Lame Adventure 331: What a Scream

I had a very productive weekend.  I stocked up on paper towels.

Cheap thrills.

I also saw a ridiculously souped-up Mini Cooper.  Clearly the souper-upper wished this was a sports car.

Ridiculous from the rear.

It brought to mind a guy I sometimes see in my neighborhood that walks his cat on a leash.  The humiliated cat slinks along miserable, probably dreading encountering dogs.  Cats are not meant to walk on leashes.  Get a dog if you must scratch the leash itch.  That poor cat should be free to do what all cats do, lounge around and claw the couch.  Back to the Mini Cooper faux sports car, I half-expected it to be an automatic, but it was a stick.

Ridiculous from the front.

I also saw some flowers in a planter that were such a vibrant shade of deep pink.  They were so eye-catching, not that I would be caught dead wearing that color.

Nice in a planter, not nice anywhere on my person.

Turning back the clock to just before quitting time on Friday at The Grind, my sidekick, Greg, asked me:

Greg:  Are you familiar with the Wilhelm Scream?

Me:  Should I be?  Is that the noise my mother emitted when she hatched me?

Greg:  It’s a popular scream from the Warner Brothers sound stock library that’s been used in many films.  There are links to it on YouTube.

Me:  Huh.  I’d like to hear that.

No sooner did I say that than Greg shared the definitive link featuring Wilhelm Screams.  This is a twelve-minute collage of screams that have appeared in films from 1951 to almost the present.  It’s a favorite sound effect of George Lucas’s, and it’s also been used by directors Steven Spielberg and Quentin Tarantino;   Pixar has utilized it in many of their animated films.  It’s familiar wail can also be heard in numerous action and horror movies.  Within the first three minutes of this collage you’ll even hear it in a scene with Judy Garland and James Mason from A Star is Born.  I urge you to click this link, not necessarily to listen to all twelve minutes of Wilhelm screaming in its entirety, like I did at my generally pointless leisure (illustrating that this site is not called Lame Adventures for nothing), but simply so you’ll have a better comprehension of just what it is that I’m talking about.

A few other interesting, or semi-interesting, or “oh, please end this painful as paint drying torture” of a discussion about the Wilhelm Scream include the following factoids — it got its name from a character named Wilhelm who appeared in a Western released in 1953 called The Charge at Feather River.  It was also voiced by Sheb Wooley.  To readers of a certain age, and you know who you are, if that name sounds familiar, that’s because he’s the guy that sang the novelty hit from 1958, The Purple People Eater.  That is a song that’s so irritating it could elicit an endless loop of Wilhelm Screams.

105 responses to “Lame Adventure 331: What a Scream

  1. I saw somebody on FB once that had the name Wihelm Scream and had no clue what it meant. Now I do. Thank ya kindly.


    • Bet you were not expecting to find an iota of educational component on this site. Stick with me and you’ll find yourself the owner of that obscure Trivial Pursuit-winning factoid or my real name’s not Rufus T. Firefly.


  2. I now feel that any scream that doesn’t sound just like that is lame.


    • I can think of several times last week alone when it would have been the perfect sound effect in my life. In fact it should be the theme song at my wedding*.

      *The wedding that is not anywhere on my to do list.


  3. I could just scream – no I wish I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard the Wilhelm scream – it hurts too much to scream.

    R .


  4. V,
    I have clicked on the link, because you asked me to do. Alas, my daughter started screaming as soon as I did, like a visceral reaction to the Wilhelm scream. When I paused it, as I couldn’t stand the screaming anymore, she punched me in the nuts, and called me an asshole.
    Le Clown


  5. Kind of a high-pitched scream for all of those cowboys to be screeching, don’t you think? Hearing it over and over began to grate on my last nerve–I nearly began screaming it myself.

    Okay, this comment is really weird, cause it has my avatar imaged in the middle of it. Think the scream has me hallucinating–or it’s merely a WordPress mess-up this morning?
    Hope you get this “brilliant” and insightful comment!


