Did I scare you Danny?

I learned about The Wilhelm Scream through Lame Adventures blog. Apparently a dude named Wilhelm screamed in a film back in the day and it became pretty darn famous. It has been reused in many other movies by foleys who drop in the sound effects.

I wondered if there was a famous gasp. The Lame Adventurer said she wasn’t familiar with the gasp.

“Gasp!” How could she not be familiar with the gasp! I don’t think I have gone through a day without gasping.

Gasp: a sudden intake of air expressing fright and freaking out everyone else around the aforementioned gasper. Often the gasp is followed by the clutching of one’s chest since a heart attack feels imminent.

Fay Wray really knew how to gasp. 

My kids hate it. I’d say, “Gasp! I forgot to tell you that I ran into your friend today.”

After peeling them off the ceiling, they’d say, “Stop doing that!” I can’t help myself. It’s in my blood.

My first experience with the gasp was through my mother. She is infamous in our family for them. My clearest memory of her frightening auditory expression, happened whenever she thought another driver was about to crash into our tank of a station wagon driven by my father. This happened every time we drove somewhere. It went something like this:

“Gasp! (sudden intake of most of the air inside our vehicle), Eddie! Eddie! EDDIE! LOOK OUT!”

Followed by another, “Gasp!… Oh…. never mind.” Everyone recuperated for the next 30 minutes after our short lives flashed before our eyes.

It also commonly occurs when someone sneaks up and scares the Hell out of a person. My husband Danny startles me on a daily basis. Following my gasp, he always responds, “I tried to make some noise, but you must not have heard me over the blow dryer/TV/garbage disposal.” I will shake for the next half hour after jumping out of my skin.

The worst is when I am rewriting my thriller. I get immersed in the scene. While visualizing the terror of being alone in the dark as cold fingers grip her…

“Oh, hey Susie!”


“Didn’t you hear me come in?”

That must be why most desks face the door. Otherwise, anyone could…. sneak….. up…. on ….. you………. “Gasp!”

Here is my own dramatization of the gasp. Can you relate?

I have to admit to being a purist. It has to be an intake of air otherwise it is a scream. This funny video of The Annie Gasp from the television show, Community includes a few screams.

The film trailer of Silent Hill: Revelation is full of gasps. Unlike my mom and me, these are justifiable exclamations.

Over the years, I have perfected the gasp. Not only do I use it when I am startled or backseat driving, but also when I am excited, remembering something, watching a sporting event, learn any sort of news or come up with a new idea.

Hey! I wonder if any of those Hollywood foleys are looking for an experienced gasper. They could call it The Lindau Gasp.

Gasp!” That would be so cool!

Do you like to sneak up on people?

Photo of Fay Wray copyright-free

101 thoughts on “Gasp!

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  1. Those are the funniest pictures ever! Your poor husband. I drown out the noise around me at work by listening to music, and it’s comical the ways people try to approach me and get my attention without sending me into orbit. But I gasp at least once or twice every day 🙂


    1. Hahaha! Danny is my favorite muse. 🙂
      I hate being snuck up on. I jump a mile and yet I get so engrossed sometimes! At least your coworkers try to avoid sending you to the moon….
      Thanks for reading!


  2. Oh Man you made gasping famous more than any of my Aunts was infamous for gasping at wrong occasions..she would Gasp and utter OMG REAALY WHEN..and then how sweet is that when are you getting married or whatever the news….people with weak heart would have died before even knowing it was a happy gasp..


    1. Exactly! I experienced that so often when I lived with my mom and dad. I don’t know how my dad has lived such a long life! Hahaha!
      Thanks Soma!


  3. I gasp when I think my husband is about to hit something when driving, but also when I remember something. They are different gasps, but sometimes he gets confused and thinks he is about to hit something when I have just thought of something important… scares the hell out of him. 🙂


  4. Great pictures of Danny! Lol 🙂 Your gasps are pretty cool too. I might write a post about you called “The Great Gaspee” and maybe I’ll finally get to see my first ghost – the irritated spirit of F. Scott Fitzgerald. Lol 😀

    I almost never gasp, and rather than getting people to gasp in shock and fear, I often make them gasp for air while laughing so hard, it’s hard for them to breathe, which gives me great satisfaction.

    But sometimes my humor annoys rather than amuses, and then I see rolling eyes followed by exasperated sighs… and then I just sigh to myself, as I remember “Hey, ya can’t win ’em all, all the time.” But I’ll get ’em next time for sure!


  5. Such an amusing subject to contemplate. Heh, my novel opens with an anxiety attack, so I find this quite fun. I suppose Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally doesn’t count. 😉


  6. AWESOME videos. And you helped me with an idea I’ve been working on. 😉 I was laughing at you and the second video. So fun! At my bachelorette party, the girls took me to a club where I had to do the whole Meg Ryan imitation from “When Harry Met Sally.” Of course those gasps quickly morph into something else. Tsk, tsk. Naughty girl.


      1. When the first one came out, I made fun of it. Then I went to see it and it scared the holy hell out of me. Seen ’em all, wasn’t much of a fan of the last one. But they all spooked me, and the preview for the new one gives me chills too.


  7. Ha! The gasp! Oh I hate it when I’m driving and my mom or sister give me the gasp, like gasp there’s a stop light … like 1000 yards away. Ugh gasp passengers kill me. The gasp is more dangerous than the road.


  8. Love the Lindau gasp! When I was a kid, my dad would get mad at me for gasping in the car while he was driving. Apparently I was a bit of a back seat driver, except I gasped instead of speaking. 🙂


    1. Thanks Coleen!
      Same! I still do and drive Danny nuts when he is driving. I learned the trait from my mom or was it inherited????


  9. Haha! I have someone who loves to sit in the passenger seat and Gasp at irrelevant things. I’m not sure how I’ve managed not to have an accident! Infuriating (plus I do tend to be a bit twitchy). Love your Foley ad. 😉


  10. Does anyone else find that after watching a long series of gasps, one ends up with an out-of-breath feeling? Totally illogical, because after all the gasp is an intake.
    Hmmm. What would you call a gasp where the air goes OUT?


    1. Hahaha! That is true!
      I call that a scream. If you watch the video you’ll see both examples. She is pretty funny!
      Thanks Colonist!


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