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The Legendary Voice

September 06, 1987|Charles A. Johnson

When actor-director John Huston died, the husky, avuncular and arresting voice of numerous commercials died with him.

The final Huston TV sales spot--for Dodge--stopped airing about two weeks ago, though a public service message shot earlier this year for the American Lung Assn. will begin airing in early January. (Huston died of emphysema at 81 on Aug. 28.) Meanwhile, he's heard on radio in a Calistoga Water commercial.

Arthur Kesteloot, national ad manager for Dodge, told us that Huston's poor health and recent death had nothing to with the decision to pull the Dodge campaign.

"Our TV buy time (the bloc of time sponsors buy from networks for ads) had run out," he said. "John was advertising our '86 models. And we stopped those ads to begin running our '87 model car commercials."

The Huston ads--one of which featured an astonished junkyard dog watching a Dodge Shadow metamorphose in an abandoned factory--showcased Spielbergian special effects, Huston's narration and the tagline: "Setting new standards of performance."

Kesteloot said that Huston would comment on the script, "offer tips on inflection and how to deliver lines."

Huston was likewise involved with the lung spot, according to Ron Arias, the group's L.A. County director of communications, who said Huston rewrote the entire script.

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