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private wilhelmSo I finally got around to watching the DVD of LOTR: Return of the King last night, and Legolas plugs an arrow in some dude who falls shrieking off the back of the oliphant, and I thought, “damme if that wasn’t the Wilhelm Scream!” And I looked it up, and and damme if it wasn’t.

What’s the Wilhelm Scream, you ask? If you wanted to be helpful and set up this post you would, anyhow. Go on. Ask.

The scream (or series of screams) that came to be known as the Wilhelm Scream was originally recorded for the 1951 film “Distant Drums.” It is intended to represent a man being eaten by alligators. Most probable voice talent that screamed this screamy scream: Sheb Wooley, bit actor and musician. You know him best for “Purple People Eater.”

It subsequently appeared in a Number of Warner Brothers films — a thing that did not escape the attention of film student Ben Burtt. He picked it up and named it after the second character to scream it: Private Wilhelm, with an arrow, in “The Charge at Feather River.” Then Bratt got hired to do the sound for Star Wars, and The Scream went nookylar.

Here is Wikipedia‘s list of Wilhelm’s screen credits (you can hear the file there, as well):

(1951) The Charge at Feather River (1953) Them! (1954) A Star is Born (1954) Land of the Pharaohs (1955) The Sea Chase (1955) Helen of Troy (1956) Sergeant Rutledge (1960) PT-109 (1963) Harper (1966) The Green Berets (1968) The Wild Bunch (1969) Chisum (1970) Impasse (1970) The Scarlet Blade (1974) Hollywood Boulevard (1976) Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977) More American Graffiti (1979) The Big Brawl (1980) Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980) Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) History of the world part 1 (1981) Swamp thing (1982) Poltergeist (1982) Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) Explorers (1985) Howard the Duck (1986) Spaceballs (1987) Willow (1988) Always (1989) Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) Three Fugitives (1989) Gremlins 2 (1990) Beauty and the Beast (1991) Mom and Dad Save the World (1992) Aladdin (1992) Batman Returns (1992) Reservoir Dogs (1992) Matinee (1992) Evening Class (1993) A Goofy Movie (1995) Die Hard: With a Vengeance (1995) Runaway Brain (1995) Toy Story (1995) Dante’s Peak (1996) Hercules (1997) The Fifth Element (1997) The Second Civil War (1997) Lethal Weapon 4 (1998) Small Soldiers (1998) Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999) Thirteen Days (2000) The Kid (2000) Just Visiting (2001) Osmosis Jones (2001) Planet of the Apes (2001) The Majestic (2001) Tomcats (2001) Wet Hot American Summer (2001) Life or Something Like It (2002) The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002) The Salton Sea (2002) Spider-man (2002) Scorched (2002 Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002) Cradle 2 the Grave (2003 The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (2003) A Man Apart (2003) Agent Cody Banks (2003) Peter Pan (2003) Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003) Looney Tunes: Back in Action (2003) Once Upon A Time In Mexico (2003) Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003) Tears of the Sun (2003) Under the Tuscan Sun (2003) Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004) I Am David (2004) Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle (2004) Hellboy (2004) Paparazzi (2004) Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004) Taxi (2004) Team America: World Police (2004) Troy (2004) Æon Flux (2005) Fantastic Four (2005) Get Rich or Die Tryin’ (2005) King Kong (2005) Kingdom of Heaven (2005) Madagascar (2005) Monster-In-Law (2005) Sin City (2005) Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005) The Pacifier (2005) The Ring Two (2005) Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005) 16 Blocks (2006) Accepted (2006) Cars (2006) Flushed Away (2006) Lifted (2006) Monster House (2006) Over the Hedge (2006) She’s the Man (2006) X-Men: The Last Stand (2006) 30 Days of Night (2007) D-War (2007) Juno (2007) Norbit (2007) The Invisible (2007) Shrek the Third (2007) Transformers (2007) The Mist (2007) The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep (2007) Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008) Speed Racer (2008) The Golden Compass (2008)

So now you know something you didn’t know before, unless you already knew this, in which case you can just go straight to hell, smartass. I really don’t have to take this from you.

May 13, 2008 — 12:30 pm
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