I knew several fellows with great narration voices, but they all had Downeast Maine accents! As much as I love my home in Maine, the “ayuh” factor was not going to cut it for this production. Someone overheard me say that I was looking for a narrator with a rich voice and recommended Ralph Morse…when I heard his voice on the phone, I knew he was the right man for the job. He had been a CBS newscaster in Boston and a Shakespearean actor.
At 92 years old, this incredibly classy, old-school, gentleman shows up at my recording studio, sporting a fedora and an ascot. He greets my wife with a tip of the hat, a bow and a kiss on her hand. There was something completely incongruous about a fellow like this showing up driving a dilapidated pickup truck. When I discovered that his failing vision did not allow him to read a 24 font, I cringed at him driving at all.
Then he spoke into the microphone. What a voice.
The first few songs that would eventually become part of “The Bus Stop Atheist” were performed at our church with his narration playing back. He attended that Easter morning to hear the final product. When the final notes were sung (while had my back to the congregation as the choral director), the chills arose upon hearing the beginning of a standing ovation that continued for what seemed like five minutes. Then, I asked Ralph to stand so that the crowd could acknowledge him – he had tears streaming down his face. I was undone – again. At that moment I knew I had created something special that needed to be “grown up” into a full-fledged production.
Now I had the foundational seeds of a music production, but I needed a back story. Would God provide that download? I waited for His inspiration for months. . . .