  6. Clearly your spell check was off, or you uploaded he entire post on my f*cking iPhone.

    In the area of silly cars, have you seen the VW bugs adorned with eyelashes yet? If I ever see one when I’m carrying my phone I will attempt to catch it for you and the rest of the magnificent seven. Also on the car note, kid #1, the prodigal son, left this morning in a 2005 Honda Civic for his sojourn to Columbia, SC, or as we like to call it: The Mustard Based BBQ Capital of he Western World. Yes he is part of a 3 car caravan back to the home of the confederacy to begin year 3 in what we hope will only be a 4 year mission to explore himself and (in the words of William Shatner) to boldly go where no man has gone before. Of course that may just be the women’s shower at the Columbia YWCA for all I know.

    Well his Civic is packed to the gills and he cannot see jack shit out the rear view mirror so please wish him God’s speed today.


    • I tend to think that your technical difficulties are primarily PEBDAC (Problem Exists Between Device And Chair).

      The next time you see one of those ridiculous looking VW’s can’t you just toss your government badge in the driver’s direction to make him or her stop so you can take a picture? That wouldn’t be an abuse of power. It would be a public service.

      I don’t believe in God, but I do hope that Kid #1 arrives safely, and if he does find himself in the The Mustard Based BBQ Capital of the Western World’s YWCA shower it was because he was invited.


      • I am willing to acknowledge my shortcomings in the typing department, but honestly this technology is a bit frustrating. Doesn’t explain how you typed *slearly* when you most certainly meant *clearly.*

        Thank you for dispassionately shelving your disdain for organized religion and doubt about the Big Guy (wouldn’t it be a hoot if He did look like, or actually was Morgan Freeman?) to wish the kid a safe trip. I share your hope that if he ever ends up in a woman’s shower that he was invited in.

        On the topic of stopping traffic with my badge, I would have a problem with that because I work in an office that investigates such abuse of authority/position. I can’t say I would ever whip it out just to stop traffic. But as they taught me in airborne school: When in doubt, whip it out. Of course they were talking about deploying one’s reserve chute off a static line jump at under 1200 feet. Elevate your thought dear LA woman.

        On the topic of carraway seeds I guess I am in the minority here cuz I say bring ’em on!


      • So I guess neither of us were sincere enough in our prayers as son’s Civic broke down in Buena Vista, Virginia. Transmission. Will keep you abreast of his not-so-lame adventures tomorrow.


        • That sucks. Out loud.


          • I am reminded of the public debate surrounding the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). A troll like character from Texas warned the Amercian people that the great sucking sound we heard was the sound of jobs being siphoned out of our economy and into Mexico. H. Ross Perot was part Will Rogers (think homespun humor) Reed Smoot (think protectionist tariffs) and Yoda (think vertically challenged). Whether he was right or wrong, I cannot say. But what I can say with 100% certainty is that the great sucking sound no longer refers to jobs leaving our post-industrial economy for the warm beaches of Dos Equis and The Most Interesting Man in the World, rather it represents the siphoning of dollars from my wallet by a repair shop in Southern Virginia to rebuild, replace or whatever a transmission for a 2005 Honda Civic Hybrid with 73,000 miles on it. Regardless, the direction is still to the south.

            I guess I can just file it under the category “ironic.” as you wil note above we questioned the existence of God and whether, if He does exist, does He look like Morgan Freeman, the Big Guy in the chair with the long white beard and flowing robes had his right arm extended and his hand clenched in a ball of mighty rage, save the middle digit which He extended to point to Heavens still higher. It ain’t for nothing that the car broke down at the northern edge of what H.L. Mencken coined The Bible Belt.

            Maybe I ought to go to church this Sunday.


            • Take the free advice of a proud atheist, ditch that hunk of junk and buy him a new car. Problem solved. And you’ll be helping the economy.


