Up here, north of the border, the name Ernie Anderson may not be a household name, but for about thirty years, from the mid-1960s to the mid ’90s, Anderson had two claims to fame on American TV. His first big break came in the ’60s, at Cleveland, Ohio’s then-CBS affiliate WJW-TV (ch. 8), now a FOX outlet, following the big New World/FOX deal in 1994. Anderson, who passed away nearly 25 years ago, is still remembered by many past and present Cleveland area residents for his role as “Ghoulardi”, WJW’s famous late-night horror host in the mid to late ’60s, but in the 1970s, Anderson became a household voice across America, as the main voice of the ABC television network and, at the local level, many of its stations. Here’s a 1983 sample of his promo work for the “alphabet network”:
Although you hear a polished and professional announcer in that clip, what you almost never heard – until the rise of YouTube and similar sites – were the raw tape, the bloopers, the outtakes… and the profanities. The clip below comes from one of Ernie’s voice-over (VO) sessions for ABC in 1990, during the first season of “America’s Funniest People”, a spin-off of the popular “America’s Funniest Home Videos”, with key cast members from the sitcom “Full House” hosting both shows. This NSFW audio-only clip, chock full of foul words and phrases, is a prime example of not only how vulgar Anderson was behind the scenes, but also how easily frustrated he became during his recording sessions. He was said to be quite the perfectionist when it came to his announcing work, and very nitpicking and particular about scripts – he supposedly could smell bad writing a mile away.
Ernie Anderson was also a father. While his son didn’t follow in Ernie’s footsteps as a VO artist, Paul Thomas Anderson did become a familiar name in the film industry, as a director and screenwriter, most notably for the late ’90s film “Boogie Nights”.