The Book of Jack

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2012-06-11
  • Publisher: Author Solutions
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I had only acted on camera in a couple of TV shows and commercials, so all of this-the process of making movies-was totally new and absolutely fascinating. JACK ANGEL, son of a Greek immigrant, reinvented himself many times-from a poor student to a college graduate; from enlisted man to officer in the army during the Korean War, attending Army Ranger School; and from an eighteen-year career in radio as one of the nation's top disc jockeys to a career as a Hollywood actor concentrating on voice-overs. Going to Hollywood allowed him to really hit his stride, and he found himself working on animation projects for the Walt Disney Co., Pixar Studios, Marvel, Hanna/Barbera, Fox, and several others. In this memoir, Angel recalls his adventures in this informative, funny, and insightful view of Hollywood and the entertainment business. A few highlights include his interactions with director Steven Spielberg and John Lasseter, the creative head of Pixar Studios. He also spent three years as a promo announcer with The Tonight Show, starring Johnny Carson. He pays homage to his father, who came to America in the early twentieth century, became famous as the Bean King in Central California, and survived the Great Depression while raising three sons. Jack Angel's life story is not only a tale of personal reinvention, but also an uplift ing American Dream story that spans a hundred years.


It was the turn of the Century. The year 2000! - Y2K. The whole world was excited about the new century – a new beginning. Things were going to be different. Everyone seemed to be looking forward to the changes. I was as well, even when some would-be techno-wizard hypothisized that all the computers in the world would stop working precisely at the stroke of midnight December 31st 1999. That would have been a change worth experiencing as well. The devilish little imp who resides in the dark behind my eyes was disappointed when it didn't happen. I would turn seventy soon, and seventy is a multiple of seven and ever since I read "Passages" by Gail Sheehy, I knew I was in for some major shifts in my life and career. Sheehy was dead-on about things happening in seven year cycles. I went into the army at 21; I was married at 28 and broke into radio as a disc jockey that same year - got divorced at 49 and my radio career changed for the better in roughly seven year increments. So I was ready for the next one. And sure enough, I was cast as the voice of "Teddy" in Steven Spielberg's movie, "A.I. - Artificial Intelligence". I had worked for Steven Spielberg doing voice overs on several previous occasions but had never met him. I performed a few incidental voices on "Fival Goes West", a full length animated feature film. I did three voices on his animated TV show, "Family Dog" which was the first animated show he produced for his TV series "Amazing Stories". When his British company produced "Balto" I played the part of 'Nikki', an animated sled dog which was one of three dogs who provided comedy relief in the show. For that he flew my wife, Arlene and me, and a couple of other actors, Danny Mann and Robbie Rist to London, not once but twice. Somebody apparently didn't get it right the first time. And in the production of "Hook", during the fight scenes between the pirates and the lost boys, it turned out there were no audible grunts, oofs and ouches as one might expect - particularly if you grew up watching American Cartoons. So a group of British actors and I went onto a sound stage at Todd A-O studios and did what can only be described as "oof-overs". I even did a job for Steven's Dreamworks partner, Jeffrey Katzenberg when "The Prince of Egypt" was being animated. The animators generally take a few years to finish a feature length film and sometimes the investors putting up the money get little antsy. The backers needed to see something of what the show was going to look like, so a few other voice-actors and I went onto a big soundstage and voiced a short segment. But Teddy was different. Teddy was to be a major character in a huge Spielberg directed feature film that had been given to Steven from Stanley Kubrick's wife after Kubrick unexpectedly died. This one could wind up being another monster hit like "E.T." Teddy was a robot toy - a two-foot two-inches-tall Teddy bear. Steven's wife, Kate Capshaw, told me they had listened to over 100 audition tapes before they heard mine, and as soon as they heard my voice, they knew I was the one. I drove through the main gate at Warner Brothers Studio on Barham Boulevard in Burbank, and suddenly developed a case of nerves. Butterflies! How ridiculous I told myself. It was just another job and I had done hundreds over the years since I re-invented myself following eighteen years as a disc Jockey. But it wasn't really just another this one I would actually meet Steven Spielberg face to face for the first time and work directly with him on the set - truly every actor's dream. I had a "drive on". - And a parking spot next to my trailer. I had a trailer. Damn! I parked my Mercedes SL500 in the assigned spot and enjoyed the moment with a smile. I walked onto a huge soundstage at Warner Brothers and was escorted into a room where sat Steven Spielberg, child actor Haley Joel Osment, Haley's father Eugene, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and the two producers of "A.I.," Kathleen Kennedy and Bonnie Curtis. "Steven, this is Jack Angel," someone said. Steven's face lit up as he extended his hand and said it was nice to meet me. It was as if he had clicked on the high beams as his eyes sparkled with unusual intensity. That was just a precurser of coming events over the next three months. I said, "Well, if that's you, and I'm standing here, this must all be real." Everyone laughed. I suppose at some point in their own lives they had all had that same feeling when meeting show business royalty. Steven then introduced me to Haley and his father. When Haley's movie, "The Sixth Sense," was in theaters, my neighbors, along with several other people, insisted that I must see the movie, if for no other reason than, as they said, "The kid looks just like you!" "Haley, everyone says we look alike. Now personally, I think you're a gorgeous kid, but if what they say is true, you're gonna wind up looking like this," I said pointing to my face. Everyone laughed. Steven jumped in quickly and said, "Well, let's see, Jack. Say: 'I see dead people'." Again, everyone laughed.

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