Tuesday, April 23, 2013


That there gents, is the face of Private Wilhelm of The Charge at Feather River. But I'm getting ahead of myself. First to explain why that agonized face up yonder is now legendary. 

As a kid I always felt like I was almost too perceptive. I was raised around adults, typically prone to all of their conversations for lack of other children to play with. So I never wondered why I was this way. Until I chanced upon a scream that tortured my innocent child brain for the entirety of my childhood. 

During any given action scene in a movie, there is always a LOT going on. I started to notice that when a particular stuntman died, he would let out a distinct yelp. It wasn't until Star Wars: Return of the Jedi happened that I finally started reasoning with myself "OK, now it was alright before but I KNOW these stuntmen are not screaming the exact same way..." I was around 7 when I decided that for myself.

Either by coincidence or my soul was so tortured by the identity of the scream, I became obsessed with knowing everything there was to know about "secrets" in the entertainment industry. The Nintendo 64 helped fuel this obsession with their Mario Easter eggs hidden in both Zelda games for that platform. 
Zelda: Ocarina of Time

Zelda: Majora's Mask

If you're wondering what an Easter egg is - it's something hidden by developers in the software that has no special significance on game play. They are solely in the game for the gamer to find, usually for people that are what gamers like to call "hardcore". However, games aren't exactly what they used to be and Easter eggs are increasingly easier to find. Even getting to the point of being laid out in the open for a simple gag.  

In the early days of Atari, they didn't like crediting game designers due to a fear of having to bargain with well-known designers. A spurned employee named Warren Robinette decided to leave behind "Created by Warren Robinette" in the video game Adventure. 

A lesser known Easter egg is the one embedded within every Mac operating system. When Apple first launched their project it was named "A New Hope", a new hope in that it would be successful against Microsoft. Because of this, you can watch Star Wars: A New Hope in the terminal window of a Mac. Don't get too excited though, it's in text format.

Still awesome in it's own respect.

Speaking of Apple... Pixar is the biggest offender for Easter eggs. The Pizza Planet truck from Toy Story? Makes an appearance in every Pixar movie. EVER.



Cars 2

Monsters Inc.



EVERY. Pixar. MOVIE. ever. You can go see the rest for yourself.

Now back to the sCREAM. How did I finally learn the identity of what I deem the greatest Easter egg of all!? (Though the scream offically isn't labeled an Easter egg. BY RIGHTS IT SHOULD BE!)

Flash forward about another 17 years when I was on a date and the movie we went to just so happened to have the infamous scream in it. As soon as my date heard it, he nonchalantly chuckles and states "Ah, the Wilhelm Scream." 

"IT HAS A NAME?!" I shout, mindless to the fact that we are in a crowded theater

Oh yes, it has a name, a name it has.....


It's always nice to learn that after 23 years of living that you aren't half insane; and also to no longer be haunted by the death wail of a stuntman.

The scream was originally recorded back in 1951 for a film called Distant Drums. However it wasn't until 2 years later when it was used in The Charge at Feather River that it would later go on to gain notoriety. The sound clip for the scream was later drudged up from the Hollywood vaults by a man named Ben Burtt. Burtt ended up naming the scream after the character Private Wilhelm in The Charge at Feather River even though that was not the first film to use the scream. Burtt ended up incorporating the scream into all major projects he was involved in at the time. This just so happens to have been anything with the name Lucas or Spielberg in it. This explains why every single Star Wars and Indiana Jones to date all feature the scream.

Burtt initially tried locating the original voice actor who recorded the scream. His research has led him to believe that Sheb Wooley, the man behind the titular The Purple People Eater song was the original screamer. 

Sheb Wooley. Epic Screamer.

And now.... to damage your mind. Once you hear it, you can't unhear it... YOU WILL HEAR IT FOEVA!

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