Thursday, August 2, 2018

Doug Grindstaff Passes On

If you have watched very many episodes Star Trek or Dallas, then chances are good you have heard the work of Doug Grindstaff. Doug Griandstaff was the sound effects maestro responsible for many of the sounds one heard in several classic TV shows, everything from the beeps on the communicators of the crew of the Enterprise to the "whoosh" of the starship's lift doors. Mr. Grindstaff died on July 23 at the age of 87.

Doug Grindstaff was born on April 6 1931. He grew up in Los Angeles, California. He graduated from the California Institute of Arts. During the Korean War he served in the United States Army and saw combat.

Mr. Grindstaff's first credit was the TV movie Three Wise Boys in 1963. He worked on the films One Potato, Two Potato (1964) and Destination Inner Space (1966). In the mid-Sixties he began a very successful career working on various television studios. He served as sound effects editor for three classic shows that originated at Desilu: Star Trek, Mission: Impossible, and Mannix. In the Sixties he also worked on the TV shows Love, American Style; The Immortal; The Young Lawyers; The Odd Couple; and The Brady Bunch, as well as the TV movies Seven in Darkness and Weekend of Terror.  In the Seventies he worked on such TV movies as Medical Story (1976), A Killing Affair, Kill Me If You Can, and The Last Hurrah. He worked on the TV shows Police Story, Quark, and Beulah Land. He did uncredited work on the movie Cabaret (1972) and also worked on the film Sextette (1978).

In the Eighties Mr. Grindstarff worked on the night-time soap operas Dallas, Knot's Landing, and Falcon Crest, as well as such shows as Max Headroom, Our House, and Midnight Caller. He worked on the films St. Helen's (1981), Death Valley (1982), Mother Lode (1983), Tough Enough (1983), and Cross Creek (1983).

Doug Grindstaff served as the head of sound departments at Paramount, Columbia, and Pacific Sound. He also served as a vice president at Lorimar Pictures, and as president of the Motion Picture Sound Editors. Doug Grindstaff was nominated for multiple Emmy Awards, including one for his work on Star Trek. He won Emmys for his work on the TV show The Immortal, the TV movie Medical Story, the TV show Police Story, the TV movie Power, and the TV show Max Headroom.

There can be no doubt that Doug Grindstaff was a master of sound. He not only created the many unusual sounds heard on Star Trek, but sounds for classic shows from The Odd Couple to Knot's Landing. He was a master at creating sounds through means that might not occur to others. For example, he created the sound of Dr. McCoy's hypospray using an air compressor. He created the sound of one of Star Trek's most popular alien creatures, tribbles, by manipulating the sound of the coos of doves. Although he worked on many different shows, he seemed to have a particular gift for science fiction shows, creating sounds not only for Star Trek, but for Quark and Max Headroom as well. Few men were as talented at creating sounds as Doug Grindstaff was.

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