Saturday, June 5, 2010

A voice in the darkness...

Well, my voice, to be precise.

Singing, yes, I've always loved to sing -- it's how I've made my living for decades.

But I have always loved 'doing voices', too. Making my puppets and Hallowe'en figures required voices to go with them, and growing up a TV and radio lovin' kid, inspiring character voices were always around, whether from cartoons, the news, the DJ, even my teachers were inspiring voice characters (and you know who you all are)!

If you've seen video of my Great Pumpkin or Captain Jack Lantern you have heard a few of my default spooky Hallowe'en voices. They all still sound pretty much like me -- I don't know that I'm any good at it, I just enjoy doing it -- but what the heck, I work cheap and am always available when needed.

This Spring, I was very jazzed to become a part of a very cool area attraction specifically because of my ability to do voices on the quick-n-dirty!

The Castle of Chaos attraction is a unique and rather bizarre mixture of dark ride, horror film and shoot-em-up video game, where players sit in high-backed gothic chairs with glasses and guns at the ready, and the entire seating deck spins around to show you three different superb 3D screens at various stages of game play. Mists and smells waft through the dark arena, voices whisper right behind you, and you have to blast away at the evil entities on the screen to find out what happened to the characters while animatronic ghosts and ghouls scream and cackle, and all in stunning, immersive stereo surround sound.

Sound like it might be a cool haunted attraction? Oh, trust me.

So, how did I get involved with this neat thing?

Well, the Castle of Chaos (and the dizzying Hannah's Maze of Mirrors) are a new part of the Hollywood Wax Museum on 76 Blvd.

The people that own and run this entire property are a remarkably kind, smart and savvy family of entertainment & business entrepreneurs which began with the original Hollywood Wax Museum in Hollywood CA created in 1965 by the late, legendary Spoony Singh.

Spoony's family partnership became Kuvera Attractions (among other successful enterprises), and they have brought a great energy and ambition to imaginative entertainment in Branson. We're very lucky they showed up.

So, last year they opened the cool Hannah's Maze of Mirrors and the Castle of Chaos...
... and families were lining up down the block. The Maze especially attracted thousands of people (and continues to do so).

The Castle of Chaos had a few minor birth pains because the technology is so new and unique. One particular issue was needing some new dialogue and voices to make the story of the ride a bit more fluid and natural... and that's where I came into the picture.

My cousin Tom, who runs Backstage Connections here in town, had been working with Raubi and the Sundher family for some time, helping them create and maintain the great things they'd brought to Branson. Tommy is also an audiophile and a long-time recording engineer and when they needed a bit of help for new ideas and talent, Tommy called me and we got together in short order to record new voices and sounds for the revamp of the attraction.

The main voice I did is a bit of a mix of my Great Pumpkin and my pirate Captain (I told you, I don't know that I'm any good at it, I just enjoy doing it!), but I also added a kind of cartoony British gentleman, the typical, throat-clearing, heavy-lipped ol' dunderhead you'd recognize from, say, the Walrus in the original Disney Alice in Wonderland.

So, I can proudly claim that my voice is a major part of a very unique and fun spooky attraction in my own hometown, and a part of something that is touched, however indirectly, by the inimitable Spoony Singh... and an attraction that is a member of the IAHA, the Haunted House Association, and the Darkride & Funhouse Enthusiasts.

If you're ever out this way, let me know. And please go visit all of the above attractions. They're the best in town.

Just trying to make a little Hallowe'en every day of the year.



  1. Boy, I wish I would have realized that attraction was there (well I knew about the Hollywood Wax one) I would have gone to see it. Well there is always the next trip. I should skip Thanksgiving and come back the end of October for Halloween!!!


  2. Those look like a lot of fun. Wish I lived closer!!! Thanks for sharing.