

Riffing off the Vin Scully reference:

"So here's Kimber Road. It's interesting to note that Kimber is the youngest of five paved thoroughfares in Southern California also named Kimber. Kimber Avenue, Kimber Boulevard, Kimber Court, Kimber Way and, of course, Kimber Road. 6 blocks long and two lanes wide. Kimber Road. K-I-M-B-E-R. Not to be confused with Kimbre Parkway. That's K-I-M-B-R-E. There's only one Kimber Road."

Chris said...

I'd have to go with Harry Kalas.

"It's a long drive to Ashburn Alley. Watch that baby..."

LA Guy said...

Dick Enberg or Will Lyman (the voice of Frontline among other things). Leonard Nimoy would be pretty good too.

Great Big Radio Guy said...

Throw this in with my GPS, and you can have Bobcat Goldthwait voice the damn thing.

Tom said...

Okay, I wouldn't want to hear him ALL the time, I'd propably need another alternative for more relaxed rides, but just for the heck oft it: I'd try TOM WAITS.

Gary said...

Tim McCarver & Joe Buck

You might have a 50-50 shot at arriving at your destination.

lairbo said...

Majel Barrett, who did the computer voice for every incarnation of the Enterprise, or Willliam Daniels from Knight Rider would be popular choices. Personally, I'd prefer Karl Kassel (if I ever win on Wait, Wait, I'd get him to record my GPS voice instead of my telephone answering machine). But, as mentioned before Vin Scully would be a real thrill. What a voice.

Also, Anthony Bourdain, with or without commentary about where you were headed and what you were passing by.

VP19 said...

Hate to tell you this, devin, but Bob Murphy left us a few years ago. So no "happy recaps" on your GPS.

DrBear said...

Want: Alexander Scourby, who did almost all of the old National Geographic specials. You'd feel like you learned something by the end of the trip.

Don't want: The voice of HAL from 2001. "I'm sorry, Dave, but I can't take you to your destination..."

Oh, and the Bob and Tom radio comedy team did one a while back with "The Nagigator," a G-PMS system using your wife's voice. "You're going too slow...now, you're going too fast!...c'mon! GREEN MEANS GO, GRANDPA!"

One final pick - Maurice LaMarche as Orson Welles. "Here, under protest, is a left turn..."

The Minstrel Boy said...

julie london -

she could make taking a sharp left sound delicious.

Ger Apeldoorn said...

The woman who does the voice-over for Desperate Housewives would be nice, but after the first season, she wouldn't know where she was going.

Mary Stella said...

If we had Joe Buck and Troy Aikman, we'd get double the directions since Troy repeats everything Joe says.

^5 to everyone who picked Harry Kalas. I can't imagine a Phillies broadcast without Harry the K.

For my GPS, I'd want Sam Elliott. 'Nuf said.

My cell phone ring tone is a Conway Twitty song. I'm not dating anyone at the moment. I'll take the deep-voiced, "Hello, Darling" anyway I can get it. *g*

Dave Williams said...

Thanks for the mention, Ken. That's huge company and I'm deeply honored.

Murph, your Vin riff was perfect! Likewise your Jack Bauer script, Helen.

I think a lot would depend on the vehicle. I'll take Willie Nelson for my pickup truck and Patrick Stewart my Bentley. (When I get one.)

flem snopes said...

At first I thought of Alexander Scourby, "It's a dirrrrty world," and Christopher Glenn but the Vin Scully mention sent me directly to Ernie Harwell and Red Barber.

One problem would be when I got to my destination with Ernie or Red I wouldn't want to get out of the car.

Emily Blake said...

Ton Loc. By the time you got where you were going you'd be so randy it woldn't matter where you were.

Or Tricky. Dear god, if it was Tricky I'd never get out of the car.

benson said...

I agree about John Facenda. And I don't think I could afford Don Lafontaine, John Leader or any of the other "Five Men in a Limo" (If you haven't seen it, go to YouTube and enjoy)

The Chicago readers on this blog might not agree, but Hawk Harrelson might be fun...(Hop in the truck and Hawk says "grab some bench"...make a light and "Put it on the boardddddd, Yessssss!)

But ZazuPitts nailed it...Yogi Berra! "When you get to the fork in the road, take it!" (Words to live by, too)

Zach said...

Ken Nordine gets my vote.

tom said...

I'm still cracking up at your 'worst' choices. Gilbert Godfreid! Good Lord! I agree though-Vinnie. Or Adam West.

Ryan said...

I'm glad that you mention Jon Miller. He is simply the best baseball announcer ever. Not only would he tell you where you are going, but would tell funny stories about the early days of GPS development, break off to tell you to turn right, and pick up the story exactly where he left off.

Benton Harbor said...

Will Lyman and Harry Kalas get my vote.

But for someone to keep you awake and alert, how about the "Head On, apply directly to the forehead. Head On, apply directly to the forhead, Head On, apply directly.......

