Ernie Anderson

I recently listened to an interview with director Paul Thomas Anderson about his latest effort, "Inherent Vice," which I did not like at all -- I'm talking about the movie, not the interview. I have enjoyed some of Anderson's previous work, particularly "Boogie Nights" and his debut, "Hard Eight" (which is on my Movies You Might Not Know list) because of the great lead performance by Phillip Baker Hall, and solid supporting work by John C. Reilly, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Samuel L. Jackson, all of whom had yet to become household names.

In the interview, I learned something about Anderson I did not know -- that his father was famed TV voiceover guy Ernie Anderson. Ernie was the voice of ABC from the mid-1970s through the mid-1990s, recording all of the promos for that network's primetime lineup in a style that became so popular it launched a raft of imitators. Here's the original at work...

Anderson was best known for the way he pronounced "The Love Boat," with his voice dropping a full octave between the first and second words. I always admired the way he could segue from talking about a wacky sitcom -- with almost a giggle in his voice -- and then shift gears to plug a serious news story on "20/20," all in the same thirty-second promo.

David Letterman was also an Ernie Anderson fan, so he was invited to guest on Letterman's NBC show in 1983. After discussing his early days as half of a comedy duo with Tim Conway, followed by his stint as Ghoulardi (1960s host of a horror movie show on local TV in Cleveland), Dave got Ernie to clear his throat and show off the voice that launched a thousand promos...

[thanks to Jeff Olsen for the video link]