I’m more than pleased that Marshall Seese, the very popular and now-retired coanchor of “Your Weather Today” on The Weather Channel, will be the narrator for the audio version of Eyewall.
Marshall is known for his smooth, on-air delivery and has been a voice-over talent for a number of TV productions. He was also the correspondent for The Weather Channel’s “Force Four,” a documentary on Hurricane Hugo (1989) that won a Cable Ace Award, cable TV’s highest accolade.
What I didn’t know about Marshall, even though I worked with him for a number of years, is that he has a hidden talent. Until I listened to his audition for Eyewall I didn’t realize he’s essentially an actor: He can speak in different voices for different characters! The portrayal that really knocked me out was his take on the old soothsayer, a wizened elderly lady who issues a veiled warning to the pilot of the Hurricane Hunter early in the novel.
Surprised, I asked Marshall where that came from.
That’s when he told me that he and his old friend Harry used to do that kind of stuff in high school. Marshall’s dad worked for WBBM radio in Chicago and would bring home scripts from a drama show airing on the station.
Marshall and Harry would read the scripts or create their own vignettes, usually cowboy stories or cops and robbers yarns, and extemporize the characters on the fly.
The basement of Marshall’s house served as their studio. Marshall had a small library of sound-effect records (78 rpm), and he learned other tricks of the trade along the way: like squeezing corn flake boxes to make the sound of someone trudging through snow; clattering coconut halves together for galloping horses; or shaking sheets of hanging metal to create thunder.
Marshall and his friend also helped to put WMTH-FM, their high school’s radio station, on the air in 1960.
Besides bringing home radio scripts, Marshall’s father was also the bearer of old weather maps commandeered from WBBM. Thus armed, Marshall and Harry would play TV weathermen, a profession then in its mere infancy.
Obviously, the weather gig stuck with Marshall. But not Harry.
Truth is, Harry went on to become even more famous than Marshall. You probably know Harry best as Indiana Jones. Yes, Harrison Ford, the movie star.
Maybe there’ll be a role for him in the silver screen version of Eyewall. Someday.
-December 27, 2011-
IMAGE: The always debonair Marshall Seese.