Days of Lore

Pvt. Wilhelm in his moment of glory.

Pvt. Wilhelm in his moment of glory.

Buff from the Bluff I’m not a film buff. Sometimes I wish I were a film buff … or maybe a history buff … actually any kind of buff just so I could refer to myself as a “buff.” Then I could start hitting the gym and turn myself into a buff buff. Or I could buy some ox-leather chaps and be a buff buff who wears buff. Then I would strip said chaps off and be a buff buff who wore buff, but is now in the buff. And if I were a soldier in the Royal East Kent Regiment, I’d be a buff Buff (so I am a history buff!) who’s quite buff and is also a film buff who wears buff and sometimes walks around in the buff. Wait, where was I going with this? Oh yeah … I’m not a film buff.

Silent scream While I’ve never been one to nerd out over the films of Frank Capra, Alfred Hitchcock or Francis Ford Coppola, there is another name whose work I know well, but whom I’ve never been able to put a face to. Well, he has so many faces. The name: Wilhelm.

I was first introduced to Wilhelm in Star Wars—right before Luke and Leia swing across the chasm on the Death Star, a Stormtrooper gets blasted, letting out a scream before falling to his death. I heard that same familiar scream again in the rest of the trilogy and later on in the Indiana Jones films.

The “Wilhelm scream,” as it’s been dubbed, has made its way into more than 100 films since its debut in the 1951 Gary Cooper classic Distant Drums, including A Star Is Born (Garland, not Streisand), the aforementioned Lucas films and more recently the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Credit should be given to one Ben Burtt, who named the sound effect after one Pvt. Wilhelm, the character who gets shot in the leg by an arrow in 1953’s The Charge at Feather River. Burtt was a film student at USC who noticed the familiar scream in several films, and years later revived the Wilhelm scream when he became the sound engineer for the Star Wars trilogy.

Stick that little tidbit in your back pocket … bring it out at the next cocktail party and wow your friends with your savoir faire for useless trivia. Or better yet, sample it in that new hip-hop project you’re working on in your bedroom studio:

A country teaser The CAMMIES showcases have been great fun so far—and a good excuse for my lazy ass to get out and see some music I might not normally check out. There are only three showcases left, with Hard Rock/Metal tonight (April 19) at Off Limits, Folk/Acoustic at LaSalles Sat., April 21, and finally the Country/Bluegrass showcase Wed., April 25, also at LaSalles. It’s getting down to the wire (polls close April 25), so don’t forget to cast your vote online at

And I must say I’m very excited about the CAMMIES awards show May 5. I’m ready to don my uniform—akin to wearing a superhero’s cape—and ride off into the sunset with a legend. Think sequins and satin … maybe a scarf.

Will Ferrell explains himself.

Will Ferrell stole my hair Ahh, the Internet—always there to keep you distracted from what you should be doing. My latest excuse to procrastinate is Funny or Die, a site where established comics and wannabes can try out new material in the form of short videos. Members can then rate them with “funny” or “die.” One of the latest additions is a short featuring Will Ferrell as a deadbeat who gets a visit from his drunk landlord. Need I say more? Watch it at: /landing.php.