Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Wilhelm Scream

ABC News has a great story on the Wilhelm Scream:

The scream was recorded in 1951 for "Distant Drums," a western directed by Raoul Walsh and starring Gary Cooper as a captain who leads a group of soldiers on a mission to defend 19th century Florida settlers from Seminole Indians.

During one scene, a soldier is bitten and dragged underwater by an alligator and he screams the whole way down. The soldier may have died, but a new star was born.

After "Distant Drums," the scream stayed quiet for a couple of years until 1953, when a soldier named Pvt. Wilhelm (played by Ralph Brooks in "The Charge at Feather River") got shot in the leg by an arrow. Sound editors needed a good scream and decided to reuse the one from "Distant Drums."

AICN now has a couple of compilations of Wilhelm screams from movies ranging from Star Wars to Howard the Duck.

Update: Okay, here's one of the compilations, but it has one clip in it that has me completely mystified, at the 1:37 mark:

That's Harrison Ford and Chewbacca, and a real Storm Trooper, but I have no idea where that scene is from. Some lost TV special, maybe?

Help me, readers, you're my only hope . . .

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yeah - that's the Star Wars Christmas special. I think it's on youtube. Came out before Empire Strikes Back - on TV. You probably want to see it. But be warned; if you are a fan of Star Wars as something sacred it may shake your world to its core. What is amazing is that this show did not prevent any further Star Wars from being made. Lucas apparently has tried to destroy any existing copies, but excerpts still exist. If more people were aware of this abomination (with all the major characters each assigned to destroying the epic qualities of the franchise in bizarre ways) perhaps they would not have been so shocked or hard on Lucas for the latest episodes, not to mention most of his creative endeavors to ruin his reputation. It seems the first three Star Wars were just really lucky flukes in a career of soggy-minded tripe. But after watching the special it becomes harder to even appreciate those classics. Sorry.