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, business is going to offer you quite a different list:

"If you already have an expensive navigation system in your car, you’re already familiar with the generic woman’s voice telling you to turn left at the next light. The idea behind Wanderlust’s new offering is to give drivers something a little different, explains CEO Will Andre. Mr. T not only guides, he also threatens: “Pay attention to what I’m saying,” he bawls. “Mr. T gonna get you there in one piece … you gonna be there safely, or else!”

You also get Burt Reynolds....

Anonymous said...

What about that ole smoothie, Tom Snyder? I always thought his soothing voice was like a nice nightcap before turning in when he was on the air. Wait... I just remembered his love of tangents. Scratch that choice, then.

Lilly

Anonymous said...

Oh, I know. Jim Daly, the multiple character voice actor from the Harry Potter audiotapes. He would be great giving me dueling directings as both Harry Potter and Lord Voldermort. Or, to change it up, he could versilate between Snape and Ron or Hermione, or Professor McGonagall and that inspid Hagrid (can't you just evision her rolling her eyes when he gets you lost on the way to work each day?). I think the possibilities are endless with Jim Daly at your GPS helm.

Lilly

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

Chris Noel. I imagine that name will bring a smile to the face of many a Nam vet. When she'd say "Hi, Love" I was glad to be in country.

Kirstie Alley? If I heard that pig's gravelly grunt while I was driving I'd floor the accelerator and aim for the nearest tree.

fridwulfa said...

I'd say, Alan Rickman, sexiest voice ever. Mmmmmh

As for a female voice... well, maybe Kathleen Turner, but, Kathleen Turner playing Jessica Rabbit. That would be a good one. LOL.

Mike McCann said...

Before reading all the way to the end, I was thinking Don LaFontaine -- I get such a kick out of that GEICO spot. Now everyone knows the secret: radio guys emote through our hands and nod approvingly at the end of a good take.}
Digressing, Don had the job until you brought up Robin Williams. It's hysterical to imagine him going into characters corresponding to various neighborhoods, weather and traffic conditions -- or turning into an old fashioned yiddish-accented New York cabbie when a toll booth nears. "The bastards! Sticking out their hands for more money? Vhen are they going to pay this bride off already?" You could load as many variations of Robin into a GPS as a video game uses of John Madden calling football.

Mike McCann said...

Correction to the above "bridge" not "bride." Although our cabbie probably has a daughter or grand-daughter he'd like to fix a nice male passenger up with.

Al in portland said...

How about the late Harry Caray? Only problem ... "Hey, why don't we pull over at the CubbyBear and have an ice-cold Budweiser?"

Randy West said...

This is the first time my name appeared with Dan Ingram's... except for the restraining order. Thanks Ken!

Anonymous said...

Amen to Dave Williams having a great radio voice. We seldom hear a guy with such resonant pipes who still sounds so natural.

Tom Quigley said...

Don Imus. It'd be fun everytime I program a trip into it, to hear it come back with "This trip just can't suck enough"...

The Curmudgeon said...

Ditto Vin Scully, Ken Nordine, and any of the NFL film voices.

But what about Kathleen Turner?

Anonymous said...

Whatever you do, don't choose Pee-wee Herman. You'd just end up at a boys' day care center!

Mr. X said...

The ideal solution would be for you to have a decent phone sex operator record very personalized GPS scripts. "Oh, Ken... it's wide open ahead of you. Go as fast as you can, and whatever you do, don't stop!"

Of course, you'd need a dry, sexless voice to switch to when you had passengers. Some superannuated nun would probably do the trick. Just don't get the scripts mixed up when you send them out, or complications, as they say, would ensue.

Anonymous said...

Your title made me think immediately of the computer Ziggy on Quantum Leap, as voiced by Deborah Pratt.

I'd choose Scott Bakula, but I'd hate to drive off the road...

One actor whose voice I've always liked is John Forsythe.

Anonymous said...

I custom ordered a Mini Cooper S when they first came out. Had it loaded with GPS (my first experience). The GPS was incredibly useful (I lived in New Jersey and I was constantly getting lost because, as a California native, the ocean was always in the wrong direction). The GPS had a prim, British female voice. I named her Laura (after Lara Croft). My favorite saying was, (after I went wrong) "If possible, please make a U-turn", with a fantastic, implied dumbass at the end of the sentence.

After about 3 years, Mini replaced something in the GPS that was faulty and covered under the warranty. As we were driving home from the dealer we realized they switched the voice on the GPS and never told us. Laura was gone and we were introduced to Larry. Larry, the middle aged, American, monotone, guy. Hrm! Apparently "others" were having issues with the British accent. I did everything I could to get Laura back but the dealer could not accommodate me.

I was disturbed by the change enough that my husband sold the car. I don't have GPS anymore. No boring white guy is going to tell me what to do or where to go in my car.

Anonymous said...

It would be my first "real" girlfriend.
God she had a sexy voice.
But, she was stolen away by a big
jock.
Who, I'm guessing by his high voice, was on steroids and had small nads......

Anonymous said...

Hey Ken,
there should be a choice of voices on demand.
For crazy party mood, I'd pick
your radio alter ego "Beaver Cleaver".
Plus, you could play my favorite songs.