You may not know them by name, but you'll almost certainly know them...
November 23, 2016 6:06 PM   Subscribe

What are some examples of people like Ken Nordine, who "you may not name or face, but you'll almost certainly recognize his voice", as one critic put it? It doesn't have to be voice necessarily, but people who most will "recognize" in some way without being able to name. (Places/things, like certain landscapes or the Wilhelm Screm, most people similarly recognize as "familiar" but can't name are welcome as well.) Bonus: is there a name for this phenomenon?
posted by Seeking Direction to Grab Bag (15 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Paul Frees?
posted by MonkeyToes at 6:13 PM on November 23, 2016 [2 favorites]

Character Actors.

There's an entire documentary about this called That Guy Who Was In That Thing & That Gal Who Was In That Thing. And for voice actors there's I Know That Voice.

Here's an IMDB list of 300 of them.
posted by Crystalinne at 6:36 PM on November 23, 2016 [7 favorites]

Vasquez Rocks- they're in every movie and "rugged" car commerical you ever saw.
posted by atomicstone at 6:41 PM on November 23, 2016 [4 favorites]

"In a world..."
posted by Rash at 6:47 PM on November 23, 2016 [2 favorites]

Hey It's That Guy.
posted by clavicle at 6:48 PM on November 23, 2016 [6 favorites]

I expected Rash's link to go to this, without which this thread would be incomplete: 5 Guys in a Limo.
posted by needs more cowbell at 6:59 PM on November 23, 2016 [5 favorites]

If you know Bollywood, you know Lata Mangeshkar.
posted by dr. boludo at 7:18 PM on November 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

My favorite one is Toby Huss.

He's a talented voice actor and musical dupe and his biggest role was probably Kahn (though he did other characters) on King of the Hill. He's a screen actor, too, but he's got bland white guy face like whoa and unless you know him and are actively looking for him you probably couldn't pick him out of a crowd.

...Unless you're in your 30s and watched Pete and Pete obsessively, then you know him as Artie, The Strongest Man in the World, and every time you see him you'll think "hey, I know that guy, where do I know that guy from?" (Sidenote: he's got a lot of great, hammy scenes in Down Periscope, if you want a Toby Huss intro.)

He's in a TON of stuff, though. I love him, dude seems to always be down for anything. I don't think I've ever seen him on a That Guy list, maybe because so much of his stuff is voice work, I dunno.
posted by phunniemee at 8:16 PM on November 23, 2016 [2 favorites]

Michael Ironside.
posted by Rob Rockets at 8:28 PM on November 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

In the UK, I'd go for Roger Allam as that guy who was in that thing.
posted by crocomancer at 2:50 AM on November 24, 2016 [1 favorite]

Will Lyman, the voice of Frontline and Dos Equis
posted by jindc at 6:11 AM on November 24, 2016 [1 favorite]

Getting at the "also welcome" part of your question, the red-tailed hawk's screech is widely used in films as sort of the soundtrack of the desert or isolated wilderness areas—even when it's not the right habitat or geographic range.
posted by dondiego87 at 6:33 AM on November 24, 2016 [5 favorites]

Similarly, lots of songs are recognizable but people don't tend to generally know the names of them, or at least not the real names. They're more closely associated with their usage in a movie than as original pieces. I love seeking these out and trying to remember where I've heard them!

The two most obvious ones are probably Ride of the Valkyries and In the Hall of the Mountain King. Here are few others that come to mind:

Entry of the Gladiators - Silly circus music
Orpheus in the Underworld - AKA "The Cancan Song"
The Blue Danube Waltz - AKA every cartoon waltz
Lux Aeterna - most associated with Requiem for a Dream or LoTR
Also sprach Zarathustra, Op. 30 - The "2001: A Space Odyssey" song
O Fortuna - dramatic operatic song, can't think of a particular use offhand though
Maple Leaf Rag - the protypical "old timey rag" song
The Entertainer - similar to the above
posted by one of these days at 8:51 AM on November 24, 2016 [4 favorites]

Not a person, but the Amen Break
posted by Prunesquallor at 4:45 AM on November 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

A piano or even better a tack piano playing Camptown Races is the cliche soundtrack for an Old West saloon.
posted by Rash at 6:32 PM on November 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

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