The Voice

January 28, 2002

Harry Kalas, 65, has been an announcer for the Phillies for 30
years and has narrated videos for NFL Films since 1975.

When did you realize you could make a living with your voice?

My first year of college. My speech professor was blind, and he
said, "With your voice, you could get a job in broadcasting."

Is this a family trait?

My dad was a minister, and he had a big, booming voice. My
oldest son, Todd, is an announcer for the Devil Rays. I have a
12-year-old, and he's got pretty good pipes, even at his age.
Maybe some heredity is involved.

Ever think of becoming a crooner?

Not as a career, although I frequent piano bars around the
country. My specialty is High Hopes and patriotic songs.

What does your answering machine message sound like?

It's kind of plain vanilla. However, people have asked me to do
their answering machines for them. I've done a few. For example:
"Hi. John's not here now. He is on a loooong driiive! He's outta
here! He'll get back to you as soon as possible."

Do people confuse you with the late John Facenda, the original
voice of NFL Films?

Nobody fills John Facenda's shoes. But everyone associates John's
famous "the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field" with NFL Films. If
I'm doing talk shows, they go, "Do the frozen tundra."

How many takes does it take before you can get out [Steelers
running back] Chris Fuamatu-Ma'afala's name?

Actually, the Samoan names I don't have any problem with because
I started my professional broadcast career in Hawaii. There were
a lot of Hawaiian and Samoan and Japanese names, so I got used to
saying those. The name that I had a big problem with was former
Colts linebacker Ed Simonini. I kept putting the m's where the
n's were. I had to do his name over and over again.

If I asked nicely, would you narrate as I eat a chalupa?

Of course. "John Sellers, sitting down for his meal of a
chalupa, reaches down, picks it up. Oh no, chalupa on his
brand-new shirt. But this does not deter John. He goes right
back after the chalupa...." --John Sellers

COLOR PHOTO: DAVID E. KLUTHO (KALAS)

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