"A joke is a joke, but I've noticed that the public is more sophisticated now. They don't seem to be hand-fed as they were in the early days. Now, we take the light approach as far as trying to drive home a joke with audience reaction. I think that it's okay to back off a little bit especially on a live-audience show. Go with the show and let them tell you."
About This Interview
In his two-and-a-half hour interview, Carroll Pratt talks about his start in feature films at MGM in the sound department where his father worked. He speaks in great detail about the audience reaction (laugh) machine created by engineer Charley Douglass, for whom Pratt worked after leaving MGM. Pratt describes the device and the types of responses that the machine was capable of doing from whistles to belly laughs. Pratt describes the updated version of the laugh machine, which he created with his brother in the 1970s, when he split from Douglass, and started his own company called Sound One. Pratt talks about providing laugh tracks for numerous television series throughout the years (including the longest laugh he ever recorded, for The Mary Tyler Moore Show), until his retirement from Sound One in the mid-'90s. B-roll consists of a few photos of Pratt at work, and a short video piece in which Pratt shows where he keeps his Emmy Awards. Karen Herman conducted the interview in Philo, CA on June 12, 2003.