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Jack Foley: Feet to the Stars

Jack Foley, Universal City, 1955.

A Brooklynite of humble origins, Jack Foley makes for a rather odd Hollywood hero. His face was never seen on the silver screen, nor was his name ever up in lights. Yet Foley's legacy breathes life into every film and television program you see. It is there every time you hear a footstep, a slap, or the rustling of clothes.

In his 33 years on Stage 10 at Universal Pictures, Foley perfected a method of projecting a film and adding all these sound effects in sync with the moving picture, slamming a door when a heroine stormed out of the room, clanking swords when gladiators fought.

Despite all his years in front of the microphone, there's no recording of Jack Foley's voice; no picture of him on the sound stage. Foley passed away in 1967, but he lives on in the craft that bears his name and in the backlot lore of the colleagues who watched him work. Lost and Found Sound's look at Foley begins with them.

Special thanks to Mike Levine, Jacki Lyden, & David Isay w/ Sound Portraits Productions. Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.