Ernie Anderson (November 12, 1923 – February 6, 1997) was an American television and radio announcer/voiceover artist.

Early life and career

Born in Lynn, Massachusetts, Anderson planned to go to law school but was instead drafted into World War II. After the war, Anderson became a disc jockey at WSKI AM in Montpelier, VT. [1] Anderson worked as a disc jockey in Albany, NY and Providence, RI before moving to Cleveland, [2] where he collaborated with Tim Conway on a local TV show called Ernie's Place.

Anderson later hosted Shock Theater at WJW-TV in Cleveland, from 1963 through 1966. Shock Theater featured grade "B" science fiction and horror movies. Shock Theater was aired in a Friday late-night time slot. He featured comic 'bits' and would even key himself into a film and appear to run from the monster. He loved firecrackers which at the time were against the law in Ohio. He started by blowing up apples and leftovers and graduated to blowing up model cars, statues and items sent in by viewers.

A fixture on the local ABC channel 5 (WEWS) was newscaster Dorothy Fuldheim, the first woman to anchor a TV news show in America. She had an openly-expressed dislike for Anderson. She felt the youth of Ohio were under attack with his pot jokes and childish antics which she found distasteful. Their mutual on-air jibes created what viewers considered a battle of the beatnik and the empress of Ohio news. The publicity from this put the Ghoulardi character at the peak of his popularity. In 1965 with help from friend Tim Conway Anderson went to Hollywood to shoot a pilot. He featured the audition and films of his trip on his show, highly unusual for local TV in 1966. During the war in Vietnam Ghoulardi's ratings began to shrink and Shock Theater ended in 1966. Anderson also hosted the Saturday afternoon Masterpiece Theater and the weekday children's program Laurel, Ghoulardi and Hardy.

In the summer of 1965, Anderson left Cleveland and moved to Los Angeles, California in order to become an actor. He appeared on the first two episodes of Rango, a short-lived comedy starring one-time Ghoulardi co-star Tim Conway. Anderson and Conway collaborated on a comedy act. They appeared together on ABC's Hollywood Palace and released two comedy albums together.[3]

Career at the American Broadcasting Company

After finding limited success in front of the camera, Anderson moved behind the microphone when Fred Silverman made Anderson the voice of the American Broadcasting Company. Anderson's voice is likely best remembered for his newscast introductions for various ABC stations across the country: "Eyewitness News...starts...NOW!" (WEWS would be one of these affiliates, utilizing Anderson's voice throughout the 1980s.) Anderson's signature was putting emphasis on a particular word. One example was his enunciation of "Love" in "The Love Boat." Another would be "The Man... The Machine... Street Hawk!" from the 1985 motorcycle action series. His voice was also heard in the ABC bumpers as he was saying "This is... ABC!" Anderson was also the announcer of America's Funniest Home Videos from 1989 to 1995 and did the voice over for the previews of new episodes during the first three seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Anderson told the San Francisco Chronicle that his goal as an announcer was to "try to create a mood. I have to concentrate on each word, on each syllable. I have to bring something special to every sentence I say. If I don't do that, they might as well just get some announcer out of the booth to read it. I want people to hear me talk about a show and then to say, 'Hey, this is going to be great. I want to watch this.'" [4]

Death

Anderson died of cancer in Los Angeles on February 6, 1997. [5] His son, director Paul Thomas Anderson, dedicated his 1997 film Boogie Nights to his memory. In addition, The Drew Carey Show episode "See Drew Run" was dedicated to his memory. His death was also mentioned on an episode of America's Funniest Home Videos that same year.

Also, in the movie Magnolia, much of the material regarding Jason Robards' character was based on Paul Thomas Anderson's experiences while watching his father die of cancer.

More than a decade after his death, radio stations can still license Anderson's voice for promotions. [6] By paying a licensing fee, stations including New York City's WHTZ use Anderson's voice for positioning statements such as, "If it's too loud, you're too old" and "Lock it in and rip the knob off!" [7]

Personal life

Despite being a daily presence on American television, Anderson lived in relative anonymity in Southern California. "But that's all right," he said. "If I'm out in public and I feel like being recognized, I just raise my voice and say... 'The Love Boat.'" [8]

Ernie did the voice over for the very first PowerPuff Girls episode entitled 'Meat Fuzzy Lumpkins' for the WanerBros/Hanna Barbera Cartoon Network.

He had nine children. He divorced his first wife, Marguerite Hemmer Anderson, when he left Cleveland and ended his "Ghoulardi" show. They had five children, three of whom relocated to live with him in Studio City, California, with his new wife. Two sons, the youngest of the five, stayed behind in Rhode Island with their mother. He married Edwina Gough soon after she arrived in California, a few weeks after Ernie. They had four children, one of whom was director Paul Thomas Anderson.

Ghoulardi Music

References

  1. Starr Seibel, Deborah (1991-10-24). "Deep Words From The Voice Of America - TV's Most Sought-After Announcer Puts His Mouth Where The Money - Is". Chicago Tribune. 
  2. Cobb, Nathan (1985-04-09). "He Uses His Voice To Entice You Ernie Anderson Is Prime-Time Pitchman For ABC -TV's Programs". Boston Globe. 
  3. Feran, Tom (1997-02-07). "TV Icon 'Ghoulardi' Dies at 73". Cleveland Plain Dealer. 
  4. Greene, Bob (1985-06-04). "Televisions' Most Recognizable Voice". San Francisco Chronicle. 
  5. Feran, Tom (1997-02-07). "TV Icon 'Ghoulardi' Dies at 73". Cleveland Plain Dealer. 
  6. Feran, Tom (2000-03-01). "High Tech Lets 'Ghoulardi' Speak From The Grave". Cleveland Plain Dealer. 
  7. Gallagher, David F. (2004-02-02). "Compressed Data - Legendary Voice for Hire. No Live Gigs". New York Times. 
  8. "Greene, Bob (1985-02-24). "The Man Behind the Voice of ABC". Chicago Tribune. 

Further reading

  • Feran, Tom; Heldenfels, Rich (1999) Ghoulardi: Inside Cleveland TV's Wildest Ride. Cleveland, OH: Gray & Company, Publishers. ISBN 978-1-886228-18-4
  • Schodowski, Chuck (2008). Big Chuck: My Favorite Stories from 47 Years on Cleveland TV. Cleveland, OH: Gray & Company, Publishers. ISBN 978-1-59851-052-2

External links

  1. REDIRECT Template:IMDb name
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