Castle thunder (sound effect)
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Castle thunder is a sound effect that consists of the sound of a loud thunderclap during a rainstorm. It was originally recorded for the 1931 film Frankenstein, and has since been used in dozens of films, television programs, and commercials.
After its 1931 use in Frankenstein, the effect was used in many films from the 1930s through the 1980s (including Mel Brooks'/Gene Wilder's Young Frankenstein (1974)), until it was mostly retired by 1988.
The castle thunder effect has also been utilized as part of various sound "mixes" along with other sound effects to achieve a desired outcome. For example, in the 1974 film Earthquake, the effect is mixed with several others (including rumbling, cracking, waterfall, and glass breaking) to simulate the sound of a dam bursting. It was also used as the sound effect of the bombs dropped from a TIE Bomber in the video game Star Wars: Rogue Squadron, as well as on The Powerpuff Girls when the girls would zoom off in flight. Both the old and more recent version were used in the popular computer game Oregon Trail II when the player would encounter a thunderstorm.
The sound can be found on a few sound effects libraries distributed by Sound Ideas (such as the Network Sound Effects Library, the 20th Century Fox Sound Effects Library and the Hanna-Barbera SoundFX Library).
An older variation of the sound effect, followed by the more recent version
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- Video compilation of castle thunder in modern animation
- How the crash and roll of castle thunder matches the science of thunderstorms