Wednesday, March 26, 2008

NPR's Sound Pictures

I love this regular feature on NPR every time I happen to catch it. They play sound clips of various famous people and actors, and listeners write in to describe--creatively--what these voices sound like. Yesterday, I heard the responses for Henry Kissinger, Christopher Walken, Andy Devine, and Jeanette MacDonald.

This is a selection of how people described Henry Kissinger’s voice:

The old guy in the row behind you on an airplane dictating a letter for the entire flight [to hear] — Marty Combs

The love child of Marlene Dietrich and Elmer Fudd — Curtiss Clark

Pudding skin — John Peck

His tongue is the wrong size for his head — Lucie Shores

How the ticking might sound in Salvador Dali's paintings of melting clocks — Scott Olson

An old Chevy with a bad muffler idling inside an abandoned cave — Beth Bailey

Herman Munster after having bitten his own tongue — Patrick Gerrity

And here are some descriptions of actor Christopher Walken:

The car salesman who just quit smoking three days ago and has poison ivy on his arms — Charles Rajani

The nervous, shifting eyes of your neighbor's crazy dog — Marty Conboy

The cat that saunters by ignoring you, then suddenly turns around and smiles — Olivia Elisabeth Collins

The guy you change your mind about getting on the elevator with — John Harrison

Stoli served over cracked ice — Ginny McCaskey

The troubling dream you had and can't quite remember — Rhonda Broom

The cool uncle who snuck you a beer at the family barbecue when you were 13 — John Medici

There are others, found here. And you can participate in the next session; simply go here and listen to the voices up for next time: political activist Jesse Jackson, comedian Jerry Seinfeld, Jefferson Airplane lead singer Grace Slick, and Paula Winslowe, better known as the voice of Bambi's mother.


DC-area author Leslie Pietrzyk explores the creative process and all things literary.