Till the Stars Turn Cold
One drizzly Sunday when I was eight or nine, a Los Angeles TV channel aired Singin’ In the Rain three times in a row – a station manager pining for relevancy, no doubt. Mom wasn’t impressed. When “Good Morning” rang for the third go-round, she shooed me out to the wet backyard. I didn’t need a fourth viewing anyway, I’d already memorized what I considered the best bits: Not the tap dances, sorry to say, but the Jean Hagen/Debbie Reynolds voice swap routines. “Till the stars turn cold”? Yes siree, that lip-synced re-record jazz looked like the most fun ever.
Last Saturday, I finally got my chance. 8 A.M., I drove up to Glendale’s Monkeyland Audio for a session of automated dialogue replacement. The sky drizzled – just enough to spot my car, but hey. And the voice I replaced on my pal’s short film was mine, so no thrill of being the sultry alto besting some whiny soprano. Still, there was the movie screen, here was the music stand complete with script, mic clipped to my chest, headphones on, engineer in the booth behind and –
Beep-beep-beep, the engineer’s cue in my ear sounded I swear like the start of a downhill ski race and that’s all I could think, and by the time I got that vision out of my head, my lips onscreen had already moved. Took me five tries to get the first line right.
I got better after that. Really, I did. But dang, that Debbie Reynolds was good.