Left: Peter A. Thomas, courtesy of Forensic Files.com
(Toledo, OH) One of my kids was sulking because I made everyone stay home this evening (although, as of this posting, the dreaded winter storm has not hit with much intensity). She put on a television show on Court TV called "Forensic Files," and the narrator's voice jumped out at me from my childhood.
This particular narrator is named Peter A. Thomas, and he has been in the business of boadcasting since just after the Second World War. I recall his voice most vividly in some public service ads in the 1960s and 1970s, and he has one of those melodic, soothing voices that could be reciting phone book entries and still sound interesting.
Born in 1924 in Pensacola, Thomas served in the Army on Omaha Beach the day after D-Day. Returning home after the war, he attended college on the GI Bill and worked for 13 years for CBS.
He left the network to begin a career of freelance narration and work in documentary productions. His philosophy of narration, he once said, is based upon a belief that "words must be visualized, understood, and felt before spoken."
I have not been able to locate a .wav file to incorporate into this short post; perhaps I will record a few seconds of "Forensic Files" to help jar peoples' recognition of the mellifluous voice of this gifted narrator.
Thomas has also been recognized for his charitable work, and was awarded the 2004 Humanitarian Award by International College.
“I think the Humanitarian of the Year Award is the greatest honor that has ever been bestowed upon me,” Thomas said. “I’m particularly honored the award comes from the International College because I relate to the education it provides to its adult learners. I know the sacrifice and dedication it takes for those students to succeed.”
Thomas still works full time even at the age of 81. I hope that the world continues to be blessed by the work of a man whose voice is known by many millions, but whose name remains a footnote.