In a world where Hollywood is big business, and everything hinges on the box office gross a film can generate in its first week, only one man has the reverberating tones to convince an audience your film is worth seeing. That man is Don LaFontaine — and for the past forty years, there’s been nowhere to run, and nowhere to hide, from his enduring imprint on movie trailers.

You know the voice, especially from foreign movie trailers, since American audiences supposedly run screaming from non English speakers and can’t or won’t read subtitles, and Don LaFontaine is the one-man army that makes that world reassuringly digestible.

Don LaFontaine was a guest on NPR’s Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me this week. A satisfyingly funny moment in the show is where he performs cliches from public radio in movie genre voices. There is also a interview with him on the Trailer Trash website, where you learn valuable things like his voice box isn’t insured because the premiums are too high.

The Wikipedia entry on LaFontaine has an MP3 of his most beloved cliches in trailer form, in case you need a refresher.