Vocal Impressions: Walken, Kissinger, Devine, More We share listeners' descriptions of Andy Devine, Henry Kissinger, Jeanette MacDonald and Christopher Walken, and issue a new challenge: activist Jesse Jackson, comedian Jerry Seinfeld, singer Grace Slick and Paula Winslowe, the voice of Bambi's mother.
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Vocal Impressions: Walken, Kissinger, Devine, More

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Vocal Impressions: Walken, Kissinger, Devine, More

Vocal Impressions: Walken, Kissinger, Devine, More

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ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

We hear more in the human voice than just words. Tone, pitch, and timbre also play a role. That's what we explore in our monthly listener contest called Vocal Impressions. You send in word pictures brought to mind by a few distinctive voices and writer Brian McConnachie read the results.

BRIAN McCONNACHIE: Congratulations and thanks again for all of you who submitted a response. So we'll begin with Christopher Walken.

(Soundbite of movie "Pulp Fiction")

Mr. CHRISTOPHER WALKEN (Actor): (As Captain Koons) This watch was first purchased by a great-grandfather during the First World War made by the first company to ever make wrist watches.

McCONNACHIE: Charles Rajani describes Christopher Walken's voice as a car salesman who just quit smoking three days ago and has poison ivy on his arms. Marty Conboy offers: He's the nervous, shifting eyes of your neighbor's crazy dog. Michael Anichini says, he sounds like a soft, windy rain threatening to become a thunderstorm.

(Soundbite of movie "Pulp Fiction")

Mr. WALKEN: (As Captain Koons) Three days before the Japanese took the island, your granddad asked a gunner on an Air Force transport to deliver to his infant son his gold watch.

McCONNACHIE: Billy Combs says he sounds like the guy you ask, how you doing at the bus stop, and regret you ever did. And Michelle Moreau describes his voice as death's jovial kid brother.

Next was Henry Kissinger.

(Soundbite of 1972 press conference)

Mr. HENRY KISSINGER (President Nixon's Assistant for National Security Affairs): We believe that peace is at hand.

McCONNACHIE: Marilyn Phillips declares: He sounds like a ride downhill on a sled before it has snowed. Curtiss Clark says Henry Kissinger sounds like the love child of Marlene Dietrich and Elmer Fudd.

(Soundbite of 1972 press conference)

Mr. KISSINGER: We believe that an agreement is within sight.

McCONNACHIE: And John Peck describes him as sounding like pudding skin.

Mr. ANDY DEVINE (Actor): Yes, sirree.

McCONNACHIE: Then we had Andy Devine.

Mr. DEVINE: Why, when you wear shoes with that famous picture of Buster and Tige right where your heel goes, that means you're a real member of all-Andy's gang.

McCONNACHIE: Craig Farquhar states: He's the kid everyone made fun of in elementary school who grew up to be a really nice guy, but you still won't sit next to him on the bus. John Harrison offers Andy Devine sounds like a poorly cleaned chimney.

Mr. DEVINE: Kids, today midnight, he's going to play our little cigar box fiddle for us and squeaky.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. DEVINE: He isn't going to play anything.

McCONNACHIE: And Laura Cole says he sounds like what the fruity bits inside the Jell-O salad hear when the Jell-O is vigorously giggled.

And our last voice of the group…

(Soundbite of music)

Ms. JEANNETTE MacDONALD (Singer): (Singing) Why have you forgotten?

McCONNACHIE: Jeannette MacDonald.

(Soundbite of music)

Ms. MacDONALD: (Singing) …the memory of this day…

McCONNACHIE: Beth Bailey says her voice is like an icicle dripping directly into your ear. Brenda Colladay says Jeanette MacDonald's voice is what the lady in the mothball-scented hat in the pew next to you hears in her head when she sings. And lastly, Tom Hale says she sounds like a factory whistle announcing quitting time.

(Soundbite of music)

Ms. MacDONALD: (Singing) Our (unintelligible).

McCONNACHIE: And so, on to our next group of voices, which includes…

(Soundbite of movie "Bambi")

Ms. PAULA WINSLOWE (Voice Talent): (As the voice of Bambi's mother) Come on, wake up. We have company.

McCONNACHIE: Paula Winslowe, who is better known to traumatized children every where as the voice of Bambi's mother.

(Soundbite of movie "Bambi")

Ms. WINSLOWE: (As the voice of Bambi's mother) You must never rush out on the meadow. There might danger. Out there, we're unprotected. The meadow is wide and open, and there are no trees or bushes to hide us. So we have to be very careful.

(Soundbite of speech)

Reverend JESSE JACKSON (Founder, Rainbow PUSH Coalition): Not again should a black or a Hispanic or a woman…

McCONNACHIE: Founder of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, Jesse Jackson.

Rev. JACKSON: …or a Jew because of the race, religion or sex be limited.

McCONNACHIE: Comedian Jerry Seinfeld.

(Soundbite of show "Seinfeld")

Mr. JERRY SEINFELD (Comedian): I'll tell you what they should do. They should combine the two jobs, make it one job - cop/garbage man.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. SEINFELD: (Unintelligible) the cop who walking around with nothing to do, grab a broom.

(Soundbite of music)

Ms. GRACE SLICK (Vocalist, Jefferson Airplane): (Singing) The young boy…

McCONNACHIE: And Grace Slick, Jefferson Airplane's lead singer.

(Soundbite of music)

Ms. SLICK: (Singing) We don't have, we don't have.

McCONNACHIE: And we'll be back next month with your replies.

SIEGEL: Vocal impresario Brian McConnachie. To take part in our contest, go to npr.org and type the words Vocal Impressions in the search window.

SIEGEL: You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.

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