RIP Tom Keith (Prairie Home Companion’s Sound Effects Guy)

Tom Keith at work

Just heard about the death of Tom Keith, the guy who did most of the really amazing sound effects on NPR.

He was a wonderful foley artist and sound fx guy, and could imitate just about anything, or come stageworthy close.

Here’s his LA Times Obit.

http://articles.latimes.com/2011/nov/04/local/la-me-tom-keith-20111103

and his NY Times Obit.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/02/arts/tom-keith-creator-of-radio-soundscapes-dies-at-64.html

And a very moving memorial page on Prairie Home’s site:

http://prairiehome.publicradio.org/features/special/tom-keith/

Here’s something from that page (by Garrison Keillor)

Tom was one of radio’s great clowns. He was serious about silliness and worked hard to get a moo exactly right and the cluck too and the woof. His whinny was amazing — noble, vulnerable, articulate. He did bagpipes, helicopters, mortars, common drunks, caribou (and elands and elk and wapiti), garbage trucks backing up, handsaws and hammers, and a beautiful vocalization of a man falling from a great height into piranha-infested waters.

 

There are also great samples of his work on that page.

Go slowly into the big unknown Tom– like an elegant apple falling off a beautiful tree in slow motion, and the apple hits the ground but doesn’t stop, keeps going down down down down into the wormhole of the world, still in slow motion, and as the sounds of this earth that we live on slowly slip away.

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