Wilhelm scream  

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The Wilhelm scream is a stock sound effect first used in 1951 for the film Distant Drums. Actor-singer Sheb Wooley is considered to be the most likely voice actor for the scream, having appeared on a memo as a voice extra for the film.

The Wilhelm scream has been featured in many films and television programs since. Alongside a certain recording of the cry of the Red-tailed Hawk, the "Universal telephone ring"[1], the Goofy holler, the Tarzan yell and "Castle thunder", it is probably one of the best-known cinematic sound clichés. There is even a New Bedford, MA rock/punk band named A Wilhelm Scream.

The Wilhelm's revival came from Star Wars-series sound designer Ben Burtt, who tracked down the original recording (which he found as a studio reel labeled "Man being eaten by alligator"). He named it after Wilhelm, a minor character who emitted the scream in the 1953 movie The Charge at Feather River. Its use in Star Wars was the beginning of something of an in-joke amongst some sound designers of the film industry, especially at Skywalker Sound. They continue to try to incorporate it into movies wherever feasible; action movies are naturals, but film sound cognoscenti are particularly impressed when it is used naturally in films such as A Star Is Born (with Judy Garland) and A Goofy Movie.

Some people, once aware of it, recognize it immediately. A group of these people feel that it distracts from the film and interrupts the flow of the film. Other sound effects, such as the Tarzan yell, heard in Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, can also prove distracting from the narrative.

Due to its relative obscurity to the general public, the Massachusetts punk band A Wilhelm Scream has used the name as their name for the last two years.

Sheb Wooley is considered by many to be the most likely voice actor for the scream, having appeared on a memo as a voice extra for Distant Drums.




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Wilhelm scream" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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