With the debut of the final film in the Harry Potter series, I reminisced recently about the great narration by Jim Dale, the 1980 Tony-award winning actor of Barnum, co-starring Glenn Close.  Jim Dale’s great character voices brought all the wizards and muggles and the magical world of Harry Potter to life so beautifully. His numerous character voices were distinct, perfect in emotion and tempo, as was his compelling “narrator” voice.

I genuinely love audiobooks. By the end of the day, my eyes are tired and having a story read to me is one of the few harmless indulgences I enjoy. Unfortunately, as a voiceover, I’m a little picky about my narrators. I don’t like overacting, not in audiobooks or on the screen. The stage is different, but audio and screen acting are more intimate. In the Potter series, Jim Dale keeps a story that could easily lend itself to exaggeration intimate and real.

Watch Jim Dale in action for yourself in this short video as he narrates Return to the Hundred Acre Wood, the 2009 Winnie-the-Pooh novel by David Benedictus. Dale is truly amazing:

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