The Eras of the Movie Trailer: The 90’s Blockbuster


“In a World.”

-Don Lafontaine and Hal Douglas

The movie trailer world was changed. After decades of experimentation. Don Lafontaine came onto the scene. Just watch the video below.

Armed with a voice that some dubbed “The Voice of God”, Don Lafontaine was the king of the voice over world. At his prime, Lafontaine would record sometimes up to 60 promos a week. In 90s American Entertainment, a culture that prided itself on quick and snappy entertainment, “In a World…” was the perfect stage setter. Lafontaine continued to do national, and well known work until his death in 2008.

“We have to very rapidly establish the world we are transporting them to. That’s very easily done by saying, “In a world where…” You very rapidly set the scene.”

Americans no longer wanted fluffy, flowery language in there movie trailers. Adults and Teenagers wanted action, drama and heart pumping suspense. Kids wanted cheesiness to the absolute max.

It wasn’t just Lafontaine who dominated this era. Hal Douglas, WW II Veteran and Golden Age Radio Star, also championed the iconic, “In a World.” There is dispute over who, or what company actually first coined the phrase, but it was Lafontaine and Douglas who made the phrase an industry standard. Douglas maintained a strong presence in the voice over industry, recording from his personal studio in Virginia, until his death at the age of 89 in 2014.

You didn’t need a resonant baritone to win over audiences however. Mark Elliot, the voice of Walt Disney Home VHS Collection promos was known for his welcoming, cheerful, mid timbered voice. His “Coming Soon to Theaters!”, or “And Now, Our Feature Presentation” gave home movie watching a bigger, theatre-like feel. Elliot is still doing work for Disney, and other entertainment companies today.



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