              • The bride and I briefly considered that. The car, not the atheism. Unfortunately for him that ain’t gonna happen. Maybe a new used car if you’ll pardon the oxymoron. You’ve never seen this kid drive. In he space of 11 months I has to replace the front number and right front quarter panel as he attempted to negotiate the entry way to the f*cking garage. Both my girls, who’ve been driving far fewer miles and months, are better drivers. Heck, kid # 2 was a better driver the day she got her permit on her 16th birthday. Awaiting the call with the damage$$$.


      • Happy to see you FINALLY *cleared* up the text on this post. Saw a cream colored VW big heading east on Bloomfield Avenue this morning at 7:05 donning a BIG pair of black rubber eyelashes on its headlights. Unfortunately I was carrying an extra satchel with a pair of shoes I needed to return to Herrington so I couldn’t access my iPhone fast enough to take a picture. Since it wasn’t sitting at a light I don’t think the shot would have worked. I am encouraged to hope that Ms. Bug might use this route to commute every day. Luckily there is a traffic light on the vicinity of this location.


  7. I scream like that when I unknowingly eat caraway. Congrats on your big weekend with paper towels addition. Enjoy!


  8. See, if i tried to walk my cats, they’d miraculously develop thumbs, grab the leash and strangle me the way Lucca Brasi was done in “the Godfather”. One would stab me with a claw too. This is why my cats are not allowed out of the house…ever.


  9. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I feel better now…
    That is too funny how many times they used that scream… I hope that guy Wilhelm gets royalties!


  10. I love watching movies and hearing the Wilhelm scream—It makes me feel somehow smug and superior for having heard and identified it. “Ha! That was a Wilhelm scream!” I need better hobbies.


  11. thank you for my education this afternoon. Plus I am glad to know that you also would never wear pink.. leave that to Le Clown


  12. I had heard of the “Wilhelm Scream” (although not named), but wasn’t aware that it was voiced by Sheb Wooley. I guess I am within the rage of “a certain age.”

    Now, I am not a cruel person or one who takes satisfaction in the suffering of others. HOWEVER, having said that, there is a wicked part of me that enjoys seeing a cat on a leash. Also putting scotch tape on their paws.


  13. You may be wondering what prompted my earlier intemperate remark (judicioualy removed) about the former Motown diva. Where’s all that hostility coming from? It’s not like she wore her hair like Jennifer Aniston. Although some of the wigs she wore were, in retrospect, a bit much. It was the 60’s do a lot can and should be forgiven. The issue I have is my suspicion that she did unspeakable psychological harm to Michael Jackson. I think one of his later hits, Dirty Diana, points an accusatory finger at the former lead singer of The Supremes. In the words of the late Senator John Blutarsky “Who’s with me?”


  14. Funny post. I love the humiliated cat walking on a leash bit. Some chick tried to pull that off one day in my neighborhood. She asked me if I could move my dog to the side while she walked with two dogs and her cat. She said she was worried about her cat.

    Are you kidding me?


  15. That scream is pretty funny too … but I’ll have to admit I didn’t watch all twelve minutes 🙂


  16. I had no idea that the Wilhelm Scream is pretty much used in every movie where people scream – even Judy Garland! Although it didn’t work so well there. Thanks LA, for starting my day with such an interesting and useful factoid. Now I’ll be on the lookout (listen out?) for it.



  17. So much in this post to comment on….I have never heard of Wilhelm, so I am now better informed. And that Mini? What, in heaven’s name was going on there? Very much appreciate the cat on the leash analogy!


    • It comforts me enormously to know that you, Kate, an actual Englishwoman from England shares my irritation with that preposterous looking Mini. You don’t strike me as the Wilhelm screaming-type though, possibly because you don’t have to ride the New York City subway.


  18. Don’t like minis but that ones nice–good cat expo! I didn’t see the pic of the car in your 1st post-only in the comment section-why not?


  19. Just listened to scream. Wondering whether there’s an equivalent voice over moan that could be identified as being feature in multiple adult movies. As I have seen more than 2 of said films, I could swear there’s some repetition going on aurally as well as visually.


  20. Pingback: Gasp! | Susie Lindau's Wild Ride

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