Sound & Fury, But Mostly Sound:
The Michael Winslow Story
S I REFLECT on my years in show business, my one regret is that people never knew the real me. To most of my fans, I was simply “the guy in Police Academy who made all the sound effects with his mouth.” But there’s much more to my career than that. For instance, I was also the guy in Spaceballs who made all the sound effects with his mouth.
And although funny sounds played a big part of my success, my art has many influences. And by writing this memoir, I hope to show you the man behind the 10,000 sound effects.
My childhood was a happy one. Like any other kid, I played a lot of video games. It was like this: bweap, bweap, picapicapica, dilleADA, dilleADA, bweap, bweap, zvrhh, zvrhhh, zvrhhh, (robot voice) ****GAME OVER****. It was an era when children of every race, color, and creed enjoyed watching those Saturday afternoon kung fu movies. The guy would be like this: (mouth moving really big and crazy, not synchronizing with the words at all) “Want to fight? Ha ha ha! You fight me!” (It helps if you imagine my mouth moving really hysterically big and crazy.) Those were some of the best days of my life.
But it wasn’t all fun and games. I grew up in the shadow of the Vietnam War. I spent my days imagining the brave soldiers, with their helicopters and machine guns. It was like this: tchokka, tchokka, tchokka, tchokka, TUKKA, TUKKA, TUKKA, TUKKA, (platoon leader voice): “Get down, get down!” (It’s harder to tell when you read it, but the first part was the helicopters (the tchokkas).) Those were troubling times, to be sure.
My father had a profound influence on the man I am today. And when I was a boy, he wore some very squeaky shoes. They were like this: chreep, chreep, chreep. And if he played tennis in them, it was crazy, like this: POCK! chreep, chreep, chreep, chreep, POCK! chreep, chreep, chreep. He was an incredibly haunted man, but he raised us the best he knew how.
Harmonicas are like this: hwah-hweer, hah-heer, wa-waaah, hwah-hweer, hah-heer, wa-waaah. Also, beatboxing. It’s like this: tch, tch, tch, tch, ppf-tch, pff, pff-tch, pff, pff, pff-tch, ahuhuhuhuhuh, pff, pff-tch. Dogs are like this: rrrrrrrrr, arrr, RAARF! RAARF! rrrrrrr.
Sure, my life has had its ups and downs. But looking back, I wouldn’t change a second of it.