It’s unfortunate that two successive blog posts are remembrances of the dead. First Robin Williams and now legendary NBC announcer Don Pardo.
But the emotions for me surrounding the news regarding these two talented people could not be more different.
Of course when I woke up to the news this morning about Don’s death, I was startled but not shocked. For some reason (maybe I’m a long distance, harmless stalker who is just not that good at this stalking gig) I knew of Don’s age and that he had long been pre-recording his SNL intros. He was 96 years old when he died.
It’s a loss to be sure but that’s a great life run.
And he was STILL WORKING! I remember thinking at the beginning of each recent SNL season “how long can Don keeping doing this?” I got my answer: to the very end.
And kudos to Lorne Michaels for ensuring that as long as Don wanted the job, he had the job.
Yes, I’ve already been asked who I think they’d get to replace Don as the SNL announcer. I don’t know but I’m pretty sure the new person will be shaking in their boots for about a season and a half before feeling comfortable taking over for a voice-over legend.
“Legend”, you say? Oh yes, let me expound.
So let’s go back to early this morning. I learned the news of Don Pardo’s death by listening to an AM news radio station in Buffalo, NY. Not via their network feed, the local announcers read the news of Pardo’s passing.
Digest that for a second.
The local news radio station read a story about the death of an off-camera network announcer.
To be clear, I would not consider today to be a slow news day.
That told me one or two amazing things before I even got out of bed – this was going to be Don Pardo’s national day of respect and possibly a day of respect for the announcing / voice-over industry itself.
I was filled with joy, a much different emotion than I felt last week at this time.
As the day has progressed, I have seen my assumption become fact. I am so happy for Don right now and for everyone in our business. Everybody knows who Don Pardo is – and they should!!!!
He’s been a multi-generational announcer and been an active broadcaster throughout some of the most amazing transitions in broadcasting. Forget SNL for a second, Pardo was the booth announcer at WNBC in New York who broke the news about Kennedy having been shot in Dallas. Wow.
If you’ve never seen the series featuring an interview with Don at emmytvlegends.org (here’s that stalker thing again) there are some great stories from Don about his work in broadcasting. I’m hoping the YouTube views on that puppy skyrocket in the weeks and months ahead.
So today, I will pray for Don’s family and that they experience God’s healing power as they mourn Don’s loss. But I will also smile and enjoy for him (and us) the national tributes Don Pardo is justifiably receiving for his life’s work.
There are two great voice-over Dons in heaven now and I suppose both will have to either audition for the “voice of God” role or just split the week between them.
The day after posting this I received notice of the tribute done last night to Don Pardo by NBC Nightly News Anchor and Managing Editor Brian Williams, who went so far to switch studios during the newscast and deliver the final segment of his broadcast from Studio 8H. Just one word to the Anchor and his co-workers: Classy. See for yourself.