How the voice behind CTA announcements got his gig

You know that familiar voice you hear on the L every day?

"Belmont is next. Doors open on the right at Belmont."

That voice belongs to Milwaukee voice-over artist Lee Crooks. Today I ran across this video shot for "You & Me This Morning," in which Crooks explains how he got the announcing gig.

Disney World is involved.

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  • fb_avatar

    Great find.

  • fb_avatar

    He is so iconic in Chicago.

  • Again, a few things that strain credibility.
    1. Due to bone conduction and the like, no one sounds the same to himself as he does to others.
    2. Has he cleaned up Clyboorne and Gerta yet, especially since he claims to have done research?

  • In reply to jack:

    I can't stand that Gerta crap. He did it that was because of that worthless Daley hack, Frank Kreusi, who's of German descent.
    When I'm on a Clark or Broadway bus, that & Burton sound very, very much the same & with them being just a couple of blocks apart, I've seen people get confused who don't know the city.
    He also says "Brin Mahr", instead of "Brin More".

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    How does he pronounce Devon? Is it "De-von" or "Dev-in"?

  • In reply to Richard S.:

    Having lived 1/4 block north of it, the emphasis is on the last syl-lable'.

    I knew that Greg Jarrett was not long for WGN Radio when he mispronounced it.

    The only Devin is Devin Hester.

    BTW, to anyone in the outside world, about half the names of localities in upstate NY are mispronounced. But someone from there asked me where Da Plan, Illinois was, which I didn't understand until he said Des Plaines. Also, it isn't Jolay, Illinois, although it might have been named for Louis Joliet.

  • In reply to jack:

    Joliet wasn't originally named for the explorer.
    Originally, there were two adjacent towns, Romeo & Juliet.
    Then they had a huge falling out & Juliet changed its name to Joliet & Romeo became Romeoville.

    That's not a joke or satire, it's the truth, however weird it might seem!

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    I heard that one.

    There was also the coincidence that when I was in Joliet, there was a minibus to Elwood (Pace route 511) just as the Blues Brothers were playing on the radio.

  • In reply to Richard S.:

    But your question what how he pronounced it, which was after I lived there. Sorry.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    I have noticed the "Gerta"/"Burton" similarity, but help out a non-native: how do Chicagoans usually pronounce "Goethe"? I haven't heard anyone else say it, so I didn't know there was a different pronunciation here.

    Also, to answer Richard S. below, the announcement for Devon pronounces it "De-von." I had no idea that it was said that way until I heard it on the bus.

  • In reply to villafan:

    The correct Chicago pronunciation is: Go-thee.
    A few older people say: Go-ee-thee.
    But those of us who live near Devon, say Devin as an inside joke.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    Wow, I had no idea! Thanks for the info.

  • He has a great voice. I wish I could borrow it occasionally for restaurant orders, etc.

    I also wonder WHY IT'S SO $%#&ING LOUD. (Yes, this is another chance to complain about the ear-splitting train speaker volume.) As well, I wonder why I have to hear it so often. Does anyone really listen to the pleas/warnings not to play dice between Thorndale and Granville? Why not use a Metra set-up ("Next stop, Western" and _nothing_ else)?

  • In reply to Blue:

    Because violators WILL be arrested. That surely impresses the violators. Next we need a message on the platforms: YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE; YOU ARE ON VIDEO SURVEILLANCE IF YOU WANT TO ROB OR SLASH SOMEONE OR ARE ESCAPING FROM A MURDER SCENE. Thank you for your cooperation.

    I thought the post a couple of days ago was that everyone was on their device and didn't hear anything.

  • The man the replaced the conductor.

  • In reply to ibilldavis:

    But I remember in the days of the conductor, all one heard was mumble mumble Fullermumble mumble Ravemumble. Bruce Wolf had a pretty good imitation of that.

    I also don't think that he comes down from Milwaukee to open the doors.

    You could be working on the Washington D.C. Metro, which is entirely automated except for the operator who screamed while pulling the emergency brake lever until the train crashed into something and she died.

  • In reply to jack:

    November 9, 1997

  • The man that replaced the conductor.

  • Here's one more announcement he should record:

    "Your attention please. We are being delayed waiting for signals. We have no idea when we expect to be moving again."

  • In reply to lebailly:

    For anyone interested, Garmon of chicagobus.org posted a picture of the list of manual messages.

  • Awesome. My hubby does voiceovers, as well. I remember the first time my son heard his voice coming out of the TV. The look on his face was great!

  • Had a fun one this morning - was on a Purple Line train that turned from Belmont towards Kimball at around 8:30am. I noticed immediately that we were going the wrong way, but of course everybody else was buried in their smartphones. The train got between Belmont & Southport & stopped for a few minutes. Then the motorman came all the way through the train to the back, and drove us back to Belmont. He said he "took the wrong track" so it sounded like human error. Only when the train started going "backwards" did half the people on the train even know what was going on.

  • Thank goodness something changed on that voice. You could never understand the driver, mumbo jumbo. Very frustrating. Those driver's don't speak English, maybe ebonics, but not English!!

  • Then there is a motorman who just can't STFU!
    I hate being on any train he runs, usually the Red Line.
    He has to tell us every damn thing he does.
    The last time & rode, he left the cab, went back several cars, was gone maybe four-five minutes. When he got back to the cab, he spent the next 10 minutes telling us how wonderful he is because he recognized some malefactors that boarded after someone rang the emergency call button.
    Just shut up you jerk, STFU!

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    Don't those motormen get lauded in the newspapers as "Mr. Happy" or whatever?

  • In reply to jack:

    No, this isn't a happy motorman.
    He's a grump & is proud to let everyone on an 8 car train know it.

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