The Legend of the Wilhelm Scream …

22 Mar

In movie Lore, the Wilhelm Scream is one of the most famous Sound Effects of all time / Iconic  – very often inserted in action films and even comedies. Movie buffs watch for it and have recorded many instances of it’s use. See below:

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

Wilhelm scream

“The Wilhelm scream is a legendary film and television stock sound effect that has been used in more than 200 movies, beginning in 1951 for the film Distant Drums. The scream is often used when someone is shot, falls from a great height, or is thrown from an explosion.

The Wilhelm scream’s revival came from motion picture sound designer Ben Burtt, who discovered the original recording (which he found as a studio reel labeled “Man being eaten by alligator”) and incorporated it into a scene in Star WarsBurtt is credited with naming the scream after Private Wilhelm (see The Charge at Feather River) – a Western (MFW: YAY!).

Research by Burtt suggests that Sheb Wooley, best known for his novelty song “The Purple People Eater in 1958 and as scout Pete Nolan on the television series Rawhide, is likely to have been the voice actor who originally performed the scream.  the sound is named after Private Wilhelm, a character in The Charge at Feather River, a 1953 Western in which the character is shot with an arrow. This was its first use from the Warner Bros. stock sound library, although The Charge at Feather River is believed to have been the third movie to use the effect.

The effect gained new popularity (its use often becoming an in-joke) after it was used in Star Wars, the Lord of the Rings trilogy, the Indiana Jones series, Disney cartoons and many other blockbuster films as well as many television programs and video games.

The Scream has become such a popular legend that it is now often seen (heard) on many TV Shows, Cartoons and has made it’s way in popular Video and Computer Games !!!

Who knew !!???

Ben Burtt with Oscar, C3PO and R2d2 …

High Noon Badguys - Sheb Wooley, Ian McDonald, Lee Van Cleef, Robert J. Wilkie

Sheb Wooley, Ian McDonald, Lee Van Cleef, Robert J. Wilkie in High Noon (1952)

Colt Peacemaker

So the next time you hear a Wilhelm you might be inspired to utter one of these:

2 Responses to “The Legend of the Wilhelm Scream …”

  1. Rick March 22, 2014 at 12:58 pm #

    Old Sheb has been an important part of movie history.

  2. jcalberta March 22, 2014 at 6:39 pm #

    It seems so! Not bad for a guy with one big horn and one big eye.

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