Emmy-winning sound mixer was a founder of Cinema Audio Society
Emmy-winning sound mixer Carroll Pratt, who was at the forefront of the development of the laughtrack, died Nov. 11 in Santa Rosa, Calif., of natural causes. He was 89.
Pratt shared six primetime Emmys for 1985’s “Motown Returns to the Apollo,” 1987 “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” and 1989’s “The Grammy Awards.”
Pratt, whose father was a radio sound engineer, worked as re-recording mixer at MGM. During World War II he left to fight in the Air Force. He was taken POW in Germany for a couple of years before escaping and after the war returned to MGM. During the 1950s, the creator of the Laff Box, Charley Douglass, took him under his wing to loop laugh tracks on sitcoms. The business eventually expanded to other human sounds.
As the laugh track grew popular among TV producers, the business grew. In the 1970s Pratt and his brother John set up their own banner, Sound One. They worked on such sitcoms as “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” which included the longest laugh he recorded, and “Married … With Children.”
Pratt retired in the 1990s.
He was a founder and past president of the Cinema Audio Society.
His brother John died earlier this year. Survivors include his wife, Carole; a son and a daughter; four grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.