Tuesday, September 02, 2008

IN A WORLD WITHOUT THE VOICE AND THE SNOWMAN: R.I.P. Don LaFontaine 1940-2008 Jerry Reed 1937-2008

Monday saw the passing of Don LaFontaine, the voiceover master whose imposing baritone virtually defined the modern movie trailer, from lung failure at the age of 68. Follow this link to Quint’s appreciation at Ain’t-It-Cool-News, which is loaded with trailers that will remind you just how much a part of the soundtrack of your life LaFontaine really was.

Jerry Reed passed away on Monday as well, at the age of 71, from complications related to emphysema. Reed released 40 albums and won three Grammys over his long career and was a regular on The Glen Campball Goodtime Hour in the early ‘70s and well as a prolific and well-regarded songwriter. In 1971 Reed released the tune for which I will always remember him, Amos Moses:

Now Amos Moses was a Cajun
He lived by himself in the swamp
He hunted alligator for a living
He'd just knock them in the head with a stump
The Louisiana law gonna get you Amos
It ain't legal hunting alligator down in the swamp boy

Now everyone blamed his old man
For making him mean as a snake
When Amos Moses was a boy
His daddy would use him for alligator bait
Tie a rope around his neck and throw him in the swamp
Alligator man in the Louisiana bayou
About forty-five minutes south of Thibedoux, Louisiana
Lived a man called Dr. Mills South and his pretty wife Hannah
They raised up a son who could eat his weight in groceries
Named him after a man of the cloth
Called him Amos Moses

And of course Reed made his mark in the movies as well, most indelibly playing the Snowman to Burt Reynolds’ Bandit in Hal Needham’s 1977 CB-sparked car chase comedy Smokey and the Bandit. The movie also naturally allowed him to exercise his pickin’ claw on the opening tune, “Eastbound and Down,” a shiny-side-up shit-kicker that, almost as much as C.W. McCall’s “Convoy,” has come to exemplify the citizen’s band era of pop culture. Here’s a clip of Reed and his band playing the tune at the Grand Ol’ Opry-- it's a spirited performance that is as perfect a good-bye salute as I can think of for a man whose good-old-boy charm, undeniable talent as a guitar player and easygoing screen presence helped him make his mark on a generation of pickers and grinners on stage and screen.


Joe Baker said...

By the way, Dennis, I tagged you at my blog for a new 'meme' that's going around, Check it out. I'd be interested to hear your picks!

Anonymous said...

Isn't it strange that in all the topics that Dennis has posted, the one that announces the death of a person that can be associated with nearly every movie trailer that has drawn most of us into a movie theater over the last 30+ years, no one has anything to say about it.

The silence is deafening.

LaFontaine deserves more respect than that!