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Rest in Peace – Carroll Pratt

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Carroll Pratt, Emmy-winning sound engineer and one of the founders and past presidents of the Cinema Audio Society has died at the age of 89. Pratt worked at MGM as a re-recording mixer in the 1950s and was a protege of Charley Douglass who was the creator of the Laff Box.

Douglass along with Pratt and his brother John were the first to provide laugh tracks to TV comedies and other shows. The brothers eventually decided to open their own business, Sound One, in the early ’70s. They built a library of tapes with sounds that included a variety of laughs and chuckles that were mixed to avoid repetition. These laugh tracks were used on a number of shows with the largest laugh he ever recorded being used on The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

Pratt shared Emmy awards for sound mixing for several Grammy Awards shows, The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, Neil Diamond’s music special, Neil Diamond…Hello Again and several others. He also worked as a sound re-recording mixer in the ’80s on Married With Children and Head of the Class.

Pratt, born in 1921 in Hollywood, was the son of a sound engineer in radio and television who was also named Carroll. Pratt followed his father’s footsteps into MGM and worked there until the war, when he enlisted in the Air Force. His plane was shot down and he was held as a prisoner for more than two years.

Southern California memorial services will be held Nov. 18 at the Leonard H. Goldenson theater at the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.  For details and directions, visit: http://www.emmys.tv/academy/map-directions.

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