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Abraham Lincoln - Mercury Theatre on the Air

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Abraham Lincoln - one of America's most-famous presidents - left behind many words, although no one today is able to hear his actual voice.  He died twelve years before Thomas Edison invented the phonograph (the first-known voice-recording device).

According to contemporary reports, Lincoln's voice was high-pitched and the President spoke with an accent.  According to Lincoln scholar, Harold Holzer:

People said that his voice carried into crowds beautifully.  Just because the tone was high doesn’t mean it wasn’t far-reaching.

What about the President's accent?  Holzer reports:

It was hard to know whether it was more Hoosier or blue grass.

In other words ... Lincoln's accent was a combination of "Hoosier and blue grass."

Given his height - 6'4" - and his overall appearance, listeners were surprised when they first heard Lincoln's voice.  After about ten minutes, though, people were paying more attention to the content of his speech (as opposed to its sound). 
 
Holzer tells us:
 

They all seem to say, for the first ten minutes I couldn't believe the way he looked, the way he sounded, his accent. But after ten minutes, the flash of his eyes, the ease of his presentation overcame all doubts, and I was enraptured.

In this radio play, Orson Welles uses Lincoln's own words - heard via Welles' booming voice - to help us "meet" Abraham Lincoln.

Cast:

Main cast members of The Mercury Theatre on the Air were:

Orson Welles, Martin Gabel, Ray Collins, Kenny Delmar, George Coulouris, Edgar Barrier, Paul Stewart, Everett Sloane, Joseph Cotten, Hiram Sherman, Erskin Sanford, Frank Readick, Agnes Moorehead, Alice Frost, Karl Swenson, William Alland

Announcer:  Dan Deymour

Orchestra:  Bernard Herrmann

Producer:
  John Houseman

Director:  Orson Welles

Writers:  John Houseman, Howard Koch

Engineer:  John Dietz

Sound Effects:  James Rogan, Ray Kremer, Ora Nichol


Media Credits

Episode 6 of Mercury Theatre on the Air - first season - broadcast August 15, 1938.

Online, courtesy Archive.org

 

To cite this story (For MLA citation guidance see easybib or OWL ):

"Abraham Lincoln - Mercury Theatre on the Air" AwesomeStories.com. Oct 07, 2013. Jan 18, 2018.
       <http://www.awesomestories.com/asset/view/Abraham-Lincoln-Mercury-Theatre-on-the-Air>.
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